UFC 271 hits Houston, Texas this Saturday for what is unquestionably a big event. In the main event is a rematch between middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and former champ Robert Whittaker. Houston’s own Derrick Lewis fights fan-favorite Tai Tuivasa in the night’s co-feature. To open up the card, the first fight will see a teammate of Israel Adesanya make his debut. Mike “Blood Diamond” Mathetha in his UFC debut will fight Jeremiah Wells (9-2-1, 1-0 UFC).
Mike “Blood Diamond” Mathetha
Standing at 5’11″
Fighting at 170 lbs (welterweight)
Auckland, New Zealand
Training out of City Kickboxing
A pro record of 3-0
1 Submission, 1 KO/TKO
How Diamond will fare in the UFC:
I don’t care that this is a training partner of Adesanya, there is no way he should be signed to the UFC with three MMA fights. It hardly ever works out for both parties when it comes to signing young pros. They tried it with another City Kickboxing guy in Carlos Ulberg who only had three pro fights. He lost in his UFC debut when it was basically a set-up fight for him. Diamond does have an extensive kickboxing career but still, it’s a slap in the face to other guys that have way more experience and can’t get into the UFC.
Diamond is a very talented fighter no doubt. Even being a kickboxing-based fighter he holds a submission victory. I wouldn’t be confident in his ground game anytime soon though. On the feet, Diamond does a great job spot fighting, attacking the legs, body, and head. With his dynamic style you will see him throw short combinations changing it up, never attacking the same spot in a combo. He throws a sneaky good head kick and it can come from anywhere. The problem is that it’s thrown without much power, but rather just to touch opponents. Diamond has sharp hands fighting long with the one-two and using feints to set up his kicks.
Diamond is explosive and athletic. He throws a lot of spinning attacking showing his diverse skillset. Diamond does throw a lot of wasted motion though. His spinning kicks you can see coming from far away, and they’re not as fast as you expect them to be. When he throws those kicks it seems like it takes forever for him to get his legs back under him. Diamond fights with his hands low and in his last fight he got hit a lot because of it. A lot of kickboxers fight with their hands down but Diamond isn’t as light on his feet as others.
Diamond is talented but fights very much like a fighter with only three MMA bouts. It’s going to be hard for Diamond to get going in the UFC. With that said, with the right paring Diamond could grow while in the promotion.
How he matches up with Wells:
Wells is all about explosiveness and power and will close the distance on Diamond. Diamond isn’t hard to hit and Wells isn’t the guy he wants connecting. Wells has strong wrestling and I don’t think he will have a problem taking Diamond down. Diamond will need to use his length to keep Wells at bay. Wells is always forward motion and will most likely give Diamond fits on his back foot. The path to victory for Diamond is to knock out Wells and that’s hard to see happening. Wells has a few paths to victory like using his wrestling/grappling and could even finish Diamond on the feet. I like Wells in this fight due to having more experience and more ways to win.