In a rare change of pace, UFC Vegas 13 this weekend (Sat., Nov. 7, 2020) at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, features just a single un-researched* newcomer, who joined the card after Arnold Allen vs. Jeremy Stephens fell through. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where tape review reveals the gap between top-shelf and bottom-tier announcing, we check out a wrestling standout with six finishes in seven professional mixed martial arts (MMA) wins.
Jamey “The Afro Samurai” Simmons
Weight Class: Featherweight
Record: 7-2 (4 KO, 1 SUB)
Notable Victories: None
Simmons joins the world’s largest MMA promotion having won five of his last six, three of them via knockout in less than two minutes apiece. He last fought on Oct. 17, 2020, choking out Shawn West to secure his first professional submission win.
“The Afro Samurai” was a massively successful wrestler in both high school and college, a skillset that unsurprisingly forms the basis of his game. He’d shoot within seconds of the bell in earlier efforts, showcasing impressive physical strength and a variety of means by which to drag it to the mat. Once on top, he’s got a stout passing game and some effective ground-and-pound ... not world-breaking shots, but there’s enough thump in there to make him a threat.
Despite only one pro submission, he’s not afraid of chasing the tapout. He went for two separate mounted triangles against Terrence Almond last year, and that finish of West last month suggests that strikes aren’t his only weapon on the ground.
The rest of his game isn’t nearly as polished. He’s developed a bit of stand up since his 13-second knockout loss to Jake Childers in 2019, which saw him duck directly into a knee, but it’s still vestigial, comprising mostly him hurling a straight right so hard it pulls him off-balance. In addition, he gassed badly against Almond despite being in full control, which allowed a similarly exhausted Almond to hit some sweeps in the third round. Both of these need to be addressed immediately, as his current skillset isn’t sufficient to consistently score first-round finishes on the mat.
Simmons needs a whole mess of seasoning if he ever wants to be a contender. As is, this call up looks early.
Opponent: Saturday’s card was originally slated to feature a clash between Jeremy Stephens and Arnold Allen; however, when “Lil’ Heathen” withdrew with an injury, Giga Chikadze attempted to step in, only for this match up to emerge after Allen-Chikadze fell through. Wrestling is the right way to beat Chikadze, but the Georgian’s enormous advantages in height and overall striking acumen mean he’s likely to score his first Octagon knockout at Simmons’ expense.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 13 fight card this weekend right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN2 / ESPN+ 10 p.m. ET.
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