Fighters from around the globe dream of the day they’ll step into the UFC octagon for the first time. For three athletes, Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 16 event marked that special moment in their career.
Check out this week’s rookie report to see what kind of first impression those fighters made on the sport’s biggest stage from Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
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Result: Hunter Azure def. Brad Katona via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Record: (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC)
Hunter Azure is going to be a problem. He’s still raw in many ways and might need to develop his game management a bit, but he’s got talent.
Azure’s striking didn’t always come in combinations, but it was clearly effective, stunning Katona on a number of occasions. His defensive wrestling was incredible, refusing to go to the floor despite Katona’s repeated efforts. He was calm and composed in his UFC debut. He’s clearly got the tools needed to be successful.
In a close fight, Azure simply needed to do a little bit more to earn a higher mark. As strong as his defensive wrestling game proved, seeing a few takedown attempts of his own might have changed the flow of the contest. Or perhaps the striking success he had could have spurred him on to more extended exchanges. He simply had to capitalize on the clear advantages he had.
Azure was deserving of a win and looks like he’s primed to earn more in the near future. The raw tools are clearly there. A few minor tweaks, and the Dana White’s Contender Series grad will be ready for top competition.
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: UFC on ESPN+ 16 rookie report: Grading the newcomers in Vancouver