Preview: UFC on ABC 1 Prelims

Wu vs. Laboriel

By Tom Feely Jan 13, 2021

Women’s Bantamweights

NR | Yanan Wu (11-3, 1-2 UFC) vs. NR | Joselyne Edwards Laboriel (9-2, 0-0 UFC)

ODDS: Wu (-165), Laboriel (+145)

Most of the UFC’s Chinese signings in the last few years have done well inside the Octagon. Weili Zhang has become a champion, Xiaonan Yan and Yadong Song are on their way to title contention and even some of the lesser competitors have carved out a niche as reliable action fighters. Thus far, Yanan Wu has not been in that category. Wu certainly has some tools to succeed thanks to her long frame, particularly during her run at flyweight, but she has adopted a mostly aimless range-striking style that has prevented her from controlling her fights. Save a come-from-behind armbar on Lauren Mueller that came out of nowhere, Wu has not been able to put together any sort of sustained success. She was initially supposed to serve as the retirement opponent for Bethe Correia at this event, but with Correia out due to appendicitis, “Mulan” now faces a Panamanian newcomer. When Laboriel puts together an impressive performance, it makes for quite a highlight. Her muay Thai background leads to her hitting some thudding strikes that can put down her opponents, but things quickly devolve if she fails to score a quick finish. Her cardio begins to flag, and while Laboriel has a decent first level of takedown and grappling defense, her willingness to crash into her opponents often makes for a sloppy and losing battle. She figures to get out to a quick start and hit Wu hard, but if this makes it more than a round, it becomes hard to tell exactly what will happen. Laboriel will slow down badly, but Wu has not shown any reliable weapons at a UFC level to date, making it unclear if she can take advantage of the situation enough to take over the fight. The pick is Edwards by first-round stoppage, but there is some morbid curiosity about what happens otherwise.

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