Welcome to the UFC: Kyler Phillips

UFC Philadelphia Kyler Phillps
Credit: CXF Facebook

An injury on the UFC Philadelphia card has opened the door for bantamweight prospect and Contender Series alum Kyler Phillips.

The UFC is coming to Pennsylvania, on March 30 for UFC Philadelphia. As the card is basically set in stone, former flyweight title challenger Ray Borg was set to take on Pingyuan Liu. Liu was then forced to pull out due to injury and Kyler Phillips got the call-up.

Get to Know Kyler Phillips:

Kyler Phillips is currently living in Surprise, Arizona. His father took him to the Gracie Academy out of Torrance, California, at the age of three and he fell in love with the sport. At 12-years-old, Phillips took a couple of pankration fights and at 16, he had his first MMA fight. Phillips wrestled at Temecula Valley High School and did a season of Freestyle Greco. He is a Carlson Gracie BJJ Brown belt, and a Nikidokai black/red belt under grandmaster Hanshi Nico. Phillips also has accomplishments such as IBJJF jiu-jitsu world champion blue belt (2012), California State judo champion (2010), and California Southern Section CIF wrestling champion at 138 lbs (2013). Phillips started off his career 10-0 as a pro and amateur including a win on the Contender Series in 2017. He was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter Season 27 last year. He would lose to the eventual winner Brad Katona. After two straight losses, Phillips got back on the board last February at LFA 59 with a highlight reel head kick knockout. He currently trains out of 2 Knuckle Sports and the well-respected MMA Lab.

How Does Kyler Phillips Fare in the UFC:

Phillips is a fast starter with eight of his nine career finishes (pro & amateur) coming in the first round. He has shown to slow his pace as the fight goes on, but it’s the pace he throws at which causes that. Phillips is very light on his feet with a lot of movement and is very quick. He’s a kickboxer at trait with a lot of diversity in his kicks. He throws a lot of volume on the feet and while he doesn’t have power, he relies on his combinations. Phillips does have decent wrestling with solid jiu-jitsu. He isn’t as great off his back as he is on top, but he’s excellent in scrambles and hunting for submissions. Overall, at only 23-years-old, he has a bright future but maybe he could have used a few more years on the regional scene.

How He Matches Up with Ray Borg:

Injuries sometimes tie the UFC’s hands when finding a short notice opponent for a former title challenger like Borg. Phillips is in a win-win spot here because he will be a big underdog and Borg really doesn’t have a lot to gain with a win. With Borg being a career flyweight, Phillips is the much bigger guy with a four-inch height advantage and a seven and a half-inch reach advantage. If the fight hits the mat, Borg will be in his world and while Phillips does have good jiu-jitsu, Borg is much better. Phillips will just have to use his size and range on the feet, but I feel Borg may be too fast. I think Borg gets the win and I expect him to be about a -350 favorite.