UFC 241 rookie report: Grading the newcomer in Anaheim

Fighters from around the globe dream of the day they’ll step into the UFC octagon for the first time. For one athlete, Saturday’s UFC 241 event marked that special moment in his career.

Check out this week’s rookie report to see what kind of first impression that fighters made on the sport’s biggest stage from Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

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Khama Worthy

Khama Worthy

Division: Lightweight

Result: Khama Worthy def. Devonte Smith via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:15

Record: (15-6 MMA, 1-0 UFC)

Grade: A-

Khama Worthy was given what seemed an impossible task at Saturday’s event, stepping in on just four days’ notice to take on Devonte Smith, a dangerous fighter who had registered back-to-back knockout wins under the UFC banner.

Oh, and Smith just happened to be an old friend of Worthy’s, as well.

But Smith made the most of the moment. He didn’t seem to show any type of jitters one might expect of a newcomer, moving forward and looking to attack from the opening bell. Some of his frantic energy in the standup department does seem a bit concerning in terms of energy consumption over the course of longer fights in his UFC career, but his willingness to engage against a dangerous opponent was encouraging.

Worthy eventually landed a big shot on the feet, sending a wobbly Smith tumbling to the floor. Once there, Worthy’s precision with the follow-up shots was true, earning him a first-round TKO finish.

I don’t believe we saw enough of Worthy’s game to really know what he can offer in totality, and that’s really the only reason I wouldn’t go all in just yet, but when you step in on short notice and earn a “Performance of the Night” bonus in the process, you’re definitely worthy of some attention. If matched against the right opponents, Worthy may prove a solid commodity to the UFC roster, capable of delivering entertaining contests, even if he openly admits his goal is really just cashing the biggest checks rather than chasing any potential titles.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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