The Prelim Breakout Star is a once per event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
The best part of regional UFC cards is the influx of new fighters from that area to sink our teeth into. This weekend we get a fighter making his long awaited UFC debut with plenty of hype behind him.
Affiliation – Team Kaobon
From – Wigan, England
Height – 5’8″
Weight – 145 lbs (Featherweight)
Record – 11-1 (0-0 UFC)
What makes him impressive
England is a country that tends to take a fair bit of criticism for their wrestling ability in MMA. In addition to plenty of their past stars, Grundy teammate and headliner Darren Till took plenty of guff for how his defensive wrestling looked in his title fight.
Don’t expect that same critique to be levied against Grundy himself though. Grundy comes from a wrestling background in which he took a bronze medal in freestyle at the Commonwealth Games. That background is clear when you see him in the cage because he has a wealth of different takedowns. Perhaps his best is his rush double leg that he uses backing his opponent into the cage, but his body lock takedowns are equally as impressive.
Why he has been overlooked
His strength is also probably the same reason there isn’t more hype behind him. When hearing the words ‘English wrestler’, the average fan isn’t overcome with confidence. That’s because the majority of the British fighters who have made a name for themselves were strong boxers. The classification of the fighter seems like a silly reason to overlook him, and a big performance this weekend would open a lot of people’s eyes.
What makes this a good match-up
Nad Narimani has scored seven takedowns in the two fights he’s had thus far in the UFC. While that seems impressive, it comes with a low success rate of just 43%. So while he’s relied on the takedown to get his two decision victories, he has not been particularly efficient in doing so. In addition, he has barely needed to use any kind of defensive wrestling in those bouts. He’s faced just one attempt from two fighters in Anderson dos Santos and Khalid Taha, who were both making their debuts. If you go back to his time at Cage Warriors, he showed a relative weakness in defending the takedown, giving up several to Daniel Requeijo via ankle pick and single leg. With Grundy being a far more polished wrestler than Requeijo, it’s fairly easy to assume he’ll pick up the win here.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 168-69-1 (2 NC) (6 DNF)
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