Ocagon Oracles: 20-Fight Vet Luis Saldana

Luis Saldana poses with his fists up for a UFC photoshoot. He is wearing UFC gloves and green Venum shorts. Luis Saldana's UFC run will officially begin on Saturday. Photo Credit: Luis Saldana MMA Facebook

Around five months ago, Luis Saldana signed his name to paper making his UFC contract official. In what was a one-sided beatdown, Saldana took out Vince Murdock on “Dana White’s Contender Series.” Murdock was someone who was signed to the UFC at one point, so that win marked the best in the career of Saldana thus far. The 30-year-old trains out of Fight Ready MMA and Fitness and holds a 14-6 record. Saldana has been fighting for 11 years and is finally getting his shot on a big stage.

Looking to stump Saldana is Jordan Griffin. Griffin is also someone that got into the UFC from a win on the “Contender Series.” That came back in 2018 in the first season. Since then Griffin has had a rough go with a record of 1-3 in the UFC. Griffin has always shown a good account of himself but finds himself in a must-win situation.

Shawn Bitter

Grade: C+
Before his fight on the “Contender Series,” I wasn’t too impressed with Saldana. In the fight, he fought perfectly on the outside using his length and piecing up Murdock with strikes. In my initial thoughts, his takedown defense didn’t look great and his grappling defense not so much either. He is a good offensive grappler and has a strong submission base, but defensively there are some issues. I feel he’s gonna do fine in the UFC but could find himself over-challenged.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Fighter
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Vince Rodemer

Grade: C-
I’m not crazy about Saldana for the most part. He’s 30-years-old, has fought a lot of bad fighters and has lost to a bunch of them. His front kick win on “Contender Series” was cool, but he was a -175 favorite and it took him three rounds to get it done. He comes from Iowa, but isn’t really a wrestler, which is concerning. On the positive side, he has won four straight and hasn’t lost in three-and-a-half years. That last setback was to 4-3 Alex Wiggs Jr. That’s not a good look. Saldana is training with the great Henry Cejudo and that can only help him. Training with a great like that can only get you so far if you don’t have the skill set. I want to see it from Saldana.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Fighter
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Zac Herbison

Grade: C+
Saldana’s been boxing since he was eight, and that’s evident in the way he fights. He can punch hard while still maintaining a safe distance from his opponent. This is aided by his 6’1″ reach, persistent movement, stance switching, and large arsenal of kicks. He seems hard to land clean on when initiating, as he backs up at the first sign of trouble. He looks like a terror to deal with at range. His grappling, however, is a mystery to me. He has a few submission wins, and a few submission losses as well, but I can’t find much footage. His striking makes me hopeful, but his grappling is a question that needs to be answered.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Fighter
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion