'Last Call' ready for next step

'Last Call' ready for next step
December 12, 2013, 4:15 pm
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34-year old Danny Castillo is averaging 3.78 takedowns per 15 minutes and landing 2.44 significant strikes per minute. (USATSI)

Nitesh Dutt
 The UFC’s lightweight division has long been considered one of the deepest weight classes in mixed martial arts and Saturday in Sacramento, two of the division's rising stars face off.
 
Team Alpha Male fighter and San Francisco native Danny Castillo takes on Brazilian knockout artist Edson Barboza. Castillo has won six of his eight bouts inside the octagon and is coming off of back-to-back victories by unanimous decision.
 
Barboza is also on a two-fight winning streak, but his victories have come via the TKO/KO route. The Brazilian has a total of nine TKO/KO victories in his MMA career, and his 2012 knockout of Terry Etim has become one of the most popular KO’s of all time.
 
When these two face off, it’ll be a matchup of two vastly different styles. Castillo has shown he’s better at grinding out victories, whereas Barboza looks for the knockout blow. That is evident when you look at the stats.
 
Castillo averages 3.78 takedowns per 15 minutes, but he lands 2.44 significant strikes per minute. On the other hand, Barboza averages an unimaginable 4.25 significant strikes. The upside to Castillo’s style is that he only absorbs 1.52 strikes/min., his takedown defense is also stellar at 70 percent. However, he’ll have his hands full against Barboza, who’s able to defend 80 percent of all takedowns and is successful on 80 percent of takedown attempts.
 
This bout may take place on the night’s prelim card, but these two fighters could be considered possible contenders in the future. For Castillo, the time may be now. At 34, he is 7 years older than Barboza and, as many believe, on the backend of his career. All the same, Castillo should still be considered the favorite in this bout.
 
Nitesh Dutt is an Associate Producer at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @NiteshDutt.