Hello and welcome to this week’s instalment of Something Old, Something New where we get you up to scratch concerning those making their UFC debuts this week and reintroduce you to those coming back from long spells on the sidelines. This week we look at UFC Fight Night 101 which takes place this Sunday in Melbourne, Australia. With a main event of Robert Whittaker vs. Derek Brunson in the Middleweight division after the withdrawal of Luke Rockhold, it could be up to the local fighters to provide the entertainment.
First we look at the fighters that this week make their first walk to the Octagon and will look to shine and make headlines on their UFC debuts.
Alex “The Hulk” Volkanovski (13-1) – Lightweight
Fighting out of New South Wales, Australia; Lightweight Alex Volkanovski finally makes his UFC debut after having two fights previously scrapped on a previous Australian card and then on the recently cancelled event in Manilla.
The hard hitting ex-rugby league player has built quite a reputation around the regional scene, capturing the PXC Featherweight title and building a ten fight win streak in the process. He has also finished eight of his thirteen victories by KO and has fought between Featherweight and Lightweight throughout his career.
“The Hulk” will be welcomed to the octagon at UFC Fight Night 101 by Yusuke Kasuya (9-2-2) in a Lightweight bout where both fighters will be keen to leave an impression and look to move into deeper waters in the talent filled division.
Tyson Pedro (4-0) – Light-Heavyweight
Sydney-based Light-Heavyweight prospect Tyson Pedro arrives in the UFC in the talent-starved Light-Heavyweight division where the relatively inexperienced fighter will take on the power punching of Khalil Rountree.
Son of Australian MMA legend John Pedro, the 23-year-old has always been around MMA his whole life and started Japanese Jiujitsu at the age of four. From there he developed and branched into the other areas as he grew up.
Mentored by retired UFC fighter James Te Huna and his father, Pedro has finished all four of his fights in the first round and will look to add another finish to his record this weekend.
Jenel “The Demolition Man” Lausa (6-2) – Flyweight
Filipino fighter Jenel Lausa was slated to make his debut in his home country at UFC Manilla but after the event was cancelled, his fight with Yao Zhikui (2-3) was rearranged for UFC Fight Night 101 in Melbourne, Australia.
The 28-year-old holds a 7-0 professional boxing record at Super-Bantamweight and is 6-2 so far in his MMA career. With four finishes in his six victories, Lausa will look to add another in his first fight outside of The Philippines.
Currently riding a four fight win streak, the PXC Flyweight Champion will hope for a good performance in his debut to grab the attention of the matchmakers on arrival to the UFC Flyweight division.
Now to look at those making a return to the UFC this week and to remind ourselves what got them here in the first place and how their UFC run is going so far. Most will have a point to prove as they look to make a first impression all over again this weekend.
Yusuke Kasuya (9-2-2) – Lightweight
After a disappointing defeat on his debut to Nick Hein at UFC Fight Night 75, Yusuke Kasuya returns to the octagon 14 months later to try and get the first UFC win of his career against Alex Volkanovski.
Making his MMA debut at age 20, Kasuya went undefeated for his first seven fights and won the Shooto 2011 Rookie Tournament whilst doing so. After building a reputation for his power, his submission skills came soon after and now the Japanese Lightweight is dangerous in both aspects.
Originally slated to fight Damir Hadzovic at both UFC 203 and UFC Manilla, the fight was twice cancelled and Kasuya finally will step back into the Octagon in Melbourne.
Ning “Smasher” Guangyou (5-3-1) – Bantamweight
The winner of The Ultimate Fighter: China, Ning Guangyou has had mixed fortunes in and out of the Octagon during his time with the UFC.
After winning TUF: China Finale, the Chinese fighter would stack another win up against Royston Wee in May 2015 and then would move down a class to Bantamweight where Marco Beltran handed him his first UFC defeat at UFC Fight Night 79.
Despite his fight with Marlon Vera being scheduled since August, visa issues and a positive drugs test where traces of Clenbuterol were found in “Smasher’s” system had delayed the fight from happening.
After being found all clear on account of “tainted meat” from China being accepted as the source of the Clenbuterol, Ning will now look to continue his attempt at making his mark at Bantamweight.
Yao “The Conqueror” Zhikui (2-3) – Flyweight
Also a contestant on TUF: China, Zhikui was eliminated in the semi-final of the tournament however was still offered a contract by the UFC and is 1-2 in his UFC career so far.
Trained by former UFC Lightweight Zhang Tiequan, “The Conqueror” has mainly fought within China and, after suffering a horrific arm injury against Freddy Serrano when defending a takedown at UFC Fight Night 79, will look to return to winning ways in the Flyweight division.
Facing promotional newcomer Jenel Lausa, the Chinese Flyweight must get a victory if he is to have a future in the UFC.