Welcome to the UFC: Kevin Natividad

LFA Kevin Natividad
Credit: LFA Facebook

UFC Vegas 9 goes down on September 5, with a heavyweight main event. Brazilian Augusto Saki will look to improve to 5-0 inside the octagon against legend and staple Alistair Overeem. In a big featherweight bout, Ricky Simon was supposed to fight Brian Kelleher. With that said, Simon had to pull out because a cornerman tested positive for COVID-19. Now Kelleher will fight newcomer Kevin Natividad.

Kevin Natividad
Tempe, Arizona, US
Arizona Combat Sports
1 Submission

How will Natividad fare in the UFC:

Natividad is an excellent prospect deserving of this opportunity. He’s had many lopsided mismatches but holds wins over a good fighter in Kyle Estrada and UFC fighter Irwin Rivera. On the feet, he has a technical brawling style. He’ll crash into the pocket with a looping hook to the body followed by going upstairs. Natividad does a good job throwing in two’s and three’s. He has also shown a good focus on landing kicks.

Defensively the Hawaiian, who now resides in Arizona, is not bad but has some shortcomings. Natividad has a wide stance and has had problems checking leg kicks due to standing so heavy on his lead leg. With some nice boxing techniques, Natividad is an even better wrestler. Sometimes he will shoot from too far out but he drives in on the hips and press opponents against the cage to chain wrestle. Natividad has glue-like grappling while  transitioning quite well. While in half guard, he’ll deftly push down on the knee of his foe and slice right into mount. He will go for submissions but will land ground and pound most likely. This is a good signing and I think he has a bright future in the UFC.

How he matches up with Kelleher:

Kelleher is a veteran who has seen probably every style and and has been fighting against top guys for a while now. Kelleher has fought good wrestlers like Hunter Azure and Cody Stamann and he held his own. Natividad is going be a challenge everywhere against Kelleher but again he’s a savvy veteran. Kelleher has a strong guillotine choke so if Natividad doesn’t time his shots well there is a good possibility of Kelleher snatching that neck. I do think Natividad is the better athlete but Kelleher is more proven.