Saturday night, the UFC will be back at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. And so will fans. UFC 261 will feature the return of the fans to UFC events, with a packed venue for the first time in over a year. The card also boasts not one but three big title fights. Headlining the card is a rematch between welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal. Also, strawweight champion Weili Zhang will be defending her title against former champ Rose Namajunas. One of the most dominant champs in UFC history Valentina Shevchenko will defend her flyweight champion against former strawweight champ Jéssica Andrade. With a stacked main card the preliminary portion features three Chinese prospects making their debut. One of those is Qileng Aori, who will take on a Contender Series contract winner, Jeff Molina (8-2, 0-0 UFC) debuting as well.
Qileng “Mongolian Murderer” Aori
Standing at 5’7″
Fighting at 125 lbs (flyweight)
Fighting out of Inner Mongolia, China
Training out of Xin-Du Martial Arts Club
A pro record of 18-6
5 KO/TKOs, 2 Submissions
How will Qileng Aori fare in the UFC:
What’s more impressive than the nickname “Mongolian Murderer” is the 18-6 record Aori has. Now at his prime at 27-years-old Qileng Aori is currently on a six-fight win streak. After fighting at bantamweight his entire career, Aori will be making his debut at 125-pounds.
The footage on Aori was very limited – I watched four fights. What I was able to gather is he has some wrestling skills but is mainly a striker. I’ve seen him willing to have back-and-forth firefights in the pocket. Seeing that he has never been finished by strikes is a good sign. He’s definitely an exciting fighter but there is just so much that is unknown.
He’s lost six times and three of those have been by submission. With that said, his takedown defense and submission defense look a little suspect. Although I can’t get a good enough read he’s put his time in and has that fan-friendly style that could make a name for himself in the future.
How he matches up with Molina:
Molina wasn’t someone I was too familiar with prior to the “Contender Series” call-up. After watching footage and seeing his performance against Silva I was sold. There are still questions about his takedown defense and grappling defense but I don’t think Aori is the guy to challenge that. Molina already has an excellent kickboxing base, solid movement, and fights technically on the feet. Molina also has a good overall ground game that could give Aori problems. Training at Glory MMA under James Krause also has to be a huge advantage. The pick is Molina and not only because there isn’t a lot to go on with Aori, but Molina having tons of potential.