Add another Hawaiian to the UFC's ever growing ranks with the signing of 808 Top Team member Louis Smolka. Training alongside recent UFC pickup Russell Doane, Smolka has a surprisingly strong resume for a 22 year old with a 6-0 record (that record may be 6-1 depending upon whether an early bout of his was actually amateur or not). Smolka won the PXC flyweight title last November when he defeated Ale Cali by TKO in the second round. Add in a victory over Jessie Rafols and Smolka has already faced some decent competition in his young career. Now, the UFC has announced via Twitter that Smolka will be facing Alptekin Ozkilic at the UFC's January 15th Fight Night Card in Duluth, Georgia.
Watching Smolka fight, the first thing that strikes me is how big he is. Standing 5' 9" at 125 lbs, he has very little of the drawn out, skeletal appearance of Marcos Vinicius (the other 5' 9" fighter to appear in the UFC's flyweight division). Smolka just looks massive in the cage. As he is only 22, that makes me wonder if Flyweight can be a long term home for him, or if he's eventually bound for Bantamweight, but only time will tell. Other than size, Smolka has a few other tools worth mentioning. He's a great clinch fighter, particularly with knees from the plum, but interestingly, for a man with his reach advantage he doesn't appear particularly adept fighting at range. He throws kicks well to maintain distance, but is more likely to try and punch his way into the clinch, or shoot from the outside than pick at his opposition with straight punches. His wrestling isn't bad and he transitions well to submissions, at times to a fault, as he's more than willing to give up top control (and even mount) to go for a guillotine. Ozkilic will represent a very difficult test here as Smolka is probably the better grappler, but the lesser wrestler, and both men need to work on their striking.
To get us better acquainted, here's Smolka's most recent fight against Ale Cali at PXC 41: