Friday, July 20, 2012

Road to Invicta FC 2: Julia Budd vs. Elina Nilsson

If matchmaking was considered a superpower, Invicta FC guru Janet Martin would be a highly profitable comic book character because she pairs fighters together better than most in the business. Superman can fly, The Hulk can smash, Aqua Man can do creepy things to fish but those powers pale in comparison to “Super Janet’s” ability to make great fights happen.
A perfect example of her matchmaking brilliance is the fight between Muay Thai strikers Julia Budd and Elina Nilsson. Despite what some say, the female featherweight division is still alive and these two strikers are some of the most exciting competitors in the weight class.
This fight also happens to be the next on my Road to Invicta FC 2 series so sit back, grab a snack and listen to ‘The Mac’ as I break it down.
Julia Budd (MMA Record: 2-2, Invicta FC Record: 0-0)
Who she is: Born and raised in Roberts Creek, British Columbia, Budd was an athlete since day one. Rumor has it that she actually knocked out six nurses and choked out a doctor in the hospital on the day she was born. Before transitioning into MMA, Budd competed as a professional Muay Thai fighter and boasts a win over Gina Carano. Her two losses in MMA are to current Strikeforce champ Ronda Rousey and top ranked Amanda Nunes.
Her strengths: Muay Thai
Her weaknesses: The ground game
Keys to victory: Budd shares the same strengths as her opponent which is the standup game so that opens up two winning paths for her. On one hand, she can go in there and bank on the fact that her striking is superior and look to outpoint her opponent in a standup clinic but that might be risky. Budd is a superb striker but she has been caught before and Nilsson could certainly clip her. The smartest approach for Budd is to play the clinch game, pick her shots and systematically break her Swedish opponent down.
Elina Nilsson (MMA Record: 2-2, Invicta FC Record: 0-0)
Who she is: Sweden’s first professional MMA fighter, Nilsson started out as a Muay Thai fighter just like her opponent. She hasn’t competed with the caliber of fighters that Budd has fought against, both in MMA and Muay Thai, but she is still a dangerous striker with potential to drop any fighter in her weight class with the right combination.
Strengths: Muay Thai
Weaknesses: The ground game
Keys to victory: One thing that Nilsson has over her opponent leading up to this fight is the element of surprise. Not much is known about Nilsson other than the fact that she is one of Sweden’s premier female strikers and the country’s first MMA fighter. Budd is expecting a standup fight so if Nilsson can throw her off guard with a takedown she might completely take Budd out of her game.
The Final Verdict
I can talk about these girls “mixing things up” and “throwing their opponents off” until the cows come home but the truth is, Muay Thai specialists thrive on these matchups. Strikers love to strike and they love competing against opponents that are willing to do the same thing. I doubt we are going to see either shoot for a takedown or try to clinch the other against the cage.
Budd is the on-paper favorite. She has fought against higher caliber competition and has only been defeated by top ranked fighters. Nilsson is certainly capable of debunking this theory but in a firefight Budd should be able to land the more significant shots and pick the Swede apart.
Julia Budd def. Elina Nilsson via TKO Round 3 

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