Prospect in the Spotlight (Jan 14-15): Jessica Delboni

Introduction

Wednesday, January 12th, Brazilian atomweight prospect Jessica Delboni will be in action for Invicta, where he will be looking to earn the Invicta Championship against Alesha Zappitella. She will be looking for another win, as Delboni looks to eventually score a contract with the UFC. She represents Parana Vale Tudo, an underrated camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Striking: Delboni came into this sport with a striking background, which makes sense given the comfortability she has while throwing strikes on the feet. She was the superior striker in her first encounter with Zappitella, and figures to be so again. She also has some pro kickboxing experience to boot, which makes sense. She was knocked out in a striking exchange with Julia Polastri, but as we’ve seen, Polastri is a gifted striker and better than most she stands across the cage from. Delboni moves well, is technical and accumulates damage. That’s a good skill set to have.

Submission Grappling: Delboni’s grappling is much improved and she has done so by consistently competing in grappling bouts in recent times. Since her loss to Zappitella, Delboni has competed in six pro grappling bouts, winning five (all of which by submission finish). What’s interesting, though, is she owns no victories by way of submission in the MMA cage. Part of that problem is the fact that nine of her eleven wins are by decision…

Needs Improvement

Counter-Wrestling: In Delboni’s losses, she has been outwrestled and held down by her opponents. To an extent that happened in her first fight with Zappitella, though it’s easy to argue that she did a very good job, especially as the fight went on. Her other Invicta loss came to Ashley Cummins, who also used superior wrestling to beat her. As mentioned, Delboni’s counter-wrestling has improved and she’ll definitely need it when rematching a wrestling-heavy Zappitella.

Outlook

UFC Prelim Fighter: Arguably, Delboni got the best of Zappitella in their first matchup, but two of the judges disagreed. She’ll have another five rounds to prove she’s the better lady. She certainly has the resume to warrant a shot in the UFC in place of this title shot, but this is the route she’s taking. She’s worked hard to improve where her weaknesses are, and while she’d be a smaller UFC strawweight, she’s certainly skilled enough to have her run. If she scores gold Wednesday, don’t think she won’t be on the top of the UFC’s short list of 115ers.

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