Crowd support was a big factor for Zak Ottow at UFC Milwaukee, and luckily, for once he wasn’t “the other guy.”
Milwaukee, WI — Zak Ottow came into UFC Milwaukee feeling like his job was on the line. Coming off a loss to Sage Northcutt, unable to string together a win streak in his UFC tenure, Ottow knew he had to win. So he took a short-notice bout with Dwight Grant on just two week’s notice. And didn’t even look at the odds. Probably a good thing, as he was a sizeable underdog.
However, Ottow made the most of it, picking up a split decision win in a fight that was low in action, but perhaps for good reason. “I took the fight on two week’s notice,” Ottow explained following to fight at the Fiserv Forum on Saturday. “The guy’s super long with a ton of power, talented striker. So I couldn’t just go rushing in there. I had to kind of probe, probe, false starts a lot.”
“The volume was kind of low,” he admitted. “But man, I felt a couple of his punches and I realized quickly that’s why people don’t make it out of their fights with him.” The power difference was plain as day to those watching, no doubt more so for Ottow, who had to deal with those punches. Yet he adapted, and came out with the win in a close one.
Ottow knew the fight was close as it unfolded, but definitely felt the crowd support. “It felt awesome to be fighting in my home town, it kind of pushed me that third round to keep grinding. I was able to win that third round, I think that’s what gave me the fight right there.”
Doing it in his own back yard was clearly special. “I’ve been all around the world, most of the time I’m the other guy,” he said. The difference of being the home town guy was clearly enjoyable for the fighter, who runs his own gym in Milwaukee, Pura Vida BJJ. “Man, I saw so many familiar faces and just the excitement when I was getting announced was incredible.”
His teammates, gym members, “friends, family, people I went to high school with, all sorts of people came out of the woodwork. Giving me Facebook messages during the week saying they were going to come in from out of state to go to this fight and stuff, it was crazy.”
Watch the full UFC Milwaukee post-fight press scrum with Zak Ottow above!