MMA Junkie analyst Dan Tom breaks down the UFC’s prime bouts. At this time, we have a look at the primary occasion for UFC on ESPN 14.

UFC on ESPN 14 takes place Saturday at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The occasion airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+.

Robert Whittaker (20-5 MMA, 11-Three UFC)

Staple information:

  • Top: 6’0″ Age: 29 Weight: 185 lbs. Attain: 73.5″
  • Final battle: Knockout loss to Israel Adesanya(Oct. 5, 2019)
  • Camp: Gracie Jiu-jitsu Smeaton Grange (Australia)
  • Stance/placing fashion: Orthodox/kickboxing
  • Danger administration: Good

Supplemental information:

+ Former UFC middleweight champion
+ Hapkido and karate black belt
+ Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt
+ Australian Nationwide Wrestling Championships gold medal
+ 10 KO victories
+ 5 submission wins
+ 6 first-round finishes
+ KO energy
+ Constant tempo and strain
+ Good footwork and distance administration
^ Shortly and deceptively blitzes
+ Correct left hook
^ Coming ahead or off the counter
+ Distinctive angles and off-beat assaults
^ Disrupts opponents’ rhythm
+ Glorious wrestling means
+ Improved general grappling
+/- 3-Zero in opposition to UFC-level southpaws

Darren Until (18-2-1 MMA, 6-2-1 UFC)

Darren Until

Staple information:

  • Top: 6’0″ Age: 27 Weight: 185 lbs. Attain: 74.5″
  • Final battle: Resolution win over Kelvin Gastelum(Nov. 2, 2019)
  • Camp: Staff Kaobon (Liverpool, Eng.)
  • Stance/placing fashion: Southpaw/muay Thai
  • Danger administration: Good

Supplemental information:

+ Ok-1 European title
+ Luta Livre purple belt
+ Thai boxing expertise
+ 10 KO victories
+ 2 submission wins
+ 5 first-round finishes
+ KO energy
+ Good feints and footwork
^ Manages distance effectively
+ Correct left hand
^ Coming ahead or off the counter
+ Laborious Thai kicks
^ Works effectively to the physique
+ Robust contained in the clinch
^ Harmful elbows and knees
+ Underrated wrestling means
+ Serviceable grappling abilities

Focal point: Discovering the left hand

The primary occasion for UFC on ESPN 14 includes a implausible middleweight matchup between two males who make a number of their cash off their left arms – however accomplish that in numerous methods.

Coming from a standard martial arts background, Robert Whittaker has developed into one of many extra distinctive placing stylists at 185 kilos.

Utilizing a mix of pace, accuracy and a fluid financial system of motion, the Australian will deceptively blitz off completely different angles that he actively seems to be to set. Like many karate-based strikers, Whittaker will feint or present a sure pace to attract his opponent right into a false sense of safety, solely to disrupt the perceived timing with off-beat strikes.

The previous champ additionally has no situation relating to sticking to his fundamentals, constructing offense off of misleading jabs and feints – although I think his jabbing lanes may very well be muddied given the stance pairing at hand.

Although capable of battle from each stances, Whittaker primarily operates out of orthodox, as he appears to considerably benefit from the open stance look (at present standing at 3-Zero when pitted in opposition to UFC-level lefties).

As we’ve seen in earlier southpaw pairings, Whittaker will usually assert himself via rear-legged entrance kicks that he makes use of to launch himself into advantageous angles so as to land variations of left hooks and shifting overhand pictures. This theme of drop-stepping/shifting might be helpful when looking for artistic methods to shut distance on longer opponents who are inclined to battle from reverse stances (one thing we’ve seen work in opposition to his present counterpart earlier than).

However, Whittaker isn’t past being taxed for these very entries, because it’s not loopy to suspect that counter strikers may very well be his kryptonite.

Enter Darren Until.

Embodying his personal model of muay Thai spirit, Until mixes in a novel model of southpaw swagger that’s reined in by head coach Colin Heron. Regardless of the bravado that the Englishman exudes, Until neatly works behind delicate feints and strong footwork whereas creating angles that enable him to capitalize and counter on his opponent’s reactions.

Favoring his artful left cross, Until possesses a pull-counter that’s barely akin to a different well-known European southpaw, sometimes beautiful his opposition when touchdown it cleanly. The 27-year-old additionally throws left Thai kicks that are inclined to move off of his left-handed threats, however he might get greater than he bargains for ought to he throw them nakedly (with out setup) in opposition to his present counterpart.

That stated, I do suspect we might proceed to see extra weapons and techniques delivered to the desk by Until. Admittedly combating via accidents throughout the primary stretch of his UFC tenure, Until appeared to restrict himself to only a few alternative weapons.

In his protection, Until has tried to open up in more moderen efforts, whether or not it’s by displaying strikes like indirect kicks or staying far more energetic together with his proper hand. Although each of these will serve him effectively in concept, I will probably be curious to see if any of his changes come throughout the clinching division – a spot that Until was quietly efficient in when making his middleweight debut.

Subsequent focal point: Potential grappling threats