Well, it's finally happened, the British highlands have their first representative in the UFC, and it comes in the form of Scottish featherweight Robert Whiteford. Whiteford steps in as a short notice replacement for Mike Wilkinson who was pulled from the UFC Fight Night 30 card last week due to injury. Whiteford will be making his debut against Jimy Hettes on the event's Facebook undercard.
When it comes to raw numbers Whiteford is a decent but not great prospect. At 5' 10" he's got good size for featherweight, and having seen him fight, he's certainly got a powerful physique as well. He won't find himself out-muscled in the UFC. His record is a decent 10-1 with six TKOs and 4 decisions. He hasn't lost since his debut (a doctor stoppage) and while much of his record is fluff he has a few decent name wins including a first round knockout of recent CWFC featherweight title contender Martin Svensson and decisions over journeymen Paul Reed and Antanas Jazbutis. He is coming into the UFC at age 30, but only has four years of cage time, so he should have some room to develop.
His training is primarily out of the Dinky Ninjas fight team, responsible for producing Invicta's Joanne Calderwood, but I wouldn't compare them too heavily as Whiteford appears to be primarily a brawler. He has a lot of confidence in his hands and his chin and will often back up hands down, chin up inviting opponents to trade strikes with him. He certainly packs a lot of power, but he can't strike like that in the UFC and expect to be effective. Like Hettes, he has a background in Judo and actually appears to have a pretty decent power double leg and a willingness to grind opponents against the cage. At the moment he reminds me a bit of Sam Sicilia. Against Hettes I expect he'll have a chance to make something happen early, but if he can't I think he'll find himself on his back fighting off submissions.
Here's a look at one of his recent fights to get an idea of what he'll be bringing to the cage:
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