UFC Vegas 43’s seven canceled fights included some very intriguing debuts, but we’re now down to just one. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where I occasionally have to dumpster-dive through my old laptop for previously written breakdowns, we look at an undefeated “Contender Series” graduate.
Weight Class: Lightweight
Record: 6-0 (3 SUB)
Notable Victories: Shaheen Santana
Less than three months after scoring his fifth professional victory under the LFA banner, Levy stepped up on short notice to meet Shaheen Santana on “Contender Series.” Levy’s wrestling proved dominant en route to a third-round submission win, which earned him a UFC contract.
A rangy, mobile southpaw, Levy leans on his kicks in the standup, peppering opponents’ bodies and legs. Though not much of a boxer, he avoids being too predictable by mixing up his attack. Indeed, I’ve seen him lead with a kick from one leg and follow up with the other and land a head kick in the middle of a scramble on the fence. Outside those limited hands, though, he seems to struggle with distance, often throwing his kicks within countering range. In addition, his nice lateral movement seems to fall apart when blitzed, allowing opponents to force him to the fence with pressure and subsequently tee off.
Luckily, he’s got top-notch wrestling to lean on. Whether shooting in at a distance behind a setup fake left or sweeping opponents’ feet out from under then in the clinch, he’s a very difficult man to dissuade once he decides it’s time for a ground battle. Then comes patient, effective top control peppered with decent ground-and-pound and well-executed passing. It’s not super dynamic, but it’s usually rock-solid, and he’s got the submission defense and scrambling to get out of rough patches.
I see Levy as a middle-of-the-pack sort of fighter. Though he’s unquestionably skilled, he lacks the sort of killer app he’d need to break out in one of the sport’s most stacked divisions. Still, his wrestling alone should get him a few wins.
Opponent: Levy was originally slated to debut against Austin Hubbard, whose shaky takedown defense figured to make him easy prey. Rafa Garcia looks to be a trickier task, as he’s the better boxer and can match or exceed Levy in the wrestling. Garcia looked dreadful against Chris Gruetzemacher last time, though, so it’s a toss up.
Tape: His “Contender Series” and LFA bouts are on Fight Pass.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 43 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN+ at 6 p.m. ET.
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