UFC Fight Night 55 Newcomer Breakdown: Dan Kelly

0DanKellyPrior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at Australian middleweight Dan Kelly as he debuts against American Luke Zachrich. Dan Kelly Hometown: Melbourne, Australia Age: 37 Height: 6’0” Reach: 73” Weightclass: Welterweight Camp: Resilience Training Centre Career Record: 7-0 Key Wins: None Key Losses: None Background The Australian middleweight is somewhat of a rare breed in the UFC. Not only is he an Olympian in Judo, but has competed in the Olympics on four different occasions for his country.  In those four Olympic appearances, Kelly finished as high as 7th in the world. While Kelly made his MMA debut in 2006, he took a six year absence from the sport returning in 2012. The 37 year old judoka has been active since returning to the sport including four fights in 2013. Kelly appeared on TUF Nations: Canada vs. Australia, but was eliminated in the first round after a loss to Sheldon Westcott. Strengths

  • Improving kickboxing, but does well to work in combinations
  • Works to get into the clinch where he can setup takedowns
  • Excellent judoka credentials which he uses to work for body lock takedowns
  • At his best in top control with heavy ground and pound
  • Transitions well on the ground to advance positions


  • Athleticism / Speed in decline
  • Tends to rush forward with both hands up leaving himself wide open to be hit
  • Can be rushed and overwhelmed by opposition
  • Striking defense is below average
  • Tends to turtle up if he gets hit with a decent power shot
  • Holds hands at waist especially as fatigue sets in
  • Cardio a real question mark

0KellyGrade Matchup with Luke Zachrich In his debut in the UFC, Kelly will have the opportunity to fight in front of his native Australians having a home octagon advantage. While he’ll have the crowd’s support, he will be at a physical disadvantage. His opponent, Luke Zachrich, will have a two inch height and reach advantage. In this bout, I expect Zachrich to use his jab from distance while Kelly will be forced to chase the fight. While Zachrich doesn’t have big power, his boxing technique is sound. Zachrich has the much better striking throwing with both more volume and accuracy. In order for Kelly to have success in this bout, he will need to force clinch situations where he can attempt to work in takedowns. Zachrich’s takedown defense should be good enough to keep the fight standing where he should out land Kelly wearing him down to earn a late stoppage or a clear decision win. UFC Ceiling While Daniel Kelly has only had a handful of MMA bouts, he’s already 37 years old. His athleticism has decreased over time and his judoka skills simply aren’t as effective as other Olympic level judokas currently in MMA. Kelly is being a given an opportunity in his home country to appear in the UFC, but it’s unlikely to go his way. At his age and skill level, it’s unlikely that Kelly will get another appearance in the octagon if he loses in his debut. If Kelly had entered MMA at his peak athletic level, his judo ability could of earned him a couple wins in the UFC. Videos Check out Kelly in some of his recent fights: Dan Kelly vs Fabio Galeb:

Dan Kelly vs Ben Kelleher

Written by Jay Primetown

Leave a Reply

Snapstats: Who is the Hardest to Hit at UFC Fight Night 55?

UFC Fight Night 55 Fight Breakdown: Luke Rockhold vs. Michael Bisping