Three Under the Radar Fights at UFC 223
Ranking the Best Three Under the Radar Fights in Brooklyn
The two title fights topping the UFC’s second trip to the Barclay’s Center are phenomenal. Despite Tony Ferguson’s departure, the lightweight title fight is still the stuff of legends and the rematch between Rose and JJ is just as exciting. But there are more fights to pay close attention to beyond the top two. Fights that are criminally under-rated and thus flying dangerously under the radar.
So, to do my part in recognizing the great competitors involved in the undercard of this glorious event, i’m going to do what I always do….rank shit.
Without further ado…let’s break down the best three fights flying under the radar at UFC 223 this weekend.
#3 Ray Borg vs Brandon Moreno
This fight could easily be number one and that alone shows the strength of this card.
Sometimes it’s tough to erase a performance like Ray Borg had against DJ from your mind. Especially when it’s his last fight. But the “Tazmexican Devil” is still a freak show on the ground and improving on the feet. As a very young contender in the division, I could see Borg coming back strong and putting up some herculean efforts against the best at flyweight. It’ll have to start here against “The Assassin Baby”
Not sure how I feel about the nickname, but I do know how I feel about Brandon Moreno.
Everyone loves an underdog story and Moreno certainly has that tone to his career. Ranked #16 in the TUF flyweight tournament, Moreno put up a valiant effort against the top ranked contender–allowing him an opportunity in the UFC. From there, he’s been shockingly good. Three wins and two submissions over some long-standing names at flyweight has allowed him to leap-frog others and grab this match-up against the former title challenger. It’s a big spot and the fight is spectacular.
Brooklyn will be scramble city for the 15 potential, though likely unnecessary, minutes these two will fight. Both men have excellent knowledge of the ground and particularly the art of the scramble. Borg can find your back anywhere on this planet and Moreno’s long limbs allow him to attack from every angle.
These two are going to be dueling banjos on Saturday night and I cannot wait. I expect this thing to be finished inside the distance, but either way; we should all be thankful this fight is happening. It will redefine the word scrap. It’s not all about standing and trading; exciting grappling exchanges can be just as wild.
#2 Renato Moicano vs Calvin Kattar
This is a fantastic fight. Maybe my favorite fight on the undercard, but i’ve decided to put it second because it may not produce fireworks the way #1 will. What it will produce is some outstanding technical battles and perhaps that’s why it’s flying under the radar.
Renato Moicano has had some excellent performances with a win over Jeremy Stephens and a fight he should have won against #1 contender Brian Ortega. Many may forget how close Moicano was to derailing the “T-City” train, but were it not for an ill-advised shot with about a minute and a half remaining, this past few months would have played out much differently. I love his strategic mind and his ability to execute behind a solid jab and developing hands. Moicano is a threat in the division, but so is his opponent.
Coming out of UFC 222, I swear to god Calvin Kattar may have been the one who impressed me the most. His fight with Shane Burgos was a beautiful piece of art and demonstrated the importance of body work and patience. The first couple of rounds were difficult for the “Boston Finisher”, but that didn’t stop him from living up to his nickname and knocking Burgos out in the third. It was a phenomenal performance and one that has made me beyond enthused for this fight at UFC 223.
These two compliment each other so much from a stylistic sense. They’re both patient executors, but because Kattar is more than willing to move forward it will be an action-packed chess match. I expect this thing to play out on the feet and for us to see some high-level exchanges in tight as the fight wears on.
No one is talking about the lead-in to the title fights, but Moicano and Kattar are the one’s being given that spot and I think it’s an excellent choice. It’ll prepare you for the technical violence of the main and co-main events while delivering some great moments itself. Keep an eye out for this one.
#1 Al Iaquinta vs Paul Felder
I don’t think anyone really intended on this one being such an under the radar fight, but it definitely has been. Perhaps it was the news of Tony being out and Max stepping up to the plate that has gotten people off track here, but it’s like every time I bring this fight up they’re shocked. And for good reason. How could you be unaware of such a ridiculously fun fight.
This is as fan-friendly as the UFC gets.
Everyone loves Paul Felder. With his who-gives-a-shit attitude and his sharp elbows, Felder has grabbed the hardcore fan base and made them believers. After three consecutive finishes, all coming by way of hell-bows, “The Irish Dragon” steps into the cage for perhaps his most violent contest to date.
Ever since his time in the TUF house, i’ve been a fan of Al Iaquinta. He’s got a great personality for the sport and is an electric factory inside the cage. And ever since he told a crowd of drunk Virginians to go fuck themselves, he’s been somewhat of a folk-hero. Well, unfortunately the UFC doesn’t think so, causing rifts between him and the promotion. Since then he’s only fought once and i’m ready for “Ragin Al” to become active.
It starts here. His fight with an equally as aggressive savage, Paul Felder, could very well be the fight of the night. In fact, if it’s not fight of the night, i’d say we’re in for one of the best cards we’ve seen in a long time.
These two are gonna bring it. Fists will fly, elbows will slice and blood will spurt. It’s gonna be a great time.