The Severe Spotlight: Mario Bautista

2P95AC2 March 10, 2023, Las Vegas, NV, LAS VEGAS, NV, United States: LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 10: Mario Bautista steps on the scale for the official weigh-ins at UFC Apex for UFC Fight Night – Vegas 71 – Yan vs Dvalishvili on March 10, 2023 in Las Vegas, NV, United States. (Credit Image: © Louis Grasse/PX Imagens via ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!

Some fights are poetic displays of game planning, technical prowess, and fluid movement. Some fights are just finding out who has the bigger flamethrower. The Bautista Inc. stock went up dramatically in the combustion sector on Saturday night, after he decimates Guido Cannetti in a round.

The first fifteen seconds of the exchange show the new and old era of MMA. Cannetti comes storming out of the blocks, looking to land impactful, damaging shots to disway the onward footwork pressure of Bautista. That footwork emanates like a charge of electricity, as Bautista bounds in and out of space, changing the range with a short and wide stance, gliding along the mat with a fervent energy as he does so. As Cannetti is desperate to drag the fight into a wild exchange of bones, Bautista calmly toys with the range, and cuts Cannetti off with some gorgeous lateral footwork.

Those first initial exchanges are the most we see on the feet, as the rest of the contest is duked out in the grappling arena. Bautista slips a kick and dives on a single leg, his head position is interesting as it is more cross-body/centre chest than you usually see fighters opt for. The robotic reaction of Cannetti forces him to jump on a guillotine, to which Bautista uses that head movement to rotate internally, raising Cannetti’s leg and taking the base away to complete the dump.

Cannetti looks to roll back to a guard position and Bautista does a great job of following the hips and keeping the head height. He looks to settle his opponent in bottom position with a far hip grip and a crossface, but to his credit, Cannetti refuses to accept the position, completing the roll and regaining a knee shield. In the next sequences Bautista displays some modern passing systems. Moving between beating the knee shield to adopt a smashed-out half guard, torreando passes and leg drag passing.

He begins the chain by winning the knee shield battle with his right arm pummelling to the inside space, connecting his cross face to a head and arm grip. The conventional method of passing from here is to swim a butterfly hook to the leg entanglement keeping you in half-guard, tripoding up and working your leg out. To begin with Bautista does not follow this approach, he instead uses his head as a post over the far shoulder of Cannetti to free his right arm to help to free the leg from the entanglement, this fails and so he swims up to a far side underhook, gaining head and arm control. Going back to the traditional chain of passing causes Cannetti to react wild, pushing his limbs to their extremity and creating space.

Bautista uses this space to opt for a thigh pin, as Cannetti works back to a knee shield Bautista moves to a torreando/over-under style of passing, before settling into an overback grip and passing the knee and hip line with a high leg pass. Cannetti does a good job of turning in, causing Bautista to go to the far side thigh drag, continuing the pressure. Whilst Cannetti manages to retain his guard and Bautista won’t be satisfied with that there are solid positional awareness moments in that sequence.

Cannetti wrestles up and manages to reverse Bautista to a side control position momentarily before Bautista finds an underhook and wrestles up to a big double leg slam. Cannetti turtles and this is the beginning of the end. From the turtle Bautista shoots right through to a body triangle and uses his double-unders to collect both arms of Cannetti. Cannetti reclaims his arms and posts both hands to the mat. Whilst the finish doesn’t come directly here; Bautista transitions to two wrist pins, knowing he will now win the race to the neck, and shoots one of the wrist pins to a choke. He uses an s-grip to try to finish, but Cannetti manages to defend and shuck him off to the side for a moment.

A 1st class A1 seat was booked for Cannetti on Bautista airlines as he suplex’s him with a seatbelt grip. Cannetti attempts to rise, and with that rise its very difficult to keep your chin tucked. Bautista snatches the chin, going back to the s-grip short choke, has Cannetti grimacing deeply before the hooks come in. As those legs lace the hips of Cannetti, the tap comes.

Bautista was dead eyed during the entire squeeze, not an element of struggle in his facial expression. That’s a bad, bad dude.

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