The Surprises & Disappointments of UFC Fight Night 69

Taylor Lapilus These were the three biggest surprises and the three biggest disappointments from UFC Fight Night 69. The Surprises Tatsuya Kawajiri — Following a 14-month layoff and an eye injury that nearly ended his career, I wasn’t expecting a good performance from Kawajiri against Dennis Siver. But I was wrong about him, as he looked pretty good in earning a unanimous decision win. Kawajiri’s striking was awkward, but his wrestling game was still there as he did a great job the entire fighting clinging to Siver. I don’t think Kawajiri is going to win the title, but he’s one of the best gatekeepers at 145lbs the UFC has. I’d like to see him fight an up-and-coming prospect like Mirsad Bektic next. Arnold Allen — Allen took the fight against Alan Omer on just over a week’s notice, but it didn’t matter as he weathered the early storm from Omer and won the fight in the third round via submission. Omer did a good job of negating Allen’s offence for the first two rounds, but the young Brit took advantage late in the third by securing the tapout win in his UFC debut. It was a very impressive finish, and going forward this is absolutely a fighter to keep your eye on for a bet as he’s very talented — and rapidly growing each and every time out. Taylor Lapilus — Lapilus looked great in his UFC debut and moving down a weight class, I was expecting big things from him, and he did just that by taking out Ulka Sasaki in the second round in the biggest upset on the card. Lapilus’ takedown defence was on point and his striking looked solid in his best overall performance to date. I still don’t know why Lapilus was such a big dog against Sasaki, but I don’t think you’ll be seeing him as a +240 dog for a long time after such an outstanding performance against a guy like Sasaki who has proven in the past he can win fights at the UFC level. The Disappointments Lukasz Sajewski — An undefeated prospect, I expected Sajewski to hold his own against Nick Hein. But he was blown out of the water instead, losing every round on the judges’ scorecards in his UFC debut. He didn’t appear to be a UFC-caliber fighter in any aspect, although he’s still a young fighter so he could turn things around. Still, this was a very poor UFC debut for a fighter who had some hype going into the event. Alan Patrick — I’ve never been super high on Patrick, but I still expected him to be at least competitive against Mairbeck Taisumov. Instead, he had no answers for his opponent on the feet and was knocked out in brutal fashion with a head kick and punches in the second. Patrick’s cardio was extremely shaky in the fight, his chin didn’t hold up, and his takedowns were poor. He’s just not that great of a prospect and should be faded in the future, depending of course on the matchups he’s given from here on out. Niklas Backstrom — There’s fighters that come into the UFC sometimes who look great in their debut and then for whatever reason fall off the map, and Backstrom is one of them. After winning his UFC debut by submission over Tom Niinimaki, he’s now dropped two-straight, to Mike Wilkinson and, at UFC Fight Night 69, Noad Lahat. Backstrom had some nice sequences in the fight, no doubt, but he gassed horribly and showed some huge flaws in his takedown defence. He has talent and may be able to turn his career around because he’s young, but at this point he appears to be one of the more overrated prospects the UFC has seen in a while.

Written by Adam Martin.

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