Welcome to the MMA News’ Sleeper Scrap! The relentless schedule of the MMA world means that some fans don’t have a full look at a fight card until days before the event, leaving the promoters to decide which bouts you should be paying the most attention to.
Everyone wants to tune in for main events and fights that feature popular names, but that means meaningful or potentially action-packed matchups from elsewhere on fight cards sometimes get lost in the shuffle. A Sleeper Scrap might highlight interesting style matchups, fighters with notable storylines, or bouts that simply have the chance to be a Fight of the Night contender
A finalist on Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter, Davey Grant has established himself as an entertaining mainstay of the UFC’s bantamweight division.
“Dangerous” came up short in his pro debut but quickly put together a seven-fight win streak on the UK regional scene to get the call to compete on TUF in 2013. A pair of submission wins on the show put him into the finals against Chris Holdsworth, where he still earned a UFC contract even in defeat but ended up having to take considerable time off due to injury.
A 1-2 start to Grant’s UFC career led into an impressive three-fight win streak, and after dropping back-to-back fights in 2021 the 37-year-old stopped Louis Smolka and Raphael Assunção to put him on the verge of matching his best stretch of performances in the promotion.
Daniel Marcos turned pro in 2015 following a 6-0 amateur career, and so far no fighter has managed to best the Peruvian in the cage.
The 30-year-old spent the majority of his early career competing for the Lima-based promotion 300 Sparta, where he took on some of the best competition available in Peru and claimed the organization’s bantamweight title. Marcos’ appearance on Contender Series 2022 against Brandon Lewis came after a nearly three-year-layoff, and an entertaining unanimous decision victory resulted in him being given a contract with the UFC.
“Soncora” failed to get a finish on Contender Series but made up for that in his UFC debut at UFC 283, where he stopped Saimon Oliveira in the second round to improve his pro record to 14-0.
Grant’s power has been on full display in the three knockout victories he’s scored in the UFC, and as long as a fight stays standing the Englishman is a threat to finish things with a big punch.
The 37-year-old frequently switches stances and is able to mix up his jab to both the head and body, but it’s the massive hooks that he’s fond of that largely define his work on the feet. Grant also does a good job of beating up his opponent’s lead leg and boasts a solid front kick that he sometimes uses to set up opportunities for flashier attacks.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 15, 2022
The Englishman does occasionally carry his hands a bit low while looking to throw his big hooks, and although he doesn’t typically look for takedowns himself he reminded fans that he’s a threat to finish things on the ground when he locked up an inverted triangle in his last bout with Assunção.
Marcos typically starts off a bit more patient than Grant on the feet, however the Peruvian will get significantly more aggressive with his striking game as soon as he starts to settle into a fight.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) January 21, 2023
“Soncora” also likes to regularly chop away at his opponent’s legs while pumping out his jab, and the Peruvian has shown off good timing to land big shots with his right hand. Marcos’ rear front kick tends to go up towards the face of opponents more often than Grant’s does, but he’ll also punish the body with a rear kick depending on what stance he’s working from.
The 30-year-old has good finishing instincts and will start to mix in more combinations once a fighter covers up, and if his opponents put their back to the fence Marcos likes to explode forward with a flying knee or clinch up to land big knees in close quarters.
This is an intriguing matchup between an unbeaten talent and a veteran looking to match his best win streak in the UFC, so both bantamweights will enter the cage in London with quite a bit to prove.
Grant surprisingly missed out on the UFC’s last few trips over to England, so the 37-year-old may have a bit of added pressure in front of a home crowd but will also be able to feed off the tremendous support that local fighters will receive throughout the night.
“Dangerous” also has a chance to string together three-straight wins for the second time in his UFC career, which could set him up for a significant matchup in his next fight.
Marcos will face all the usual pressure that any undefeated fighter has to deal with, but a win over Grant would give the Peruvian a decent name on his record and help build his profile in the UFC after that finish he scored against Oliveira in his debut.
“Soncora” should be in his fighting prime now at 30 years old, so he’ll want to make the most of his arrival in the UFC by putting together back-to-back victories right away.
Even though both of these men are capable of handling themselves on the ground, it would be a bit of a surprise to see either bantamweight shoot for a takedown. That dynamic should hopefully make for an entertaining striking battle for the fans in London, and there’s a good chance that one fighter is able to connect with a big shot that ends things inside the distance.
You can catch up on previous editions of the MMA News’ Sleeper Scrap right here!