Most eyes at UFC Austin might be on Dariush vs. Tsarukyan, but the event is filled with intriguing fights deep into the undercard. Cody Brundage and Zach Reese are two rising star fighters in need of a win, albeit for different reasons, and are sure to give us an intriguing afternoon matchup before the main course.
Let’s break down everything you need to know about Brundage vs. Reese at UFC Austin.
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When: Dec 2nd, 2023, 4:00 PM ET
Where: Moody Center, Austin, TX
Billing: Preliminary Card (fight 6 of 13)
Weight: 185 lbs
Cody Brundage (9-5)
Strikes Per Min: 1.69
Strike Accuracy: 54%
Strike Defense: 43%
Takedown Average: 2.51
Takedown Accuracy: 50%
Takedown Defense: 73%
Scouting Report: Cody Brundage’s UFC stats show that he’s a quality wrestler who knows how to take people to the ground without getting taken down himself. While he’s had some moments, Brundage isn’t a great striker and he’s folded often when facing significant pressure.
Riding a three-fight losing-streak, he seemed well on his way to another loss versus Jacob Malkoun before an illegal blow gave him an unexpected W. Without that victory, Brundage very well could have been out of the UFC, and he desperately needs another one here to solidify his spot. To win here, Brundage will need to take advantage of some lax defense and get Reese to the ground.
Zachary Reese (6-0)
Strikes Per Min: 6.49
Strike Accuracy: 61%
Strike Defense: 31%
Takedown Average: 0
Takedown Accuracy: 0%
Takedown Defense: 0%
Scouting Report: He hasn’t faced any significant challenges yet, but Zachary Reese is the type of wild fighter that fans love, and he’s sure to put on a show during his first UFC fight.
A massive man with a long reach, Reese isn’t afraid of bringing the fight to his opponents, for better or worse. He lands a ton of strikes, takes a ton, and can defend well enough on the ground thanks to his length. Against better and more aggressive opponents, Reese may come into trouble, but he should be able to overpower Brundage with his elite striking ability and reach advantage.
Keys to the Fight: Can Brundage Overcome Poor Decision Making?
On paper, Brundage should be a fairly good UFC fighter. A technically gifted fighter who’s a solid striker and great wrestler, he has all the tools in his arsenal to compete at a higher level. But, it’s always been his decision-making in big moments that have cost him.
Brundage always seems to let his foot off the gas at the worst times, and it’s cost him multiple times over the course of his career. To win against Reese, he’ll need to kick this habit, or not even get it the chance to come to a head by winning early.
Keys to the Fight: Will Reese Shore Up Defensively?
Reese has always had the physical tools and frame to be an excellent fighter, but his wild style too often gets him into trouble with fight results that could be avoided. The young Texan can throw punches with the best of them, but he gets hit almost as often. And, while his size is helpful on the ground, he still gets taken down more often than you’d like.
He may be a large guy, but Brundage is an excellent wrestler who knows how to get guys on the ground. If Reese comes out too aggressive, Brundage could catch him sleeping with a quick takedown, which will probably be his only chance to win this fight. If Reese wants to secure the win, he’ll have to strike a solid balance between being aggressive and using his reach to keep a safe enough distance.
All respect to Cody Brundage, but Zach Reese is the easy choice in this one. Not only does he have a significant size and reach advantage, but he’s the type of aggressive fighter that can put Brundage under a lot of pressure, which has been the latter’s downfall multiple times over the course of his career.
Add in the fact that Brundage is basically coming off four losses in a row, despite the DQ win on paper, plus hometown advantage and Reese should have little to no trouble dispatching him for his first UFC win.