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UFC 241 - New Blood: Death Star approaching Anaheim

For most of this week, I was laboring under the impression that I wouldn’t be writing one of these. The ultra-stacked UFC 241 in Anaheim, Calif., featured nothing but promotional veterans. Then Clay Collard pulled out on Tuesday (details) and, well, here we are. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where I rage about the sport’s lack of a communal video archive, we take a look at a bruiser from the Burgh.

Khama “The Death Star” Worthy

Weight Class: Lightweight
Age: 32
Record: 14-6 (8 KO, 2 SUB)
Notable Victories: None

Pittsburgh’s Worthy, whose career includes fights with a bevy of future Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) competitors like Paul Felder, Billy Quarantillo, Matt Bessette and Kyle Nelson, enters the Octagon on a five-fight win streak. He last fought less than four weeks ago, knocking out Adam Ward late in the third round.

He’s a late replacement for a late replacement, stepping on for Clay Collard on just four days’ notice.

I’ll level with y’all: I can’t find much footage from the last three years. Most of it’s either locked behind a paywall or comprises Worthy getting knocked out in less than 70 seconds. As a result, this analysis may be out of date. With that in mind, let’s continue.

Worthy’s nickname is “The Death Star,” a galactic battle station known equally for its destructive potential and for being blown the hell up before it had a chance to do much. It’s appropriate — he’s a kill-or-be-killed striker, capable of delivering heavy punishment but constantly at risk of getting knocked into oblivion.

Worthy is capable of throwing decently straight jabs and crosses, but usually prefers hurling flurries of semi-looping power shots. He’s equally happy doing so on the attack or on the counter, throwing heat when opponents step in instead of circling away. Plus, unlike a lot of pure action types, he doesn’t neglect the body; in fact, one nice trick I’ve seen him do is catch a kick and immediately dig his free hand into the midsection rather than fall short with a head strike.

His all-offense mentality extends to his ground work. I haven’t seen him initiate wrestling exchanges, but he’ll immediately start dishing out ground-and-pound after stuffing a takedown. His whole game is just, “why work patiently to set up a finish when I can just try to get the finish right now?”

This … doesn’t tend to work out for him against top-level opposition.

Five of his six losses have come by knockout, three of them in 1:10 or less, and they tend to be straight-up knockouts. His ground defense looks similarly leaky; he’s got solid takedown defense and hit a sick sprawl-to-back-take, but got his own back taken in the subsequent scramble. He’s always going to be boom-or-bust, leaning towards bust against capable foes.

Worthy is a post-fight bonus waiting to happen, whether for himself or his opponent, any time he enters the cage. He won’t have a long UFC career, but it’ll be some form of memorable.

Opponent: Worthy faces one of the better opponents in the Lightweight division, power-punching “Contender Series” alum Devonte Smith. Smith’s cardio remains a concern, but Worthy’s history of quick knockout losses and poor striking defense suggest that he’s in for another very short, very unpleasant evening.

Tape:


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 241 fight card this weekend, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the pay-per-view (PPV) main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 241: “Cormier vs. Miocic 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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