In a profoundly rare occasion, UFC Vegas 10, which takes place tomorrow night (Sat., Sept. 12, 2020) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, was all set to feature nothing but Octagon veterans. On Wednesday, however, the promotion decided to put together a last-minute Heavyweight tussle. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where I’m never safe, we check out a DEEP and Rizin veteran with a knack for entertaining scraps.
Weight Class: Heavyweight
Record: 15-5-2 (8 KO, 3 SUB)
Notable Victories: Da Un Jung, Jerome Le Banner
Guam’s Martinez initially made his name in PXC before switching his focus to Japan, where he’s fought exclusively since 2017. His efforts earned him the DEEP Openweight championship and a 3-2 record in RIZIN, including a knockout of Hideki Sekine this past February.
He joins this card on three day’s notice.
A fluffy, 5’10” Heavyweight who generally weighs somewhere in the 240-260-pound range, Martinez is a flatfooted striker by trade. When allowed to get comfortable, he utilizes a sharp, busy jab to potshot opponents, mixing in crosses, leg kicks, and body kicks when the opportunity arises. Even if he’s having success at range, he enjoys working in the clinch, where he can unleash dirty boxing and some crafty elbows to deal damage high and low. While his power isn’t overwhelming, he’s got fast hands and the stereotypical Pacific Islander toughness, which allowed him to absorb some nasty shots from Jake Heun and Mirko Cro Cop.
His striking is, unfortunately, far from flawless. Aside from the bog-standard weaknesses of backing straight up and not checking low kicks, his lack of height and reach make him fairly easy to pick off as he advances. He can be “kited,” if you’re familiar with the term, and lacks the head movement or overall slickness that other stout heavies like Mark Hunt use to compensate. As mentioned before, he’s got the chin to stay standing and maintain his pursuit, but it’s hard to win rounds when every jab your opponent throws lands clean.
On the grappling side, he looks to have middling skills overall. He was loath to shoot against Heun despite his struggles in the stand up and only managed to score a takedown once “Honey Bear,” whom he outweighed by an enormous margin, gassed out. A relatively recent fight against Seigo Mizuguchi, who entered with a losing record, also saw him taken down in the first, though he scrambled up quickly. Seeing as two of his pro submissions came against 1-1 opponents and the third against an over-the-hill kickboxer in Jerome Le Banner, it’s safe to say the ground game isn’t his forte, though his talent for short, powerful blows in the clinch translates to solid ground-and-pound.
Martinez would honestly be best served shedding weight and working on his speed, feints and head movement. Dropping all the way to 205 pounds is probably out of the question, but anything that makes it easier for him to get in the pocket would be welcome. As is, his weaknesses just seem too glaring against anyone in the UFC Heavyweight division besides bottom-feeders like Gian Villante, Chris de la Rocha or Jake Collier. Don’t expect more than a couple of victories during his Octagon tenure.
Opponent: Said tenure will start on a loss. Alexander Romanov — whom we looked at last week — is naturally larger and far more potent with his wrestling, which should allow the Moldovan to simply bulldoze Martinez in the early going. Martinez is the better boxer, sure, but that’s not all that useful when 260 pounds of sumo wrestler are sitting on you and mashing your face in.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 10 fight card this weekend, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ 8 p.m. ET.
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