Meticulous fans may remember Nate Loughran from his previous two fight UFC stint back in 2008. At the time, Loughran went 1-1 for Zuffa defeating Johnny Reese and picking up his first career loss to Tim Credeur, via rib injury. After the loss and, in part, because of the injury, The Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance welterweight and former Dave Terrell student took a three year hiatus from mma. Loughran returned to action, early last year picking up a win over longtime regional vet Jaime Jara. Now 33 and on a two fight win streak, Combate reports that he's made his way back to the UFC where he'll face off against Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 36 in Jaragua dol Sul, Brazil.
Watching him fight, he's very much a clinch grappler first. He uses his 6' 2" frame well, to pressure opponents and lean on them. At one point he had a pretty decent submission run. It was over fairly low end competition however, so it's tough to know how that translates. Despite his height, he's only a passable range striker at best. He does appear to have developed a nice inside-out boxing game, in which he works body combinations followed by head strikes once in the clinch, then creates space and drives back inside. His takedown game is mostly predicated on body locks and trips. I'd say this is more down to his lankiness than anything as it's more difficult to drop your hips when you're that tall. I've often scoffed at the idea that the UFC is "feeding" Brazilians weak opponents in Brazil, however this fight certainly lends some credence to the idea. I would consider it pretty shocking if Loughran is able to compete with Erick Silva on any level.
In the same vein of surprising pickups, the UFC has also signed Danny Mitchell. The 27 year old Mitchell is an AVT Fight Team product training alongside featherweight prospect Jay Furness. Like Loughran, he's a big, rangy welterweight, standing 6' 2" and has a healthy mix of submission and KO/TKO victories sprinkled across his 14-4-1 pro record. While he does have some decent fights to his career (a draw with Cathal Pendred, wins over Dean Amasinger and Nicholas Musoke, and most recently a victory over recent UFC release Besam Yousef) he also has a couple of bad losses. A 1st round submission to Gunnar Nelson isn't too bad, but a 1st round TKO to Kendall Grove in June of this year (in a middleweight bout for which Grove failed to make weight) takes quite a bit of the shine off his record. He's bounced back with two straight wins, but that's still a bad blemish. MMAFighting reports that Mitchell is scheduled to face Igor Araujo at UFC Fight Night 37 in London, England.
Watching him fight, Mitchell is a pawing fighter at range. He has some power in his kicks, but most of his strikes are feints, or halfhearted attempts to create opportunities to get into the clinch rather than to do damage. In the clinch he's got a decent Thai-style knee and elbow game, it's not varied, but it's powerful. Mitchell will shoot on opponents both from the clinch and from outside, but his wrestling is pretty poor. As a substitute he's willing to go for flying submissions and grabbed a pretty slick flying triangle against Dean Amasinger. Despite not being much of a hot commodity, Mitchell does matchup pretty well with Igor Araujo. They have very similar skill sets and it should make for a pretty even fight.
To get us better acquainted here's a look at Mitchell's recent fight over the totally overwhelmed Victor Peixoto:
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