The UFC is back at the Apex this Saturday. The event is headlined by Anthony Smith going against Aleksandar Rakić. At this time currently, you can’t have a UFC card without multiple pullouts. Giga Chikadze was supposed to take on Alex Caceres, but Giga had to pull out after testing positive for COVID-19. Caceres was then supposed to fight Kevin Croom, but for unknown reasons, Croom will not be fighting. Now, Caceres will be fighting newcomer Austin Springer.
Springer is a decent signing on short notice, especially since he already has a win against Giga Chikadze, who was originally fighting Caceres. Springer is a much better wrestler than he is a striker. On the feet, he has some power, he throws good hooks, and goes to the body well. He’s just a little too slow on the feet and gets sluggish as the fight goes on. He’s a better wrestler with solid top control and has good ground-and-pound. It was shown in his fight with Giga: he made smooth transitions and got the RNC in the final round. I’m not completely sold on whether or not he’s a good enough wrestler as the fighters he’s taking down are low-level, even an unexperienced Giga Chikadze. Even when he gets fights to the mat, he usually has to escape his way out of a submission of some sort.
On paper, Springer does match up well with Caceres. In the 22 UFC fights Caceres has had, only five of those opponents haven’t been able to take him down. Do I think Springer can take Caceres down? I do. But do I think he can keep the fight on the mat or keep taking down Caceres? I don’t. On the feet, the movement and kicks of Caceres should frustrate Springer. It’s hard to trust Caceres as he looks different every time he steps into the cage. With that said, Springer is a guy the veteran should beat without question.
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