It seems like every day I find some new promotion helmed by a current or former fighter. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where tolerable commentary is a rare luxury, we check out the first fighter to jump from Anthony Pettis FC to the Octagon.
Weight Class: Featherweight
Record: 7-2 (3 KO)
Notable Victories: Jacob Kilburn
Unbeaten since a 2-2 professional start, Alexander enters the cage on the heels of three consecutive stoppage wins. His most recent came in Feb. 2022, when he busted UFC veteran Jacob Kilburn’s arm with a body kick.
He steps in for the injured Melsik Baghdasaryan on less than a week’s notice.
Alexander, a well-built 145er standing 5’11,” is a striker by trade with what you might consider a Dutch-kickboxing-style approach. His bread and butter are short, sharp boxing combinations, usually one-two combinations and three-two combinations from either stance, punctuated with crushing low kicks. Impressive dexterity also allows him to flick out quick, powerful body and head kicks with little windup, plus the occasional spinning kick.
Though he used to be overly willing to compromise his length with flying knees, he seemed to have kicked the habit against Kilburn, keeping distance and plugging him with check hooks every time he stepped in. That said, he does still keep his hands too low, especially when attacking. Like a lot of tall fighters, he also doesn’t move his head that well, although he did show some nice feints in that fight that should make opponents a bit more hesitant to counter him.
If he wants to use those striking skills, though, he’ll have to shore up his grappling. It’s far too easy to back him to the fence and get in on his hips for takedowns, and while he generally does a good job of getting under hooks and returning to his feet, dogged opponents can control him for long stretches of time.
His submission attack looked a bit iffy the last time he had cause to use it, which was three fights back in 2020. He repeatedly lost position against a tired and compromised opponent, failing to maintain control while chasing no-hooks rear naked chokes.
Alexander can probably hold his own on the feet against several Featherweights, but those grappling issues will keep him from making a genuine run at contention. Still, he’s improved a lot these last couple years and is still just 27, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him put it all together.
Opponent: He takes on the human bulldozer who is Joanderson Brito. Though Alexander will have no shortage of opportunities to catch Brito with counters, the latter’s aggression and relentless wrestling will give him all sorts of hell. In the end, expect Brito to dominate on the mat.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 62 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.
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