The Five Count: Top Storylines from UFC Fight Night 69 Fallout

Jay Primetown takes a look at the five biggest storylines to develop from UFC Fight Night 69 in Berlin, Germany #1 The Most Dynamic Striker in WMMA – Poland’s Joanna “Asia” Jedrzejczyk is one the fastest rising stars in the UFC. In just a handful of fights, she has gone from complete unknown to UFC champion known for wiping the floor with her opponents in striking exchanges. In Saturday’s title fight main event, “Asia” faced former Invicta Atomweight Champion Jessica Penne. The American is a quality veteran with a crafty grappling game, but it was clear early on that she could offer very little to trouble Jedrzejczyk. The Polish fighter continues to work on her takedown defense. It continues to hold up as she’s faced the division’s best grapplers and they have been unable to hold her down for any lengthy period of time. On the feet, Jedrzejczyk is levels above anyone else in the division. Her variety of strikes on the feet combined with accuracy as well as power in this weight class put her well above the rest of the division. At this point, Claudia Gadelha may be the only one suited to give her a competitive fight. In order to beat Jedrzejczyk, one has to be able to offer some power on the feet and combine that with power grappling to attempt to tire out the Polish fighter. Any other combination will see the same result as we saw Saturday night, a fighter completely outclassed in a prolonged stand up exchange. #2 Another Day, Chechnya Reigns – The fighter who raised his or her stock the most on Saturday was Chechnya born Mairbek Taisumov. It seems like after every event there is a need to praise yet another fighter from the Northern Caucasus.  This time it was the Tiger Muay Thai trained fighter taking on talented Brazilian Alan Patrick. The undefeated Brazilian had last notched a win over quality veteran John Makdessi.  Patrick was able to grapple a bit with Makdessi and grind out that decision. In this matchup, Taisumov saw all of the takedowns coming. Furthermore, Patrick had to resort flashy, spinning strikes to attempt to land on the Taisumov. Anytime Patrick would fight conventionally, Taisumov countered very easily. Taisumov scored early and often eventually winning by head kick knockout. The dominant performance was enough for me to tell that he’s ready for a true step up in a competition. He should be placed against a fringe top 15 fighter next to see just how well he stacks up. A win again and Taisumov can make a case he’s a top 15 fighter in the world at 155 pounds. #3 Mr. Finland – Rarely does a fighter capture one’s attention so quickly than Finnish featherweight Makwan Amirkhani. “Mr. Finland” isn’t the best fighter or the best prospect around. He’s a talented fighter who has finished his first two opponents in a combined 109 seconds. Yes, the wins were impressive albeit against poor competition, but it isn’t the quick finishes that have people intrigued by him. It is Mr. Finland’s fascinating persona that is what is attracting fans to him. After his first UFC win, he took a note from Conor McGregor with the ultra-confident, yet cool responses giving him that feel of invisibility. When he beat Masio Fullen on Saturday, he jumped on top of the cage dedicating the winner to his mother barely saying a word to describe his performance. The man is a complete enigma and makes one want to know much more about him. He’s become very easy to root for and expect him to be pushed into a more high profile role as the UFC continues to build its product in Europe. #4 Buy or Sell – Time to play a quick buy or sell with the other winners on Saturday’s PPV card. Nick Hein: SELL. If all his fights took place in Germany, he’d certainly be a candidate to buy stock in, however that simply won’t be the case as the UFC only plans to visit Germany once per year. Hein is a solid fighter. He can stick in fights with above average competition, but his technical ability is limited. He simply doesn’t have the striking talent to hurt quality opponents on the feet and the grappling (while decent) isn’t good enough to compete with the American and Russian fighters who will rise to the top of the division over the next several years. If Hein is a given a step up fight next time out, that will provide a good opportunity to fade him. Tatsuya Kawajiri: SELL. The Japanese featherweight is what we thought he was. He’s a relentless grappler with an above average wrestling base. If he’s able to out grapple opponents, there’s a significant chance he will win the bout. At 37, one has to wonder just how much longer he can hold up for. He should be used for the next couple years as a gatekeeper to face solid prospects. Having him face already established fighters, does little to help anyone. Noad Lahat. BUY. The Israeli born American Kickboxing Academy fighter is really starting to show some skills which make me believe he has staying power in the UFC. His striking has seen significant improvement since he debuted in the UFC in early 2014. Combining that striking improvement with black belt jiu jitsu and being nearly impossible to submit with a choke, he’s going to be tough for opponents to defeat. Lahat lacks the dynamic athleticism to be an elite fighter, but there’s certainly room for further improvements and continue to move up in the UFC. #5 European Youth Brigade –For a long time Western Europe struggled to produce high level MMA talent. But that tide has begun to turn. Michael Bisping was the pioneer in that regard and has been in the mix at middleweight for the majority. In the last few years, guys like Alexander Gustafsson, Conor McGregor, and strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk have emerged as legitimate stars in their divisions. It really seems that the sport has started to evolve in Europe.  At UFN 69, some of Europe’s top prospects took to the ring. As underdogs, England’s Arnold Allen and France’s Taylor Lapilus took the cage against more experienced opponents. Allen, 21, and Lapilus, 23, both were able to finish their opponents to earn the biggest wins of their careers. As Europe begins to put together more high level camps, expect even more fighters to emerge as the sport grows in Western Europe.

Written by Jay Primetown

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