Welcome to the UFC: Irwin Rivera

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Irwin Rivera
Irwin Rivera (left) against Steven "Ocho" Peterson Credit: Keith Mills/Sherdog.com

The UFC is back from its long layoff due to SARS-CoV-2 with its third event, once again hosted in Jacksonville, Florida inside the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. The May 16 event is headlined by two of the top heavyweight fighters in the division as Walt Harris is taking on Alistair Overeem. In a featherweight bout, Giga Chikadze was supposed to take on Mike Davis. Once again Davis would have to pull out (the pair have been scheduled to face off before), and newcomer Irwin Rivera will take on Giga on short notice.

Irwin “The Beast” Rivera
5’6″
Bantamweight
31-years-old
Boca Raton, Florida, US
Blackzilians
9-4
5 KO/TKOs
1 Submission

How will Rivera fare in the UFC:

Although usually fighting at bantamweight, Rivera is an excellent signing from the UFC. He’s had some tough losses in the past but his last three wins coming over Lazar Stojadinovic, Matt Wagy, and Danny Sabatello have proved he’s UFC ready. Rivera is an all-action fighter who is always looking for the finish. He will wrestle at times and does have some decent ground and pound, but his striking is his bread and butter.

“The Beast” is super explosive lunging forward with big punches exploding in and out. Not just a headhunter, Rivera is a good boxer ripping strikes to the body and the head. Also, Rivera has good kickboxing actively throwing combinations. He’s willing to receive punishment to give punishment. That’s resulted in him getting dropped a few times in the past. With that said, Rivera is extremely tough and always keeps coming with exceptional cardio. His biggest weakness is his takedown defense. As the fight goes on his takedown defense does improve seeing the takedowns coming better and better. Even when his back hits the mat he usually always gets back to his feet. Rivera does a good job working his way to his feet, using some sweeps, and just scrambling back up. He’s a very fun fighter who I believe will do well in the UFC. I don’t know if he will ever crack the top 15 but I do think he’s going to be seeing a few bonuses in his career.

How does Rivera match up with Chikadze:

Chikadze on paper is a better striker as he is a four time World Champ in Karate and Kickboxing also known for his time in Glory. Chikadze is the much bigger fighter with a seven-inch height advantage and a six-inch reach advantage. Giga should be able to keep Rivera at bay with his reach. Rivera no doubt has more power and is much more explosive. Chikadze doesn’t have the best gas tank and Rivera has a five-round gas tank it seems. Rivera is just taking this fight on days notice so it’s unknown how he will look in this fight. Chikadze should win but Rivera has the power to possibly put him away.

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