UFC Vegas 28 is going down Saturday night at the Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card is headlined by heavyweight sluggers Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Augusto Sakai. In a featherweight fight, Nate Landwehr was fighting Makwan Amirkhani but Landwehr pulled out due to injury. Now going to the reliable LFA promotion yet again, the UFC has signed staple Kamuela Kirk to step in and fight Amirkhani.
Kamuela “The Jawaiian” Kirk
Standing at 5’10″
Fighting at 145 lbs (featherweight)
Fighting out of Scottsdale, US
Training out of Fight Ready
A pro record of 11-4
How will Kirk fare in the UFC:
It’s nice to see Kirk in the UFC, because he is an excelling fighter that’s still young but nearing his prime. His losses to Bruno Souza and Kyle Reyes were close decision losses. He lost to Billy Quarantillo in a fight in which he won round one but gassed out. Not to mention Quarantillo is doing quite well in the UFC. His loss to Anthony Baccam is just bogus. That was a clear win for Kirk and one of the worst scorecards I’ve seen.
Before his striking came along Kirk was an excellent jiu-jitsu fighter and still is. Kirk has good wrestling. In the clinch, he’s good at trapping a leg and getting the takedown and has a good whizzer he uses to get the fight down. Kirk is a black belt in jiu-jitsu and he’s shown throughout his career he’s extremely versed on the mat. Kirk is comfortable going to his back because his guard work is aggressive and slick. He’s even good at attacking the legs to create scrambles. On the flips side when Kirk is on top he transitions smoothly. His back take is effortless and he will jump on submissions like the triangle, guillotine, and armbar. He will give up a dominant position to attack submissions. His ability off his back and his scramble awareness make his submission attack so much more dangerous.
His striking and stand up in general has improved tremendously in his last few fights. Kirk, fighting out of the orthodox stance, will fire the left jab and have his right hand loaded back like a cocked gun. Kirk will throw a lead left hook to the body and will throw a lot of kicks from all angles. His front kick up the middle is a dangerous weapon he likes to use. All that is to open windows for his bigger shots as he will touch a lot before he fires off a big shot. If you’re comparing his striking in his last two fights he’s going to be a future staple in the UFC. I have high expectations for Kirk because the improvements are being made, and he’s still young.
- Striking: B+
- Kickboxing: B+
- Clinch: A-
- Wrestling: B
- Grappling: A-
- Striking Defense: C+
- Takedown Defense: C+
- Cardio: C+
- Biggest Strength: Jiu-jitsu
- Biggest Weakness: Gas tank in late rounds
How he matches up with Amirkhani:
Amirkhani has been in the UFC since 2015 and is 6-3 in the promotion. His three losses are to Edson Barboza, Shane Burgos, and Arnold Allen. There is no shame in the losses but you can say every time he’s had a step up in competition he fell short.
If this fight goes to the mat it will be very interesting to see who has the better overall ground game. Both guys have seventeen submission wins. I look at Amirkhani as more of a submission threat but I feel Kirk could just outwork Amirkhani. Not long ago I would say this fight was close on the feet but now, I feel Kirk is the far better striker. Amirkhani more so throws with a lot of energy and it’s why he gasses. Kirk picks his shots and fights at his preferred range which may frustrate Amirkhani. It’s going to come down to whether Amirkhani can submit Kirk early. Kirk has never been submitted and although I feel Amirkhani is capable of catching a sub in a scramble, I’m leaning the other way. The grappling is close, the striking I edge it to Kirk, and Amirkhani has had a history of gassing. Kirk has questionable cardio but as the fight goes Amirkhani takes shot after shot when walking forward. I’m going with Kirk.