UFC Singapore Odds, Pick & Prediction for Erin Blanchfield vs. Taila Santos: A Nightmare Matchup for One Fighter (Saturday, August 26)

UFC Singapore Odds, Pick & Prediction for Erin Blanchfield vs. Taila Santos: A Nightmare Matchup for One Fighter (Saturday, August 26) article feature image

Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: UFC women’s flyweight Taila Santos of Brazil

Erin Blanchfield vs. Taila Santos Odds

Blanchfield Odds-160
Santos Odds+135
Over/Under2.5 (-270 / +200)
VenueSingapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore
Time8:25 a.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday and via Caesars

On Saturday morning, rising women's flyweight prospect Erin Blanchfield looks to take what might be the final step toward a UFC title shot when she meets former title challenger Taila Santos in a featured UFC Singapore main card bout.

This is a fight the UFC has been trying to make all year. It was originally scheduled for February before visa issues precluded Santos' participation.

Santos arguably became the first woman to take the title from Valentina Shevchenko back at UFC 275, where she lost a close split decision that very easily could've – and in my opinion, should've – gone her way.

Santos could be in line for another shot at flyweight gold should she dispatch the surging Blanchfield, who's on an eight-fight winning streak overall, including five in the UFC.

The three losses between the two fighters have all come via split decision, so we've never seen either woman clearly beaten in a UFC fight. Saturday at UFC Singapore (5 a.m. ET, ESPN+) could change that as both will want an impressive performance to secure their shot at a title in 2024.

Tale of the Tape

Avg. Fight Time9:3414:58
Weight125.5 pounds124.5 pounds
Reach66 inches68 inches
Date of birth5/4/19996/22/1993
Sig Strikes Per Minute6.063.35
SS Accuracy54%50%
SS Absorbed Per Minute3.222.43
SS Defense61%59%
Take Down Average3.762.29
TD Acc63%88%
TD Def77%78%
Submission Average1.61.3

At just 24, Blanchfield has taken the UFC by storm, largely with her elite grappling skills. A Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt since 2021, she's one of the top female grapplers in the world with a rare mix of wrestling ability and submission acumen.

That's served her well so far in her MMA career and allowed her to win minutes from dominant positions when needed, rather than rely on fighting off her back for submissions like we see with many jiu-jitsu fighters β€” especially in the women's divisions.

Her best takedowns come from various clinch positions, where she uses her excellent balance and wide array of sweeps and trips to drag her opponents to the mat.

Once the fight gets to the canvas, Blanchfield has incredible scrambling ability that allows her to end up in a dominant position more often than not.

Blanchfield decided from a very young age she wanted to be a professional fighter, and her jiu-jitsu is geared toward MMA.

Another cold-blooded finish! πŸ₯Ά

Better watch out for πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ@Blanchfield_MMA this Saturday as she faces Taila Santos at #UFCSingapore! pic.twitter.com/GsuKaglQCe

β€” UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) August 23, 2023

She defends takedowns well, and rather than play off of her back in the rare instances she's grounded, she scrambles to her feet as soon as possible. She was taken down twice by JJ Aldrich but surrendered less than a minute of control time.

That's a huge edge for Blanchfield. Many pure jiu-jitsu fighters willingly sacrifice minutes and rounds by hunting submissions from the bottom – or surrendering top control in pursuit of their own offense.

Blanchfield's striking is less developed but has grown by leaps and bounds between her last few fights. While she was getting the worse of the exchanges with Aldrich, she was able to stand toe to toe and exchange with Jessica Andrade, one of the division's most dangerous strikers.

Blanchfield has an excellent chin and a bit of power, but her movement and hand speed create some openings for opponents to land.

Which will be a key component to the fight with Santos, who's announced as having a muay Thai background – despite her similarly excellent ground game.

Santos should have a notable edge on the feet here with a far more technical striking game based on managing the range in order to land precision counterattacks.

If Blanchfield charges forward the way she did against Andrade, Santos should have no problem sniping her with clean straight shots while staying out of danger.

Santos also has solid leg kicks, which could be a factor in limiting Blanchfield's offensive wrestling the longer this one goes – though Blanchfield's clinch takedowns are less reliant on lower body explosions than traditional wrestling shots.

The clinch could be where this fight is decided. Santos has a strong muay Thai style clinch in which she likes to score points with knees and elbows while controlling her past opponents – even champion Shevchenko – well along the cage. If she can maintain those positions while avoiding the takedowns from Blanchfield, she's in a great position to win the fight.

Not that Santos is a slouch on the ground, either.

A new contender EMERGES πŸ’’

πŸ‡§πŸ‡· Taila Santos with the first-RD finish!

[ #UFCVegas43 is LIVE on @ESPNPlus ] pic.twitter.com/xpOgNXp7mY

β€” UFC (@ufc) November 21, 2021

Like Blanchfield, she has excellent clinch takedowns and does a great job maintaining dominant positions against high-level opponents.

My biggest issue with Santos' grappling game is her lack of aggression in terms of ground striking.

That arguably cost her a round or two against Shevchenko, and she'll need to do damage from the top against Blanchfield rather than pursue submissions against the superior submission fighter.

Blanchfield vs. Santos Pick

One of the factors that makes picking this fight so difficult is the progression both women have shown from fight to fight throughout their UFC careers.

Has Blanchfield's striking progressed to the point where she can win exchanges against Santos? Did Santos learn her lesson about scoring from top position in her title fight? These questions aren't entirely answerable, but either could decide this fight.

As it stands now, the edge Santos has on the feet is larger than Blanchfield has on the ground, especially considering the styles at play. Blanchfield's aggressive, forward-pressure striking – a function of her desire to force clinch positions – is the exact wrong way to approach a technical counter-striker such as Santos.

While I expect Blanchfield to be the better grappler on the ground, Santos has a competent clinch game and is probably the superior athlete here, so getting it there will be a challenge. Santos was also able to reverse positions and escape from bottom multiple times against Shevchenko, and she has a chance to do so if grounded here.

If this fight were happening in a year or two, I'd likely be on the other side, but for now I'm going with Santos.

Santos might be the most stylistically difficult fight for Blanchfield in the division, and at 30, she is in the prime of her career against the still-developing (but developing rapidly) Blanchfield.

While there's a chance Blanchfield has improved enough since her last outing to win this one, I'm not willing to lay the juice to find out.

I'll take Santos' moneyline at +125, and I'd bet it down to +105.

The Pick: Taila Santos (+125 at Caesars)

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