Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight up-and-comers Makwan Amirkhani and Arnold Allen will throw down this Saturday (March 18, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 107 inside the 02 Arena in London, England.
Amirkhani entered UFC with the reputation of a grappling expert, but he quickly made a name for himself via a massive flying knee and big mouth. Undefeated in a trio of UFC fights, Amirkhani is looking to break into the rankings with a win here. On the other hand, Allen has proven to be a considerable prospect himself, securing two quality wins inside the Octagon. At the age of 23, he’s already worked himself onto the main card and could earn the biggest win of his career on Saturday.
Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Andy Ogle (UFC on FOX 14), Mike Wilkinson (UFC Fight Night 84)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Amirkhani is a bit of an awkward striker who makes up for it with some power and flashy attacks. His wheelhouse is definitely grappling, as Amirkhani has a background in both Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling.
Once on top, the Fin is deadly, having tapped out nine of his opponents.
In this match up, it’s pivotal that Amirkhani sets up his takedown attempts. He has a bad habit of lunging in with a diving double leg. Against an excellent athlete and solid wrestler like Allen, those shots will fail, and Amirkhani will quickly tire from attempting them.
Instead, Amirkhani has to earn his opponent’s respect on the feet. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but if Amirkhani can sneak in some hard punches — even in the clinch — it will allow him to get in on his opponent’s hips. Frankly, Allen has a fair number of advantages heading into this match up. Once Amirkhani gets on top, however, they cease to exist, as young athletes often struggle when trapped underneath expert grapplers.
Key Wins: Alan Omer (UFC Fight Night 69), Yaoztin Meza (UFC Fight Night 84)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Despite his age, Allen has proven to be quite well-rounded. “Almighty” holds three wins in kickboxing, scored a guillotine submission in his debut, and thoroughly controlled his opponent with takedowns last time out.
Amirkhani is a dangerous fighter, but he’s not a particularly complex one. In short, he’s a solid test for Allen’s ability to stick to a game plan, as well as avoid getting hit with any wild strikes.
Indeed, a perfect opponent for any young prospect.
On the feet, Allen is the more refined kickboxer. He has to avoid reaching too much with his strikes, which would provide “Mr. Finland” an opening to shoot. Instead, Allen needs to keep his feet under him and pressure, attacking both his opponent’s jaw and gas tank. In addition, Allen should look to capitalize on any poor shot from his opponent. Another guillotine would be nice, but if Allen can reverse position from a sloppy shot, he would score points and force Amirkhani to waste energy getting back up.
Bottom Line: It’s a match up of talented prospects.
With both men undefeated inside the Octagon, there’s a lot on the lines here. If Amirkhani can secure his fourth straight win, he has definitely earned a shot at a ranked opponent. Unfortunately, a loss to Allen would set him far back from that goal, as Featherweight is pretty full of strong fighters trying to break through the ranks.
The stakes are similar for Allen. He hasn’t quite built up his name like Amirkhani, but Allen has scored two quality wins in as many tries. If he can score his biggest yet and derail Amirkhani’s momentum, it will go a long way in pushing him toward the rankings. Meanwhile, if Allen comes up short, he still has plenty of time to develop and try again later in his career.
At UFC Fight Night 107, Makwhan Amirkhani and Arnold Allen will open the main card. Which fighter will extend his winning streak?