UFC Fight Night 96 Newcomer Breakdown: Zak Ottow

Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at American Zak Ottow as he debuts against veteran Josh Burkman at UFC Fight Night 96 in Portland, Oregon. Zak “Barbarian” Ottow Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin Age: 29 Height: 5’11” Reach: 73.5” Weight Class: Lightweight Camp: Pura Vida BJJ Career Record: 13-3 Key Wins: None Key Losses: Jacob Volkmann Background A former high school wrestler, Zak Ottow trains out of Pura Vida BJ; a gym which he also co-owns. Ottow has some decent level regional experience, but has lost to all the quality opposition he has faced. His most notable loss was to former UFC fighter Jacob Volkmann. Strengths

  • Aggressive fighter
  • Decent power in his punches
  • Mixes in leg kicks for a balanced attack
  • Looks to engage in wrestling and grind out opponents
  • Presses for submissions capable of securing from both top control and off back


  • Striking defense leaves a lot to be desired
  • Too much emphasis on offense not enough defense
  • Can lose position with over aggression
  • Can struggle when forced to fight off back foot
  • Chin is a real concern



  Matchup against Josh Burkman A solid matchup for Zak Ottow as he faces veteran Josh Burkman in his UFC debut. Ottow is the much younger fighter in this bout (6 years difference) and physically appears up to the task against Burkman. Both fighters possess power on the feet, but the biggest difference in this fight is their ability to take a punch. Burkman has a legendary chin taking shots from the likes of Hector Lombard and not being phased by it. Ottow, on the other hand, is susceptible to power strikes and can be hurt by even a standard punch on the feet. With Burkman’s power, Ottow will struggle to be in this fight for all 15 minutes. For Ottow to win, he’ll need to get Burkman to the floor regularly to eliminate Burkman’s power weapons in this fight. I expect Burkman to be able to create an opening and to floor Ottow with a heavy punch winning this fight by knockout. Burkman by KO / TKO (+250) is the play to make in this fight. UFC Ceiling Zak Ottow has a pretty decent all-around game with a balanced kicking attack and a strong top position wrestling approach. He’s a pretty savvy fighter when he can control the cage and is the aggressor in a fight. What he needs to improve on is his defense. When his opponent limits his attacks, he tends to struggle. Furthermore, he will be limited by his opponent’s punching power. While some fighters can walk through punches, Ottow doesn’t have that luxury. If he can avoid being knocked out, he has the ability to get a couple of wins in the UFC. His career path will ultimately be determined by his chin holding up. Fight Film Check out Zak Ottow in some of his most recent fights: Zak Ottow vs. Craig Eckleberg   Zac Ottow vs. Zack Micklewright

Written by Jay Primetown

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