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Preview: UFC Fight Night 198 Prelims

Sabatini vs. Lutz


The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s final card of November 2021 features an eight-bout preliminary slate that may be low on star power but should still provide some worthwhile entertainment on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The featured UFC Fight Night 198 prelim seems rightfully positioned, as Pat Sabatini and Tucker Lutz look like interesting featherweight prospects capable of making a run in a deep division. Further down the lineup, you find some additional intrigue: Terrance McKinney tries to follow up on an electric promotional debut in June, and Lupita Godinez somehow steps inside the Octagon for the third time in just six weeks.

Now to the preview for the UFC Fight Night “Vieira vs. Tate” prelims:

Featherweights

NR | Pat Sabatini (15-3, 2-0 UFC) vs. NR | Tucker Lutz (12-1, 1-0 UFC)

ODDS: Sabatini (-137), Lutz (+117)

The UFC’s featherweight division hardly needed more depth, but these two relative newcomers have shown a lot to like during their respective Octagon campaigns. Sabatini came into the UFC as a known quantity in April. The Pennsylvanian put together the type of solid resume on a strong Northeast regional scene that had him constantly on the verge of a call-up; and through two UFC bouts, Sabatini has performed as well as expected. His debut against Tristan Connelly was a one-sided wrestling-heavy win, and he overcame some early trouble against Jamall Emmers to suddenly pull out a heel hook for the victory. There are some issues with Sabatini’s style—he is willing to stay patient and at range on the feet in a way that does not particularly set up the wrestling and grappling that represent the best parts of his game—but he should be able to carry his skills pretty far, even in this deep division. Lutz is a stern next test, and the Baltimore native could prove a great deal here as the much lesser-known prospect. “Top Gun” is still a bit hard to pin down, even after two Dana White’s Contender Series appearances and a UFC debut, but he has looked impressively rock-solid against his competition in those fights. Nothing about Lutz’s game particularly jumps out, but he has proven able to stick to a smart game plan and do what it takes to win. That was impressive in his UFC debut against Kevin Aguilar, who figured to be a tricky veteran test but instead got beaten by Lutz without much issue. Sabatini’s wrestling, whenever he gets to it, figures to be enough to get him the win, but Lutz has overachieved enough that it would not be a shock if he turned this into a striking match or even wound up getting the wrestling advantage himself. Still, the pick is Sabatini via decision.

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