UFC Greenville Featured Fighter: Kevin Aguilar

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UFC Philadelphia Kevin Aguilar
Kevin Aguilar Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

Our weekly UFC series continues as our featured fighter this weekend is Kevin Aguilar at UFC Greenville.

Kevin Aguilar is in the spotlight in the second edition of our weekly UFC series called “Featured Fighter.” Every UFC card, we select a fighter who fans should pay a little more attention too this weekend. This weekend, 17-1 Kevin Aguilar faces 11-2 Dan Ige on the preliminary card.

Last UFC card, our Featured Fighter was China’s Yan Xiaonan (read here), who defeated Angela Hill at UFC 238 by unanimous decision.

Who is Kevin Aguilar?

Kevin Aguilar is a 30-year old mixed martial artist who was born and trains in Texas. Aguilar trains at Team 515 in Longview, Texas, alongside fellow UFC fighter Derrick Krantz. “The Angel of Death” fights in the men’s featherweight division and is a former Legacy FC and LFA featherweight champion. In the UFC, Aguilar has wins over Rick Glenn and Enrique Barzola, who were both defeated by unanimous decision. A win over Dan Ige could allow Aguilar to get what he has been craving for, a top-15 opponent.

Kevin Aguilar’s Style:

Kevin Aguilar is a well-rounded mixed martial artist who does his best work on the feet. In his MMA career, “The Angel of Death” has 11 finishes, eight coming by way of knockout, three by way of submission.

Striking:

On the feet, Aguilar has great timing and counters, alongside being able to plant down on his feet to get additional power into his strikes. One of his best weapons is his right hand; he can throw it in combinations or on its own as a direct counter. Aguilar can throw his right hand straight as a cross, or can alter it into an uppercut. He did both of these things effectively in his last fight.

Aguilar also throws combinations where he can afford to miss with the first strike as the following strike(s) normally lands. His footwork is good as well, whether this is to avoid takedowns or to set up counters. Aguilar’s range management is also strong, as he perfectly set up Thanh Lee (at LFA 40) with a counter strike after avoiding a wild spinning kick. When Aguilar’s strikes land, they hurt people, and when he has them hurt, he often makes them pay and capitalizes for the knockout victory.

Grappling:

Just because Aguilar’s striking is his main strength, doesn’t mean his grappling isn’t on a decent level. The 30-year old has amazing takedown defense, defending eight takedowns in his last outing against Enrique Barzola, who is one of the most accurate takedown artists in the division. When his opponent shoots for a takedown, Aguilar is instantly fighting to gain underhooks for control and widens his base to make it harder for his opponent to lock his hands. The takedown awareness with his underhooks is really impressive as he normally stops the takedown attempt quite quickly. When he has defended the takedown, Aguilar circles off and breaks from the clinch immediately.

If he is taken down, Aguilar has been able to regain his guard to avoid taking damage. He also has submission attempts like triangle chokes and armbars he openly uses off his back. If Aguilar decides to get a takedown, he is aggressive with top position, and passes the guard quickly and looks to gain full mount. When he gains full mount, Aguilar unleashes heavy ground-and-pound which stops his foes, or they give up their back. When on their back, Aguilar continues to swarm with ground-and-pound until the fight is over – there is a reason he is labelled “The Angel of Death.”

Prediction – Kevin Aguilar vs. Dan Ige:

Both men are good prospects, and can be contenders in the division but one of them has to lose. Personally, I think Kevin Aguilar gets the job done against Dan Ige on Saturday night. Ige is a good grappler overall, but is better on top position. However, I think the takedown defense of Aguilar holds up here. Ige has the initial blitz early where he is deadly, but has faced cardio issues in the past. I think Kevin Aguilar holds the advantage on the feet, and I think that is where the fights plays out. I expect a late stoppage or a comfortable decision win for Aguilar, but he can’t underestimate Ige early. It’s a fun match-up between two prospects in a promising featherweight division.

Official Prediction: Kevin Aguilar def. Dan Ige by third-round TKO.

Featured Fighter Record: 1-0. 

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