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Road to Invicta FC 2: Sara McMann vs. Shayna Baszler

With nine fights analytically broken down it is now time to go in depth on the main event of Invicta FC 2. We are merely 24 hours away from witnessing the ultra-stacked all women’s fight card and while all of the matchups are interesting none of them are as intriguing as the headliner between grappling ace Shayna Baszler and Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann.

The bout has a little bit of a storyline behind it as Baszler submitted McMann in a pure grappling match with a triangle choke a few years back. Since then, McMann transitioned into MMA and is undefeated with five professional wins.

Can Baszler submit her again or will McMann avenge the grappling loss and prove she is one of the best in the world today?

Shayna Baszler (MMA Record: 14-6, Invicta FC Record: 0-0)

Who she is: Training under former UFC heavyweight champ Josh Barnett, Baszler is the first MMA fighter to even win a fight utilizing the twister submission. She is arguably the best jiu-jitsu specialist in the division and definitely would rank among the top five grapplers in all of Women’s MMA. 13 out of 20 of her professional victories have been submissions. Baszler has even created her own technique, “The Shwing” which is a variation of a chicken wing.

Her strengths: Extremely creative and versatile jiu-jitsu game

Her weaknesses: Striking

Keys to victory: There is no secret to what Baszler needs to do in order to win this fight. She is going to get taken down by McMann at will but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing because she has the ability to submit McMann from any position. Baszler just needs to ensure that McMann isn’t able to control her hips and posture on the ground. If she can keep McMann off balance she can find an opening to set something up and that is what will lead her to another victory over the Olympian.

Sara McMann (MMA Record: 5-0, Invicta FC Record: 0-0)

Who she is: An Olympic silver medal wrestler, McMann has the perfect blue print that could be used in becoming a dominant champion in MMA. She isn’t the most exciting fighter in the world but she has some of the best wrestling in the sport and the best wrestling in women’s MMA period. She could have easily played the card of fellow Olympian and Strikeforce champ Ronda Rousey and talked herself up in the media but she is choosing to earn the top spot the hard way.

Her strengths: World-class wrestling and incredible athleticism

Her weaknesses: Striking, submission defense, still green in MMA

Keys to victory: McMann absolutely has to neutralize Baszler’s jiu-jitsu and she can do that either with her dominant wrestling or surprising her with an improved standup game. I’m not ruling out the possibility that McMann completely avoids the ground game as a whole and tries to land a big shot on the feet but ultimately her striking is not that developed at this point in her career. She will have to take Baszler down and maintain a dominant position long enough to inflict some serious damage with ground and pound.

The Final Verdict

Baszler has the mental advantage going into this fight of knowing that she can submit McMann and that might make the Olympian overly cautious of going to the ground. On the other hand, if McMann was allowed to throw strikes in the grappling match she had with Baszler the result might have went the other way.

MMA is a totally different realm than a pure grappling contest and McMann should have more success in the cage against Baszler. McMann will take Baszler down quick and early, we will see a lot of back and forth scrambling on the ground but McMann’s control and GNP will be the deciding factor.

Sara McMann def Shayna Baszler via unanimous decision



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