UFC’s recent onslaught of fresh talent continues in Sydney, Australia, tomorrow evening (Sat., Sept. 9, 2023) inside Qudos Bank Arena, upping the total to 12 in the span of two events. On this edition of “New Blood” — the series I occasionally regret pitching all those years ago — we check out a quintet from around the globe making their respective (and official) Octagon debuts at UFC 293.
Felipe “Lipe Detona” dos Santos
Weight Class: Flyweight
Record: 7-0 (2 KO, 3 SUB)
Notable Victories: Hugo Paiva
After a strong run on the Brazilian circuit, dos Santos took his talents to Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) in 2022. There, he handed Thunder Fight champ, Hugo Paiva. the first loss of his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career.
Having seen two Contender Series bouts fall through, he instead steps in for the injured Kai Kara-France on around three weeks’ notice.
The dyed hair and Chute Boxe Diego Lima affiliation should tell you everything you need to know about dos Santos. He’s a non-stop swarm of violence, oftentimes literally running after opponents with punches, elbows, front kicks, and flying knees. His output is awe-inspiring even by Flyweight standards and his chin is rock-solid, meaning he can pour on the hurt from bell to bell without ever slowing down.
As you might expect from a 22-year-old with unquenchable bloodlust, that leaves plenty of openings. Despite standing a relatively tall (for the weight) 5’7”, he’s very irresponsible with his feet, stepping in extremely deep when loading up on his shots. Paiva constantly tagged dos Santos with short-range counters, especially a left hook to the body that seemed to land every time dos Santos took a step. If an opponent stands their ground instead of backing up in the face of his momentum, he’s always there to be hit, especially since he’s not particularly fast or powerful.
He can also get very spammy with flying/spinning techniques, especially the aforementioned knee. Plus, he telegraphs those spins well ahead of time.
The other half of the Charles Oliveira archetype is sturdy grappling, but while dos Santos has some positive traits, he’s not quite there yet. Offensively, he did a great job of hitting double-legs on Paiva after getting his attention with flurries, though he didn’t do much on top. Defensively, that irresponsibility with his momentum makes it easy for opponents to change levels and plow him to the mat when he tries to sit down on strikes.
To his credit, he’s pretty good at working his way to the fence and standing when taken down. He’s also shown some quick submission attempts from guard.
dos Santos is already a highly entertaining action fighter, but he still needs a lot of seasoning. As-is, strong wrestlers with good submission defense are going to have a field day, as will durable power-punchers. Debut foe Manel Kape fits the latter to a tee, so “Lipe Detona” is in for a baptism by fire.
His LFA bout is on Fight Pass.
Landon “The Lone Wolf” Quinones
Weight Class: Lightweight
Record: 7-1-1 (5 KO)
Notable Victories: Yemi Oduwole, Reynaldo Acevedo
After a gnarly knee injury kept him on the sidelines for nearly two years, Quinones returned to Titan FC on a mission, scoring back-to-back knockouts to win and defend the promotion’s Lightweight title. His efforts earned him a spot on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 31, where an ill-advised takedown left him easy pickings for Jason Knight’s triangle.
Suffocating output is Quinones’ calling card. Despite a tall stance and bullwhip kicks that imply a long-range sniping game, “The Lone Wolf” is at his best on the front foot, chipping away with those kicks while piling up jabs and straight lefts. He’ll unleash volume until his opponent can no longer get off the fence, at which point he’ll go to work with body shots, knees, and elbows for the finish.
His motor is really something to behold, and he doesn’t sacrifice power for volume despite constant movement. That said, while he’s generally good at using lateral movement and angling off, he does tend to linger inside with his chin up. Reynaldo Acevedo clipped him with a counter right off a naked low kick, and while Quinones did survive and ultimately mulch him until Acevedo quit, Quinones needs to do a better job of kicking from outside of punching distance.
As a plan B, Quinones has some very stout wrestling. He’ll use volleys of punches and feints to force his opponent’s guard up, then shoot underneath for a double-leg. Though not super dynamic on top, his control is decent. It’s his submission defense that may be an issue, as seen on TUF.
That said, Knight’s always had a ridiculously good triangle, so I wouldn’t knock too many points off “The Lone Wolf.”
Quinones’ standup is UFC-worthy and probably would have overwhelmed Knight if he hadn’t initiated the grappling. I’m glad to see him get called up; he’s good enough to settle around the middle of the stacked Lightweight pack. He is, however, in very tough in his UFC debut against Nasrat Haqparast. When the German is on, he’s an absolute menace, and he possesses the hand speed to punish any unsafe leads from Quinones.
His Titan FC bouts are on Fight Pass.
Charlie “Chuck Buffalo” Radtke
Weight Class: Welterweight
Record: 7-3 (3 KO, 2 SUB)
Notable Victories: Raheam Forest, Jonathan Piersma
Radtke, who started his pro career in 2012 before spending more than four years on the sidelines, found himself 3-3 early in 2021. Moving to 170 appeared to be just the change he needed, as he swiftly racked up four wins in CFFC and claimed its Welterweight title.
Watching his recent bouts, I was reminded a bit of Joe Pyfer, whom Radtke was actually booked to grapple in May. He’s a fundamentally sound power boxer; his arsenal isn’t super deep outside of your basic jab, cross, and hook, but he throws them crisply and with genuinely nasty force. He put Caleb Crump on queer street with a jab two fights back before knocking him completely unconscious with an ultra-tight left hook.
Sitting down on his shots like that has gotten him in a bit of trouble, though. Last time out, the faster Raheam Forest clipped him more than once as they exchanged thanks to Radtke’s flat-footedness and inability to move his head. He’s reliant on his offense preventing people from firing back as he throws, but considering how much damage he can do, that’s not a terrible plan.
His grappling is a weird case. While he has a good sprawl, defends well against the fence, and is a good scrambler, he can seemingly trip at the final hurdle when trying to disengage. Jonathan Piersma, a skilled BJJ player, took Radtke’s back in the first round after driving through Radtke’s sprawl. In the third round, Radtke scrambled into top position after Piersma made a good entry, but screwed up trying to secure the back and ended up stuck in guard.
This continued again shortly afterward. Radtke sat up and forced Piersma’s head down to get his hips free and seemed poised to get away, only to linger in the front headlock and allow Piersma to transition to back mount again. I trust Radtke to shut down initial entries, even if he does operate too near the fence, but skilled chain wrestlers are going to give him issues.
That said, he did scramble his way into half guard and then the back before choking out Forest, so he can’t be taken lightly on the ground.
Radtke’s a lot of fun to watch and seems to have really found his stride at the tail end of what most people would consider their prime. I don’t see him going much above the Welterweight mean, but I’ll enjoy his attempts. As for his debut, he’s in for what looks like a 50/50 with Mike “Blood Diamond” Mathetha. Mathetha has a much stronger kickboxing pedigree, but his transition to MMA has been awkward enough to make this a pick-’em.
His CFFC bouts are on Fight Pass.
Weight Class: Welterweight
Record: 8-2 (4 KO)
Notable Victories: Kitt Campbell, Priscus Fogagnolo
After an unsuccessful bid for Eternal MMA gold, City Kickboxing’s Jousset moved up to 185, ultimately edging out Priscus Fogagnolo for Hex Fight’s Middleweight title. He dropped back down to challenge Kitt Campbell for the Welterweight belt, which he claimed by pounding Campbell out late in the third.
His height isn’t listed anywhere I can find, but Jousset is clearly a big boy for the weight. Alongside your standard tall guy 1-2, he uses that length to pound home front and roundhouse kicks to the body, often landing with the ball of his foot for extra penetration. The body kicks seem to be his most effective, but he also mixes in head and low kicks to good effect.
If opponents get past his occasional knee and into the pocket, he’ll slap on the Thai clinch and tear into them with more knees and what look like his favorite strike: level elbows.
His issue is that while he’s capable of some impressive bursts of fast-paced violence, he moves like his feet are filled with lead. It was downright comical to watch a gassed, 5’9”, 40-year-old Figagnolo just walk right into the pocket and unload flurries to the body while Jousset backed up so slowly that I expected the BEEP-BEEP-BEEP of heavy machinery. Figagnolo got in on his hips with clockwork regularity and consistently did damage in the clinch while Jousset tried to find room for knees and elbows, while Campbell floored him with a shot behind the ear on one of the multiple occasions he got Jousset to the fence.
It doesn’t help that Jousset will occasionally drop his left hand and try to just lean out of danger. 99% of people who try to shoulder roll, especially in MMA, should not be trying to shoulder roll.
Despite a judo background, Jousset seems more comfortable with traditional double-legs, though he did hit a nice foot sweep on Campbell. He played tight on top against Fogagnolo, only periodically posturing up for punches and elbows, but seemed far more active and destructive in the highlights of the Campbell fight Hex shared.
As an aside, the fight in its entirety was paywalled on Fite.TV, and if you’ve seen my betting guides lately, you know I don’t have that kind of dough to spare.
Jousset just seems way too slow to rise above the middle of the UFC Welterweight pack, especially since the division has a preponderance of big, awkward guys. That said, he should be too much for debut foe Kiefer Crosbie, who’s also easy to hit and has the bonus weakness of being limited on the ground.
Kiefer “Big Daddy” Crosbie
Weight Class: Welterweight
Record: 10-3 (5 KO, 2 SUB)
Notable Victories: Alex Oliveira
Crosbie entered Bellator at 4-0, ultimately amassing a 4-3 record in the promotion before parting ways in 2021. After a get-well squash match, he had his best year to date in 2023, knocking out “Cowboy” Oliveira before cruising past Aaron Chalmers in an exhibition boxing match.
Crosbie is a slugger at heart, picking away with jabs and low kicks until he can get inside and unload power combos. There’s definitely some nuance there, though; he fights equally well from southpaw, using an effective teep to disguise his stance switch and set up his money punch left hook. He also possesses a deep fondness for elbows, which he’ll use with aplomb both standing and on the mat.
The power’s legit, as seen when he put Oliveira on his seat last time out. That said, his all-offense approach doesn’t always work to his best interests. He seemingly had Charlie Leary dead to rights in 2020 after clipping him with a combo, but marching in a straight line with his chin up allowed Leary to tear him apart when Crosbie failed to finish him off.
Crosbie was still conscious when the fight was called between rounds, so he has a real chin. It’s just not enough to make up for the linearity and lack of head movement that leave his chin in the firing line.
His grappling seems middling at best. He hit a nice trip on an aging Georgi Karakhanyan, but fell off the top trying to take his back. As soon as Karakhanyan got to half guard, he wrapped up an arm triangle that forced Crosbie to tap. He did clobber a damaged Oliveira with elbows, though, so you probably don’t want him on top of you for long.
Crosbie’s always good for a scrap, but likely won’t have a long stay in the Octagon without very favorable matchmaking. That’s not what he’ll get in his debut, as opponent Kevin Jousset has the grappling pedigree to out-class Crosbie on the mat.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 293 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPNN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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