The Severe Spotlight: Drakkar Klose

UFC Vegas 51 was an odd card. Two weeks ago, the illustrious MMA Gods blessed us with UFC 273. Any encounter with the deities of MMA often involved some repercussions for nice things. UFC Vegas 52 had some of those repercussions. On paper the card had fights without obvious jeopardy or value to the overall landscape of their divisions. Of course, this is not to bring into question the importance of a fight to the fighters themselves, but for fan engagement at a card level its useful to build a card that means something.

The card was topped by Belal Muhammad beating Vicente Luque over five rounds. The rematch told us a lot about Muhammad’s progression and has lined him up well for a big fight in his next outing. The co-main event ended in a technical decision, the second of the night. Andre Fialho finished Miguel Baeza in a firefight, Mayra Bueno Silva picked up a good win over Wu Yanan. Pat Sabatini won a tough grappling battle over Canadian T.J Laramie. Finally the main card opener Mounir Lazzez turned away Sandford MMA’s Ange Loosa.

The undercard started well; Heili Alateng dominated Kevin Croom to stop him inside a minute. Sam Hughes made fine adjustments to battle back from a round down to take a decision win over Istela Nunes. A poor fight between Jordan Leavitt and Trey Ogden set us up for Chris Barnett to drop a technical decision to what at the time looked to be an illegal elbow to the back of the head, thrown by Martin Buday. Barnett rendered unable to continue, the fight went to the judges’ scorecards, and Buday declared the winner.

Rafa Garcia had a workman like performance against Jesse Ronson. Drakkar Klose ensured that no ringside official needed to check any rulebook. His infighting was the star of the show as he bulldozed through Brandon Jenkins in a round and change.

This article will take a look at some of the highlights of that performance.

Inside the first minute of round one, he did lots of what the shorter fighter, standing in an orthodox stance, fighting a longer fighter standing in southpaw needs to do. He pushed Jenkins back, he pawed at the jab hand, he landed inside and outside low kicks to frustrate the rhythm and stepping of Jenkins. Looked for his own straight shots and landed a beautiful cross body kick.

Jenkins began to circle out, and Klose found himself in a range in which Jenkins had space behind him to move into, and that is suboptimal. He used his footwork to pressure him back behind the boundary line and ducked into a shot. If you are fighting a taller man, usually the reach is also longer. Klose as a normal shot, set his penetration step for the middle of legs of Jenkins, but his forehead landed at the right armpit of Jenkins, he pivots off having secured a tight waist grip, and gains back bodylock exposure. Totally negating long frames digging for whizzers or underhooks. From here the dump finish was standard, loaded Jenkins onto his hips, and stepped his hips out, to drop his man to the mat. That’s intelligent fighting.

Klose’s aim was to keep a hip grip and begin to unload his ground and pound shots to a turtled Jenkins. Jenkins’ built back to his feet and pummelled for the inside space well. His efforts were punished; as Klose pulled his weight back, taking his base over the line of his hips, and kicked his left leg out. Klose expected to be able to pin his man in a traditional side control, however Jenkins scrambled well back to his feet.

Which meant we got to see some more of the Klose clinch game, opting primarily for a collar tie and tricep grip he offered knees up the middle, and elbows. All of this is negating the range of Jenkins, the adage of a man is not tall lying down applies to the grappling, and of course if you are tied up in a tight clinch, your length is negated from its maximum potential also.

The proceeding clinch exchange is where the damage began to accumulate with around 3 minutes left in the fight. Klose takes a long collar tie, beginning his barrage with a knee and following that with ten unanswered shots, a mixture of uppercuts and digging hooks. Jenkins falls back to the cage, and Klose searches again for the collar tie. The collar tie is useful here for a few reasons:

  1. It anchors you to your opponent, allowing you to load off your feet and draw them in with the pull grip as well as yourself.
  2. You know exactly the range your opponent is in, there’s a cage wall behind them and can only be some measurement of length of your own arm away.

Klose batters Jenkins. A myriad of knees, elbows, and straight shots. In the ensuing chaos, Jenkins manages to hand fight well enough to force the retreat from Klose. For the next thirty seconds toa minute, Jenkins is able to establish something of a range, and lands some nice low kicks. It seems as though Klose was using this time to catch his breath, readying for the next barrage.

Its not long before he leaps into another clinch/uppercut and drops his man off the break with a right hook. Jenkins showing his toughness, manages to build back up again, not without taking a heart helping of shots for his efforts. Jenkins even has the wherewithal to wink at Herb Dean, likely to deter him from stopping the fight – which I don’t think many would have had much of a problem with.

The second round begins, and the finish doesn’t take long. The sequence begins with Klose throwing a long right uppercut, ducking his level as if to fake a takedown, hoping to bring down the hands and chin of Jenkins. There was not enough time for Jenkins to give the appropriate reaction, as the uppercut thundered into his jaw, Klose following it with more clinch strikes. Jenkins again fell away to the cage, Dean keeping a close eye. A right hook, a short-left hand and a final thunderous right hand finally drops Jenkins. Herb Dean had seen enough and steps in.

Who do you want to see Klose fight next?