Below is my fight breakdown, as posted on CapperTek, prior to the fight….
In my opinion, Dhiego Lima is not a UFC calibre fighter and if it wasn’t for one sloppy takedown by Tim Williams, he never would have been. I’ve just watched all of Lima’s fights in the UFC, working back to the original fight on TUF against Williams. Williams totally dominated the first round on the ground, which Lima just gave away without a fight. Williams was then winning the second when he dived in for a sloppy takedown, very nearly got it but Lima just got out, scooted round and got a RNC. In his second fight on TUF he got knocked down after 10 seconds but got a very slick armbar straight off it.
So we then move on to his proper UFC fights. He’s been sparked out within a round twice and won an unimpressive decision against a last minute replacement who moved up from 155lbs just to take a fight in the UFC.
I don’t like being a douche about it because he does seem like a nice guy but I just don’t think the guy does anything that well and he has some massive problems. He’s got a really, really bad chin and he has a maximum of 7 minutes of gas per fight. Those are the main things. On top of that, he doesn’t hit very hard, though he has some decent leg kicks, he couldn’t finish his last minute kick boxer opponent from some really dominant positions on the ground, he has poor defensive grappling in that he just accepts being in bad positions and it appears and doesn’t have that “hell no, I’m not losing” sort of mentality.
Jingliang Li does nothing spectacularly but is a pretty solid, well rounded and improving fighter. His one (I think) elite attribute is his chin. That won’t be tested in this fight. He also has a really solid gas tank. So that’s basically two massive red flags for Lima to worry about. Though it’s hard to tell for sure, as he’s faught two guys with bricks for heads so far in the UFC, I think Jingliang Li does hit pretty hard. It certainly looks it on a basic visual level but KO power is more of an intangible than that and sometimes guys look like they hit hard when they don’t and vice versa. All I can go on is that both David Michaud and Nordine Taleb looked busted up pretty bad at the end of both their fights with Li.
So, to quickly get to the point, I do heavily favour a TKO for Jingliang Li.
But let’s look at the potential problems. Jingliang Li’s takedown defense is not great. Both his UFC opponents so far have taken him down against the cage and with straight double legs. That’s a worry. However, they are both much better wrestlers that Dhiego Lima, who has less than impressive wrestling. If it does go to the mat, Lima’s BJJ is weird…. he’s landed two really slick submissions on TUF, then his top game looked pretty poor against the late replacement mentioned earlier. He has the ground equivalent of a punchers chance, I guess, but Jingliang Li is a brown belt in BJJ and he reversed / escaped against both Michaud and Taleb who both have good top games. I think Jingliang Li really should have plenty to cope with Lima, especially given that Lima is likely to gas out a lot quicker than he is, so there’s a limited timeframe when he’s going to be dangerous.
Throw in the fact that Lima was a late replacement around a month before fight time and that the fight is in Asia and that’s another two negatives for Lima. Honestly, I have no clue how the line got set where it is but it fascinates me and I’d love to know 🙂 I’m guessing it’s more based on statistics than watching fight tape, that’s for sure.