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UFC 138: Terry Etim vs. Edward Faaloloto Dissection

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After a year and half absence due to a broken rib, UK lightweight Terry Etim returns to the Octagon at UFC 138: Leben vs. Munoz against Edward Faaloloto, a Hawaiian product under Chris Leben.

At only age twenty-six, Etim stands as a legit up-and-comer and has unfurled a promising range of skill in his Octagon performances. After wrenching a guillotine on Matt Grice in his "Submission of the Night" debut at UFC 70, Etim suffered consecutive decision losses to veteran Rich Clementi and ATT's Gleison Tibau.

He rebounded with four electric victories starting with the venerable Sam Stout (decision), followed by Brian Cobb (head kick KO), Justin Buchholz and Shannon Gugerty (both via submission). This set up a confrontation with BJJ black belt Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 112 where Etim succumbed to a second round armbar after he took the lead in the opening frame.

While preparing for a match with Joe Lauzon at UFC 118, Etim suffered an injury to his rib that has sidelined him ever since.

After enduring many hardships in his personal life, Edward Faaloloto began his career as a welterweight in Hawaii's X-1 promotion with two wins (one decision and one submission). He immediately graduated to the WEC to face Anthony Njokuani, where the fierce striker finished him in the second round with a vicious elbow.

Faaloloto's next foray was after the WEC-UFC merger, greeting reality show finalist Michael Johnson back to competition after losing to Jonathan Brookins at the TUF 12 Finale. Johnson's striking and pace was furiously aggressive and he caught Faaloloto with a combination for a first round TKO.

Gifs and analysis in the full entry.



With a body type that seems to be experiencing a surge in relevance at the top level, Etim's monumental wingspan for a lightweight (73" reach) and wiry frame accent his sharp Muay Thai striking well.

Though he lands with the foot instead of the shin, check out the considerable distance between him and the unfortunate Brian Cobb in the crushing head-kick KO to the right.

Known mostly for his submission prowess, Etim is equally dangerous standing, often relying on a long, stiff one-two and penetrating kicks.

The only aspect he doesn't shine in is wrestling, but he's still adept in that department and opponent's takedowns only open the door for his threatening submission acumen.


Most of his clinch tactics are offensive, spread between his wide range of Thai-flavored striking and snaking his spidery limbs for submission attempts.

The latter is generally targeted at head and neck attacks like Brabo, D'arce and guillotine style chokes from his Luta Livre submission wrestling background.

In these two animations versus Justin Buchholz, Etim implements his dual pronged clinch warfare. With a strong right underhook, Etim pushes Buchholz against the fence and slices upward with a left knee to the head.


Despite the knee connecting with his chin, Buchholz is savvy to snare it up on the way down and pursue an attempt at an outside trip by sweeping Etim's right leg.

Showing incredible balance, Etim extends his right underhook to encircle the neck and snaps down to force Buchholz to relent on the takedown and concentrate on fending off the choke.

Etim cups the head with his left hand and slithers his right arm through, still with the underhook, to do the same with both hands. After pulling Buchholz closer to trap the head, he frees his left arm and locks his right hand on his left bicep to complete the Brabo.


Not only is it a slick submission, but it shows an astute transition from striking to submission.

Etim capitalizes on his hand position and arm placement in the clinch and adapts the setting right into another semblance of threatening offense.

It's a fitting example of how his formidable stand up has flowed naturally into a submission-oriented attack.

We haven't seen much of Edward Faaloloto so it's tough to assess his true characteristics or potential.


I give him a lot of leeway for being relatively inexperienced. Like Etim, he's a younger fighter facing a trial by fire at the elite level that will eventually pay dividends.

You can't really knock the guy for losing by TKO to Michael Johnson and Anthony Njokuani in only his third and fourth pro fights.

After a rough upbringing and mentality that changed for the better after taking up some obscure Hawaiian martial arts and joining the Navy, Faaloloto is a baby in MMA terms and still has plenty of time to polish his skills.

While that bodes well for the future, I think Terry Etim is too much in the present. The UK firecracker's length, smooth sub game and devastating stand up should propel him to snaring something crafty in a clinch engagement.

My Prediction: Terry Etim by submission

Edward Faaloloto gifs via Zombie Prophet of

Terry Etim vs. Brian Cobb gif via

All others via Sherdog Forums