Whenever a fighter gets injured and opportunity is created. In a way, I've come, not to be excited for injuries (that would be macabre), but certainly not to dread them as heavily as one might. Such is the case now as rising talent Kyoji Horiguchi has been injured, and will be replaced by former Ultimate Fighter 18 opening round contestant and WEC fighter Danny Martinez. Horiguchi was poised to make his flyweight debut (after a KO of Dustin Pague at bantamweight), Martinez will step in on short notice as his replacement.
The 29 year old Martinez is an Alliance MMA fighter training alongside Jeremy Stephens and Ross Pearson (and occasionally Dominick Cruz when he's not in physical therapy). Over his past seven years as a pro he's racked up a respectable 18-4 record with 8 wins by KO/TKO. While he has a couple losses to his name they are almost entirely to high caliber opponents. His only recent defeats are to Joseph Benavidez by decision (his single WEC fight) and a decision loss to Jussier da Silva in the midst of his Tachi Palace run. Hardly something to devalue a fighter. Martinez is currently on a four fight streak, but did not compete in 2013. No doubt, in part, due to his spot on the Ultimate Fighter.
Watching Martinez fight he's a bit of a throw back in that he's a very traditional wrestle boxer. On his feet he's a head down brawler who tries to force opponents to open up with big hooks and overhand rights. Once his opponent starts to return fire he shoots in for a power double. He's a bit of a top control monster on the ground, adept at getting an opponent on their back and holding them there, shifting his own weight to maintain a strong top control. Unfortunately he's not much of a submission grappler, and his position heavy approach doesn't mean his ground and pound is inactive, but it's not as effective as it could be. He has shown some willingness to stand over opponents and strike, so if he could develop that further he might have a more dangerous top game.
Chris Cariaso for all his skills is very prone to getting caught underneath strong wrestlers and grapplers, so it should be interesting to see if he can avoid Martinez's takedowns. Martinez is also very big on slamming opponents, something I'm not sure he'll be able to do at the UFC level. And interestingly, he's spent several of his recent fights in shoes, which is something of a strange throwback and suggests he has no kicking game to speak of.
Martinez will take on Cariaso at UFC 169 on February 1st in Newark, NJ. To get us better acquainted, here's a recent fight of his against Rich Bonafidini. Martinez is in black:
- UFC 172: Glover Teixeira agrees Jon Jones beat Gustafsson, wants 1st round KO
- UFC on Fox 10: Road to the Octagon
- Ronda Rousey: Women's MMA is no longer an experiment in the UFC
- Technique Recap: UFC Fight Night Atlanta pt. 2, feat. Dillashaw, Romero, Smolka, Rockhold
- Boxing Pascal vs Bute results: Jean Pascal survives dramatic late rally to take UD win over Lucien Bute