The UFC is coming off a spotlight for the women’s bantamweight division last weekend. One that saw Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie cement their status as the top two fighters not named Amanda Nunes. A week later, it’s back to Abu Dhabi for UFC Fight Island 5. This time out, the bantamweight division is in the spotlight. Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen top the bill, in a key 135lb fight. The event is also a showcase for newcomers, with no less than six debuting fighters involved. In a middleweight bout Tom Breese (11-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) was supposed to fight Roman Kopylov a week ago. Kopylov dropped out and now Breese will be fighting the debuting KB Bhullar this Saturday.
KB “The Bengal” Bhullar
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
How Bhullar will fare in the UFC:
I like KB Bhullar. He has a wide array of skills. He’s well-rounded, he has good size for the division, and he’s someone that knows how to use his length and range. Bhullar is very intelligent, and trains out of an underrated team in Shaved Bears (alongside Tanner Bosser). Although Bhullar had some time off from MMA from late 2013 to late 2018, he still competed in Jiu-Jitsu and kickboxing bouts.
On the feet, Bhullar’s a distance fighter with a good jab and solid kickboxing. Bhullar kicks hard, kicks fast, and kicks from unpredictable angles. I like how he’ll rip the body continuously and then go to the head. In the clinch, mainly in the Muay Thai plum, Bhullar has excellent knees which are perhaps his best weapon. Bhullar does have some worrying striking defense however. He doesn’t ever seem to move his head and his body is wide open for the taking. He still hasn’t been hit a lot in his career and that’s because of his footwork and distance management.
Bhullar is not a good wrestler, as he is really more of a defensive wrestler with strong hips and a good whizzer. On top, he throws nasty elbows, and with his long arms, he does a fine job threatening with the d’arce. Throughout his career, he’s had excellent takedown defense showing good balance and fighting under hooks in the clinch. The one time I’ve seen him on his back he looked a bit lost. Once he was taken down he stayed there for the remainder of the round and never came close to getting back up or even getting a submission going off his back. Outside of everything already stated he has a good gas tank conserving his energy and should be good for three rounds no problem. He probably will struggle against an aggressive striker and a strong wrestler. I still like his overall game and I think he’s going to be an issue for a lot of guys.
- Striking: B+
- Kickboxing: A-
- Clinch: A-
- Wrestling: C+
- Grappling: C+
- Striking Defense: C
- Takedown Defense: B+
- Cardio: A-
- Biggest Strength: Kickboxing/Range
- Biggest Weakness: Off his back
How he matches up with Breese:
Three years ago, Tom Bresse was one of the brightest up and comers but lately, that fire has been put out. He’s had a tough time getting to the fight as he’s only fought once in the last two years. When he did fight he got smoked by Brendan Allen in a first-round defeat. Breese is a submission grappler who over time got better on the feet. Striking-wise, Bhullar is more technical and smarter in his approach, whereas Breese hits hard and everything is thrown in bursts.
Where I think Bhullar can control this fight is on top but it’s also where Breese can take over. Breese has six submission wins and two off his back by triangle. Bhullar has never been submitted but Breese is easily the best fighter he’s fought. Bresse is more proven and has the tools to neutralize Bhullar but at this stage in his career, it’s hard to gauge where he’s at. I’m taking the surging red hot prospect in Bhullar due to his momentum and recent cage time. I believe his path to victory will be to stay long with his kicks and make it a gritty fight against the cage while working in takedowns.