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UFC Vegas 15 - New Blood: Spinning s—t XL

Dana White’s Contender Series - Parisian v Johnson Photo by Chris Unger/DWCS LLC/Zuffa LLC

UFC Vegas 15, which takes place tomorrow night (Sat., Nov. 28, 2020) inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, is one of the lightest in recent memory in terms of newbies, featuring just a single debutant. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where I’m constantly surprised by how many promotions air on Fight Pass, we check out a Heavyweight “Contender Series” and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran.

Josh Parisian

Weight Class: Heavyweight
Age: 31
Record: 13-4 (10 KO, 2 SUB)
Notable Victories: Greg Rebello, Chad Johnson

Parisian’s spinning back fist knockout of Greg Rebello on “Contender Series” earned him a spot on TUF 28, where he fell to Michel Batista in the opening round. Another five knockout wins earned him another Contender Series shot, which he made the most of by pounding out Chad Johnson late in the first round.

A surprisingly mobile man despite standing 6’4” and cutting to make the Heavyweight limit, Parisian generally prefers to march after opponents and wing punches until the opportunity arises to spin and/or throw a kick. There’s some real thump in those legs — moreso than in his rather slow punches — and he’s got this tricky habit of chaining one spin directly into another. We saw the kind of damage he can do with a dash of rotational assistance against Rebello.

It’s a fairly unique and generally effective style, but there are some key weaknesses. First, his hands aren’t particularly sharp. Second, and more important, he has issues managing his momentum. Rather than spin from his standard orthodox stance, he prefers to step his right leg forward and spin from there. He also likes to bring his right foot behind his right hand to briefly shift into southpaw. As a result, he both telegraphs his strongest attacks and leaves himself open to momentum-multiplied counters or takedown attempts.

Personally, I’m more impressed by his top game. While a limited wrestler, especially defensively, he’s a destructive ground-and-pounder with remarkably good passing. You do not want to end up on your back against this guy, and he at least seems to have an idea of how to get up when taken down.

Parisian’s good for a scrap and can probably hold his own against the lesser half of UFC’s Heavyweight division. As the Batista fight and his recent issues with 8-10 Marcus Maulding showed, however, anyone with above-average takedown skills should be able to run over him.

Opponent: He fights Parker Porter, a naturally smaller man who was thoroughly beaten down by Chris Daukaus earlier this year. Porter’s the better boxer, but Parisian’s length and kicking prowess should carry the day.

Tape: His first “Contender Series” appearance and TUF bout are on Fight Pass. His last fight can be found on ESPN+.


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 15 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+/ESPN2 “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+/ESPN2 10 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 15: “Blaydes vs. Lewis” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.