Welcome to the UFC: Darian Weeks

Darian Weeks, UFC Vegas 44 Weigh-Ins
Darian Weeks, UFC Vegas 44 Weigh-Ins Credit: Eddie Law/Cageside Press

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is back at the Apex this weekend with UFC Vegas 44, a stacked 14-fight card. The event is headlined by former featherweight champion Jose Aldo taking on the red hot Rob Font in a bantamweight clash. Exciting lightweight contenders Rafael Fiziev and Brad Riddell will do battle in the co-main event. Overall it’s a deep card full of veterans and up-and-coming talent. Matt Brown was supposed to take on Bryan Barberena. Brown had to pull out due to COVID-19, and in comes Darian Weeks.

Darion Weeks
Standing at 5’11″
Fighting at 170 lbs (welterweight)
Fighting out of Columbia, Missouri, US
Training out of The Body Shop/Hulett House
A pro record of 5-0
4 KO/TKOs, 1 Submission

How will he fare in the UFC:

Although I’m against the UFC signing fighter with five pro fights and under I don’t mind it for Darian Weeks. Undefeated as a pro Weeks has an extensive amateur career going 15-4. It’s hard to deny he’s been fighting terrible competition, but a lot of experience is nothing but a good thing. He was supposed to fight last season on the Contender Series against Josh Quinlan. However he tested positive for COVID-19 and had to pull out— but I was confident in him winning.

His record suggest he’s a good striker and so does taking a few boxing matches as well. With that said, Weeks is primarily wrestler, wrestling ever since a young age. And on his record you see TKO’s but that’s mainly coming from ground and pound. Weeks is still well-rounded being talented in every facet of the game, and has a good gas tank. All that could take him far in the UFC.

Weeks a lot of the time find success with wrestling when it’s his opponents initiating the takedown. Defensive wrestling and grappling is very efficient for Weeks. He is still good at working takedowns and getting opponents down off his own attempts. Weeks stays busy once on top with his ground and pound. The punches he lands to soften up his opponent to get an eventual dominant position. He is a submission threat but his grounded strikes are his best weapon.

On the feet sometimes Weeks throws single strikes. He comes with good placement and shot-selection to replace the volume. Weeks strikes from various angles and is capable in space and in the clinch. In clinches he’s good with knees and cage control. Weeks doesn’t even press the pace or really start fast but he still has a 100% finish rate. There is no glaring holes shown from Weeks. What’s going to be exposed is the intangibles. He’s looked flawless but against opposition with a combined 15-7-1 record.

It might be a few years from now but I believe Weeks will one day be a veteran of the UFC. That means he’s good enough to hang, but it’s hard to tell how far he will go. Of what he’s shown thus far he has an extremely high ceiling.

Striking: B
Kickboxing: C+
Clinch: A-
Wrestling: A
Grappling: A
Striking Defense: B+
Takedown Defense: A+
Cardio: A
Biggest Strength: Wrestling
Biggest Weakness: N/A

How he matched up with Barberena:

Barberena is on a 1-3 run and in his last four fights he’s beaten Anthony Ivy who is no longer in the UFC. His UFC wins are over Jake Ellenberger, Jor Proctor, Warlley Alves, Sage Northcutt, and Joe Ellenberger. All but Alves are no longer in the UFC. Not the best resume but Barberena is a gamer, and always competitive. Still, if Jason Witt can out-wrestler Barberena then Weeks shouldn’t have an issue. Weeks is the better athlete, more well-rounded, and has more ways to win. I’m taking Weeks but it is a big step up in competition.