Welcome to the UFC: Malcolm Gordon and Amir Albazi

UFC octagon girls
Octagon Girls, UFC Norfolk ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Jay Anderson/Cageside Press

For the third straight event in a week hosted on the Fight Island, the UFC is back with a card headlined by a flyweight championship bout. That will see Joseph Benavidez take on Deiveson Figueiredo once again. In the co-main event, an important middleweight bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Jack Hermansson will take place. Also on the card some notable names are Marc Diakiese, Askar Askarov, Alexandre Pantoja, Davi Ramos, Brett Johns, and many more.

A pair of newcomers were supposed to pair up in Aleksander Doskalchuk and Tagir Ulanbekov. With the unfortunate death of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, Ulanbekov would pull out from the card. Canada’s Malcolm Gordon would later step in, but then Doskalchuk would pull out. Now Gordon will fight fellow newcomer Amir Albazi.

Malcolm “X” Gordon
London, Ontario, Canada
Adrenaline MMA Training & Fitness
6 Submissions

How will Gordon fare in the UFC:

Malcolm Gordon is a veteran of the sport starting his pro career in late 2012. He’s the former WXC and TKO flyweight champ with a key win against Yoni Sherbatov, which looks pretty good on his record.

On the feet, Gordon throws at an active rate with his straight/jab right hand. He will throw that jab from his waist sometimes doubling and tripling up very well. Gordon is a distance fighter sticking the jab, throwing long straight punches, and utilizing kicks. Gordon is far superior once on the mat as he is much more lethal with his submission base. He has six submissions with all but one by joint-manipulation.

Gordon is a very slick grappler on top or bottom and is a strong finisher. His wrestling could be better in terms of the setups as he can telegraph and shoot from too far out. Once Gordon does get on the inside he is good to get the takedown from there. On top, he throws decent ground and pound and is good at taking the back. Even off his back, Gordon is a threat attacking with kimuras, triangles, and armbars. Gordon is good at transitioning from submission to submission. His ability to eat punches could be a conern, as he tends to shell up not moving his head and not trying to step away. Whether he is capable of taking anything flush and surviving is a real question mark. He has before, but his chances of survival against a high-level fighter are slim. Gordon does have a nice skillset but the question marks defensively, especially on the feet, could keep him from making it too far in the UFC.

Amir “The Prince” Albazi
London, England
London Shootfighters
7 Submissions

How will Albazi fare in the UFC:

Albazi is an excellent talent training camp with a good team over at London Shootfighters. He’s a tricky guy on the feet throwing a range of attacks. He throws a good straight jab, a sneaky lead uppercut, step-in knees, and a nice right cross. Although Albazi has some nice features on the feet his intention is to always get the fight to the mat. He’ll do a nice job crashing forward using trips to get the fight to the floor. He is a good wrestler as his level changes, timing, and the ability he’s shown to lift guys on his shoulder and slam them down are all done so well. When it comes to grappling, really in all areas on the mat Albazi shines.

Albazi is very fluid on top as he’s always moving positions; you will never just see him sit in the guard. He really likes north-south position where he loves attacking with a kimura. He’s actually finished three times with a kimura. Albazi is so active on the mat looking for a submission and can find it in all positions. This is a great signing and I think Albazi is no doubt a future ranked fighter and altogether has a high ceiling.

How do these two match up:

This is such a great fight and among all the fights on the card this one is my favorite of the night. Both match up very well as both are excellent grapplers. If this fight remains standing due to the fact both are dangerous grapplers, it’s a close fight. I slightly edge towards Gordon as Albazi uses more weapons but Gordon is the much more refined striker. There is a striking defense issue for Gordon but Albazi doesn’t have the power to put him away.

I do think this fight is destined to hit the mat how. Both men have good wrestling but Albazi has the advantage. In the grappling, it’s a tight match but I’m much more impressed with the flow, scrambles, and finishing ability of Albazi. It’s a close fight but in my opinion, Albazi has the greater upside so I’m leaning towards him.