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Fighter on Fighter: Breaking down UFC Vegas 29’s Dan Ige

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UFC Fight Night: Ige v Tucker Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Featherweight scrapper, Dan Ige, will square off with fan favorite, Chan Sung Jung, this Saturday (June 19, 2021) at UFC Vegas 29 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

What’s the best way to respond from a difficult loss that ends a hard-earned win streak? A 22-second knockout loss has to rank highly! Such was the case for Ige, who rebounded from a main event defeat to Calvin Kattar in style, brutally stopping Gavin Tucker in the first exchange of the fight. Back in the win column, Hawaii’s Ige is looking to build a new win streak and advance back into the title mix by taking out a former title challenger.

Let’s take a closer look at his skill set:

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sat., Oct. 23, 2021, with a highly-anticipated match up in the Middleweight division, as No. 2-ranked contender Paulo Costa returns to action against No. 5-seeded Marvin Vettori. In UFC Vegas 41’s Lightweight co-main event, Grant Dawson looks to remain undefeated in UFC when he locks horns with Ricky Glenn

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Striking

On the whole, Ige is not an overly complicated striker. He’s aggressive, powerful, and durable though, which makes him a very solid scrapper nevertheless.

Ige tends to trade well in the pocket. During these close distance exchanges, Ige does a nice job of keeping his hands high and knees bent, ensuring he’s able to throw (relatively) safely with power. Against Tucker, an early exchange of power hands saw Ige’s lowered level and timing win the day (GIF).

In general, Ige does keeps his hooks tight, and he’ll often go body-head with his combinations. Between the left hook, left uppercut, and cross/overhand, Ige can put together some real dangerous combos.

Perhaps Ige’s best kickboxing performance came against Kevin Aguilar, a solid counter puncher/brawler. Ige ripped the body often, both with punches and by firing a hard left switch kick after his cross. If Aguilar stayed in range after the punching exchanges, “50k” would latch onto the double-collar tie and start throwing knees.

Thus far, almost all of Ige’s struggles have come opposite opponents unwilling to stand in the pocket with him. Julio Arce and Calvin Kattar really touched him up with the jab, whereas Barboza’s range kicks and counter shots did quite a bit of damage as Ige tried to move forward.

Still, there has been progress. In the Arce fight, Ige did little more than march behind a high guard. Against Katter, however, the Hawaiian did his best to shift between stances as he punches, which can really help cover ground. In addition, he tried to take away the jab by timing his overhand right, which is definitely good strategy against a dedicated jabber.

Wrestling

A Division II wrestler with a Judo brown belt, Ige has proven himself quite capable in the cage.

Typically, Ige is either trading in the pocket or lunging forward with threatening power shots. Either way, those are excellent setups for the double leg! Ige is a fairly short Featherweight whose stance keeps him low to the ground, and those two factors further make driving through a shot on the hips more effective.

Ige is willing to duck under a punch and knock his foe clean off his feet, but he tends to like to wrestle along the fence. From that position, he’s quite good at connecting his hands and finishing the shot with a lift. Alternatively, if his opponent manages to pull him up to the waist, Ige’s Judo experience seems quite handy for yanking his foe over the knee or switching directions with a trip.

In summary, Ige likes to transition between the upper body clinch and double leg along the cage until one takedowns lands.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

On the mat, Ige is a jiu-jitsu black belt. Barring his recent one-shot finish of Tucker, all of Ige’s UFC stoppages have taken place from the back mount

Ige’s dominance from the back mount position can be credited to both his jiu-jitsu and wrestling experience. When Ige does manage to sink in the hooks, he really excels at flattening his opponents out. There’s a bit of an art to switching off to wrist control and applying hip pressure to break an opponent’s posture.

Once an opponent is fully flattened out, it still takes a bit of know-how to maintain that hip pressure while attacking with hands, regardless of whether it’s a choke or punches. Ige has all these elements mastered, as he’s quick to flatten his foes then really locks in the position.

It’s really a worst-case scenario in MMA, and Ige makes a habit of capitalizing on that position.

Conclusion

Ige is about as hard-nosed as they come. Interestingly, both Ige and Jung tend to thrive in close distance exchanges, yet struggle more when forced to chase. As such, they’ll both be giving the other the type of fight they like, and one more is likely to pay a violent cost.


Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 29 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN2 / ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance on ESPN2 / ESPN+ at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 29: “Korean Zombie vs. Ige” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

Andrew Richardson, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, is a professional fighter who trains at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. In addition to learning alongside world-class talent, Andrew has scouted opponents and developed winning strategies for several of the sport’s most elite fighters.