Friday, November 16th, Colombian flyweight prospect Sabina Mazo will be in action in California, headlining LFA 54. She will be competing against Brazilian veteran Carol Yariwaki in the main event, as Mazo looks to keep her 125-pound title. Mazo represents the Kings MMA, a respected camp in California. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Striking: At 5-0 thus far in the 21-year-old Colombian’s career, she’s only finished two fights. However, her two finishes were both highlight reel head kick knockouts against Linsey Williams and Jamie Thorton. Her timing is very good and she uses precise angles to set up those kicks, showing her technical prowess. She’s not the most devastating puncher. Instead, she uses precise timing and set ups to score damage. She could be a little more aggressive on the feet as well, but she’s a good counter striker and it shows in her bouts. Close fights that go to decision could end up not going her way until she takes a more aggressive striking approach. However, any fighter that stands with Mazo risks eating a shot that puts their lights out.
Clinch: Much of the time, Mazo’s takedown defense consists of tie ups and muscling opponents in the clinch. When she does clinch with opponents, she is very good at controlling the body of her opponent and getting her opponents back to the fence. Again, she could strike more when in the clinch, especially with elbows and knees. However, positionally, she is superior to all those she’s fought thus far, including Bellator’s Alejandra Lara.
Competition Level: The biggest knock I have on Mazo at this point is the level of competition she’s faced thus far. I get it: she’s only 21 years old. She’s probably trying to take it slow and build up her skills and confidence. However, she is a champion of a major MMA promotion. She needs to better challenge herself when making these title defenses. I know for a fact that Mazo was offered a title fight with UFC and Invicta veteran DeAnna Bennett, to which Mazo turned down. Her biggest win came in her MMA debut against Alejandra Lara. All three of her LFA fights have been against subpar fighters, including the fight in which she won the LFA Flyweight Championship against 5-5 Shannon Sinn. If Mazo wants to catch the eye of the UFC and make a legitimate claim to being in the top-20, she will actually have to start fighting more credible opponents. Yariwaki is a step in the right direction, but even at 7-2, Yariwaki has not really fought credible opponents herself.
Gas Tank: In terms of physical improvements, in watching her fight with Alejandra Lara, it’s evident that Mazo’s cardio could use some work. As the three round fight when on, Mazo was clearly tiring at a bad pace. She was already slowing down in the second round. We already mentioned that Mazo has great striking, but is not powerful. Her power is diminished further as the fight gets deeper, making her ability to finish fights increasingly difficult. Luckily, Kings MMA has good strength and conditioning, so I can see that improve from fight to fight going forward.
UFC Middler: As mentioned, Mazo is just 21 years old, so she has a very bright future ahead of her. She has much time to improve, but as of right now, Mazo looks to be a fighter that will be top-15 in the UFC’s flyweight division, but likely never a title holder or challenger. Her striking would be among the best in the division. However, if she ran into a good wrestler or an equally strong striker with a gas tank, she would be in trouble. We will see how her improvements continue and at what rate.