Tim Kennedy is back! Oh wait, it's Andrew Todhunter. You'd be forgiven for getting them confused. A former army sniper with a background in military combatives, Todhunter doesn't just have a similar background to Tim Kennedy, but he's built like and fights a lot like him too. I'll get into all the details in a moment, however. First and foremost, an injury to Hector Urbina for his UFC 188 fight against Albert Tumenov has brought a new middleweight-come-welterweight into the Zuffa fold. It's one of the rare instances where an injury has probably made a one-sided fight that much more competitive. So...
Who is Andrew Todhunter?
The 26-year old freshly minted welterweight comes to the UFC fighting out of Clinch Martial Arts Academy in Oklahoma, from which he is the only notable fighter (and only fighter according to Sherdog). He'll be entering the the UFC with an unbeaten professional record of 7-0, along with a 7-0 amateur record. To be honest, there's not a lot of quality in those fights, let alone recognizable names. Probably the most notable part of Todhutner's career to date is that he made his way to Legacy FC, which tends to lead fighters to the UFC. Otherwise, he's finished every one of his opponents, which is a good sign when you're taking on guys who only win half the time at best. Outside of MMA, Todhunter was a standout Army hand-to-hand fighter and has taken a few boxing matches alongside his MMA career. Oh, and of course, he was ranked as the no. 8 MW prospect in the world by us, at Bloody Elbow.
What you should expect:
At 6' 0" and with his frame, Todhunter is going to be a massive welterweight (if that's where he decides to stay). That may serve him well, too, as a lot of his game is based on aggressive chain wrestling and positional dominance. He shoots well from the outside and does a great job stringining takedown attempts together, both in open space and against the fence. He also does a really good job working from dominant positions on the ground, using strikes to open up submission attempts. All of this isn't to say that he's purely a wrestle-grappler. Todhunter has been working on his boxing and it shows. He keeps his head off line when he throws, has a good jab, and seems to grasp the basics of combination punching. Some of his skills are still raw (and he's not a deeply talented striker), but all the tools are there for him to develop into a very good fighter. The only thing missing are wins against real competition.
What this means for his debut:
I think this is 10x the fight it was before Urbina got injured. Not to kick a man while he's down, but Todhunter is just a much more interesting prospect with more upside and room to develop. He's also got the kind of aggressive wrestle-grappling game that could really give Tumenov trouble... if he had more time to prepare and more experience under his belt. Since he doesn't, it's hard to see him winning. For his sake, I hope Todhunter looks competitive, stays in the fight and doesn't get shelled in a loss, but I'd be pretty surprised if he could make the cut to 170 on short notice and win this fight. Tumenov is a huge step up for Todhunter and will probably put immense pressure on him to wrestle effectively. If Todhunter can't get takedowns, I this could be a very ugly fight for him.
To get us better acquainted, here's Todhunter's recent bout against art Parker at Legacy 29: