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CFFC 101 Main Event: Nkuta vs. Diaz Breakdown

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Your MMA Saturday begins with a matinee of fights from Atlantic City-based Cage Fury Fighting Championships as it begins its next 100 events, starting with CFFC 101 from Philadelphia’s Parx Casino.

Barring any late postponements for any reason, this will be a 12-fight card, highlighted by the CFFC 101 main event, a battle for supremacy at 125 lbs. In the CFFC 101 main event, incumbent CFFC Flyweight Champion Phumi Nkuta (3-0 MMA, 2-0 CFFC) will attempt to make good on his first title defense as he battles challenger Miguel Junior Diaz (3-1 MMA, 3-1 CFFC),

As with all CFFC main events, the CFFC 101 main event will be a maximum of four rounds at five minutes per round. Should the scorecards be even after 20 minutes of action, the CFFC 101 main event will progress to a five-minute fifth-round as a tiebreaker.

CFFC 101 Main Event Fighter Comparison

Heading into the CFFC 101 main event on Saturday afternoon, challenger Miguel Junior Diaz is the taller combatant, standing 5-foot-6, with champion Phumi Nkuta standing 5-foot-4. In addition, Nkuta owns a 65-inch reach, with no such information for Diaz.

Phumi Nkuta Looks to Extend Winning Streak in CFFC 101 Main Event

Phumi Nkuta enters Saturday’s CFFC 101 main event having gone 5-0 in his last five MMA appearances dating back to his amateur days.

All told, the champion has gone 8-0 in the sport heading into the CFFC 101 main event this Saturday afternoon, but Miguel Junior Diaz was not his original opponent here. Initially, Santo Curatolo was slated to meet Phumi Nkuta in the CFFC 101 main event, but this pairing was scrapped prior to the card due to Curatolo being booked for the September 21st episode of Dana White’s Contender Series.

Nkuta most recently scored a unanimous decision victory against Alberto Trujillo during CFFC 92 on March 11. After the win, the champ spoke to MyMMANews, where he said he’d be ready for his next fight, regardless of where it was going to be.

“If they want me to defend the belt against someone, I’m in,” Nkuta said. “If Dana (White) comes calling, I’m accepting the call. I’m ready for the UFC. I’m ready strength-wise. I’m ready power, speed, agility-wise. I’m ready cardio-wise. And talk about confidence… Come on, brother, I’m ready!”

A key storyline heading into the CFFC 101 main event is this: Phumi Nkuta can talk a tough game, as his interview with MyMMANews indicates, but whether or not the onetime fighter in Bellator MMA can back it up is a different story. The CFFC 101 main event is going to be Phumi Nkuta’s big chance to try and show Dana White that he’s UFC-ready, and a win here on Saturday afternoon will go a long way in proving that he’s UFC-ready.

Miguel Junior Diaz Finds Motivation in Every Fight

In the other corner, challenger Miguel Junior Diaz enters the CFFC 101 main event having posted a 4-1 mark in his last five appearances dating back to his amateur career, most recently scoring a unanimous decision victory in CFFC 88 last November against Dilshod Zaripov. Whenever Miguel Junior Diaz enters into an MMA cage, he’s motivated by a favorable result, something he told two years ago.

“Just there’s nothing like the feeling of getting your hand raised in victory, that moment where you think about all of the crap that you had to go through during training, the weight cut, the ass-whoopings from teammates,” Diaz said. “Getting my hand raised, I think about that every minute of the day.”

Although he certainly has the motivation to try and spoil the momentum of Phumi Nkuta in the CFFC 101 main event this Saturday afternoon, something to take note of here is the difference in age between the two men. Diaz is five years the elder (31 years of age) of Nkuta (26 years of age) going into the CFFC 101 main event– but whether the gap in age comes into play remains to be seen.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Nkuta Can Hunt for the Submission

Stylistically, the CFFC 101 main event looks to be a toss-up as both men subscribe to Brazilian jiu-jitsu, thus it’s a fair assessment that this fight could be decided on the ground. One aspect of Phumi Nkuta’s fight game that jumps out on video is the ability he has to try and end the fight via submission, something he showed during his fight vs. Ben Coyle last fall.

In round one of that fight, Nkuta tried to end the contest several times via submission, including an inverted triangle, but Ben Coyle was able to fight these attempts off to see the fight to a second round. During the said second round, Nkuta took Coyle down, taking side control and eventually locking in an Americana submission, forcing Coyle to tap out.

If Phumi Nkuta is able to take Miguel Junior Diaz down in the CFFC 101 main event even once, it could be lights out for his opponent in a hurry.

Miguel Junior Diaz Can Go the Distance If Needed

In the other corner, a majority of Miguel Junior Diaz’s fights have gone the distance, like his final amateur fight vs. Charles O’Brien.

During that fight, Diaz started off by dumping O’Brien and taking the side control, attempting to posture up, with O’Brien blocking any attempt for Diaz to land a punch– leaving the referee no choice but to stand the fighters up. And although Diaz attempted to lock in a rear-naked choke late in round one, the clock ran out on him.

Round two saw more of the same from Diaz, taking the top control after stuffing an O’Brien guillotine choke, advancing to an attempted standing rear-naked choke from the clinch, before landing another takedown and securing more ground control from the back mount late in the period. Diaz landed some shots from the clinch before taking O’Brien down midway through the third round, giving him the fight. His key is to shoot for the takedown early and often.

If Diaz is able to land takedowns on Nkuta in the CFFC 101 main event, he will be able to effectively disrupt his gameplan on Saturday afternoon, coming into Philadelphia and stealing the victory.

Final Thoughts

The CFFC 101 main event is going to be predicated exclusively on which of the two fighters establishes control on the ground first.

If one of these men sees his ground game slip even slightly, there’s a good chance he’ll walk out of the casino a loser on Saturday night.

Prediction: Phumi Nkuta by Unanimous Decision.

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Featured Image Credits to CFFC

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about MMA since the spring of 2018. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew enjoys a good game and an even better fight. When he's not writing, you can find him playing video games and listening to music.