Middleweight power striker Alessio Sakara welcomed young prospect Nicholas Musoke to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) at last night's UFC Fight Night 30 from Phones 4U Arena in Manchester, England.
The mixed martial arts (MMA) bout had the potential for fireworks. And it did not fail to deliver.
"Legionarius," known for his heavy hands, came out swinging early and often, rocking Musoke with a hard right hand. "Nico" was wobbled and Sakara followed up with a good bodylock slam. He was unable to do much with it on the ground, so the fight was stood up.
From there the fighters went to war. Musoke looked to be in trouble a few times, but fought back to stun Sakara with his own hard punches. The flurry eventually went to the ground with Sakara in Musoke's guard. The Swedish newcomer locked up a slick armbar from the bottom, turning it over and earning the verbal submission from his more experienced opponent.
It was a wholly impressive debut for Musoke. He showed a ton of resilience on the feet in withstanding former boxer Sakara's onslaught. Musoke looked like he was on his way to getting knocked out a few times last night, but he had the wherewithal to fight on and slap on a tight submission. He had the perfect gameplan against Sakara.
Musoke knew that the ground was where his advantage lied. There was no guarantee that he would survive the exchanges on the feet -- but he held his own. The win announces Musoke's presence in UFC. He looked decidedly smaller than Sakara in Manchester so he may benefit from a cut down to 170-pounds. His blend of striking power and submissions could add to the already talented division.
For Sakara, it was a disappointing turn of events that resulted in his fourth straight loss. "Legionarius" has the striking skill to consistently put on exciting bouts but he's just too susceptible to being finished. He had several opportunities to finish Musoke in England; he just couldn't seal the deal. Despite his six wins inside the Octagon, we may see Sakara receive his walking papers quite soon.
There's no doubt that he brings it each time out to the cage.
That could keep him employed for another fight or two, but his best days in MMA are clearly behind him. He hasn't won since 2010 and he doesn't have too many excuses. While Sakara's offense is great, his defense is atrocious. There's not really a good fight for him right now -- we'll have to wait and see where "Legionarius" ends up.
All in all, it was a very entertaining bout. Both fighters laid it all on the line, including their striking defense. Musoke and Sakara will have to add a bit of elusiveness to their game if they want to have any degree of continued success within UFC. Continuously eating haymakers to potentially land a few of your own isn't going to keep you upright too long.
It sure does deliver a good show for the fans, though.
Nicholas "Nico" Musoke made a successful UFC debut when he finished the favored Alessio Sakara with a come-from-behind win at UFC Fight Night 30. Is a move to welterweight in the cards for the exciting prospect? And if so, whom should he fight next?