Every day it feels like there's a few new faces making their way to the UFC. These are busy times for the world's largest MMA promotion, as they continue to stick to their plan of picking up every possible fighter they can get their hands on. Today brings news of three more singings, as the Visalia Times-Delta reports that Cain Carrizosa and Chris Wade have been signed as short notice call-ups for a UFC 177 bout. Moving to the big show with them will be Clay Collard, who gets his UFC debut on the back of an injury to Mirsad Bektic and will be facing Max Holloway at UFC Fight Night Tulsa. The UFC announced the bout on Twitter.
Who is Cain Carrizosa?
The 28-year old training out of Elite Team MMA under Doug Marshall and alongside Cody Gibson, also splits his time at Joe Soto's Central Valley Combat Academy. He'll be coming to the UFC with a 6-0 unbeaten record and a win at Tachi Palace Fights 18, earlier this year over Chris Quitiquit (of WAR MMA fame). Otherwise, he's got a solid win over Alpha Male prospect Daniel Romero on his record, and little else.
What you should expect:
Unfortunately, I can't find a lot of footage of Carrizosa's recent fights, so I can only extrapolate from his early career (2012 and back). What that footage shows is a grappling focused fighter, who works into the clinch behind an aggressive striking game. Carrizosa tends to throw big looping punches and hard kicks, with little set up, in order to get inside for trip and drag takedowns. He'll even pull guard in pursuit of his aggressive chain grappling game. That's been the real heart of Carrizosa's game in the past. Carrizosa shows good pursuit in stringing together his grappling attacks, and while he is willing to give up position to get them, he seems very capable of maintaining strong positions when he finds them. All told, it's hard to know how much his striking and wrestling have advanced to compliment it, but I'd expect Carrizosa to look to scramble on the ground in his debut.
Who is Chris Wade?
Ring of Combat's lightweight champion, Chris Wade comes to the UFC with a 7-1 record, fighting principally out of Long Island MMA, as one of the team's wrestling coaches. Prior to MMA he wrestled at the DIII level and achieved All-American status. The 26 year old trains alongside Dennis Bermudez and Ryan Laflare. He holds a win over quality prospect Frankie Perez, with his only loss coming to another decent rising fighter in Ozzy Dugulubgov. Otherwise, his record holds little of note in terms of quality opposition. Apart from wrestling, Wade also has some kickboxing experience, training out of Studio 42 kickboxing.
What you should expect:
Wade is a competently technical kickboxer at range, but he doesn't appear to be a particularly comfortable one. He doesn't sit down on his punches well or work in combination, mostly throwing tentative one-off strikes. This has (especially in the Dugulubgov fight) allowed some of his opponents to counter him hard on the outside. Unfortunately, Wade doesn't appear much more powerful in his wrestling game. He drives into the clinch decently behind strikes, but tends to get stuck in positional battles against the cage. Often his double leg seems more reactive off getting hit and not always well timed against his opponents aggression. He does change direction nicely when in on his opponents legs, however, making him a bit more adept at completing the takedown when he does get in on the hips. Once on the ground, Wade does a decent job to hold position, but isn't particularly active on top.
What this means for their debut:
A lot of this fight will hinge on whether or not Carrizosa's wrestling and striking have made significant advances in the last couple years. He has been a pretty one dimensional fighter, and that dimension (submission artist) usually translates the least at the higher levels of the sport. Wade is a very competent grappler himself, with a lot of no-gi competition experience and a decent, if not exceptional positional wrestler. The fact that he's not very aggressive in his striking or finishing ability takes away a lot of his technical advantages however, so this will really be a battle to see if Carrizosa's grappling and aggression can overcome Wade's more technical patient game. At this point, I'd be more willing to bet on the aggressive fighter and go with Carrizosa.
To get us better acquainted here's one of Wade's recent bouts, against Pat DeFranco (fight starts at 03:20:00):
Who is Clay Collard?
"Cassius" Clay Collard (gotta love that optimism) is a 21-year old fighter out of The Pit Elevated in Utah. He trains alongside Court McGee, Josh Burkman, and Ramsey Nijem. He'll make his way to the UFC with a 13-4 record with one no-contest. He's been fighting since 2011, which means he's competed 18 times in the last four years. In that time he's collected wins over prospects Nicholas Compton, Jason Brenton, and Scott Casey as well as UFC vet Justin Buchholz and regional mainstay Steve Sharp. All told, Collard's resume, even with four losses, is incredibly deep for a young fighter. It should be noted, that Collard's no contest was the result of a failed drug test, although I was unable to find the nature of the substance that caused his failure.
What you should expect:
I wasn't able to find much tape on Collard, but what I have seen suggests he's really most comfortable striking in the clinch. He likes to march his opponents down and drive them against the cage, where he can work dirty boxing and clinch knees in the pocket. His strikes are surprisingly accurate, with a knack for finding his opponents chin, giving him a bit more pop in his hands than he might otherwise have. He scrambles well from the bottom and, in a lot of ways reminds me of the early, less technically refined Matt Brown.
What this means for his debut:
Much like early Matt Brown, I wouldn't be surprised if Collard doesn't always find success in the developing stages of his UFC career. He has all the aggression he needs to mold himself into a decent fighter down the line, but a lot of the defense and well rounded skill set is still missing. He's a fun, action fighter right now, but the kind of guy that Holloway should be able to get by.