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UFC Fight Night 96 results from last night: Josh Burkman vs Zak Ottow fight review, analysis

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Burkman vs Ottow Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight scrappers Josh Burkman and Zak Ottow battled last night (Oct. 1, 2016) at UFC Fight Night 96 inside Moda Center in Portland, Oregon

Burkman may have over 30 professional fights, but the longtime veteran has been rather inconsistent. He needed a strong performance against the newcomer, otherwise his UFC future was looking rather uncertain.

Like Brandon Moreno before him, Ottow was another short-notice replacement. The submission fighter has been tearing up the regional scene and was already in shape, so this was a rather fitting debut fight for him.

In classic-Burkman fashion, the first round was rather odd and slow. Both men were content to work at range, poking at the other with low kicks and eagerly looking for counter punches.

There were plenty of close exchanges, but Ottow had a real advantage in damage. His low kicks knocked Burkman off-balance, and his punches connected with a more clear impact.

It wasn’t dominant, but the newcomer clearly took the opening round.

The second round was far closer, though it continued at the same tepid pace. Neither fighter was really looking to commit to their combinations or takedown attempts, so not much was attempted.

On the whole, Burkman seemed to have a slight edge in kicking volume and mixed up his techniques a bit more. However, Ottow still landed some nasty low kicks, and the boxing exchanges were very close.

It was anyone’s round.

For the first three minutes of the round, the fight continued to be a strange, tit-for-tat kickboxing match. Continuing with the trend, neither man threw all that much, and neither man really controlled the exchanges.

With two minutes remaining, Burkman fully committed to his first clinch takedown of the fight, and he landed it pretty cleanly. He controlled top position until the final 30 seconds, in which both men scrambled and Ottow threatened with a rear naked choke that wasn’t quite there.

Ultimately, two of the three judges awarded the victory to Zak Ottow.

It’s hard to feel passionately either way about the decision, as so few significant exchanges occurred that both men had their arguments for victory. Since Ottow seemed to be the more effective striker in a bout that largely took place on the feet, it’s far from a bad decision.

Ottow did a nice job in this bout of punishing Burkman as he tried to close the distance. Each time Burkman tried to push forward, Ottow pushed him off with an elbow or knee to the body.

Additionally, his low kicks likely won him the fight. There were lots of boxing exchanges where neither man made any impression, but Ottow’s numerous low kicks were a memorable moment.

Next up, Ottow needs to square off with another Welterweight in the middle of the division. This was hardly an awe-inspiring debut, so there’s no need to put him against top fighters just yet.

Burkman has a problem in his current UFC run. The man just does not create any effective offense, as he just lands showy kicks and has struggled to consistently take anyone down.

That’s a bad combination.

Speaking of takedowns, it’s a real mystery why Burkman didn’t really try to wrestle earlier. He feinted with a couple shots, but Burkman’s first real level change and drive into the clinch worked successfully. The fight was so close that just a single takedown could’ve made a real difference, and there’s a solid chance that Burkman could’ve found that takedown if he had only looked for it.

Following this loss, Burkman’s immediate future is uncertain. There’s a decent chance he’ll be released, and it’s hard to imagine Burkman being motivated to grind through the regional ranks once more.

Retirement may be next for "The People’s Warrior."

Last night, Zak Ottow upset Josh Burkman in a close decision. Who should the UFC newcomer face off with next?

For complete UFC Fight Night 96: "Dodson vs Lineker" results and play-by-play, click HERE!