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Welcome to the UFC: Pietro Menga and Julian Marquez

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The UK’s top flyweight and a middleweight barbarian are set to debut at UFC on FOX: Lawler vs. dos Anjos.

(Editor’s Note: This article was published after Menga’s removal from UFC on FOX 26 due to weight-cutting problems)

As the UFC prepares for it’s rare dark week, they leave us with a fun FOX card that will feature two new faces to the ever increasing roster. First up we have a British Flyweight who has been waiting patiently for his call up after destroying the best his island had to offer. Next is a DWTNCS stand out that has left a trail of destruction on his journey to the Octagon.

Who is Pietro Menga?

Undefeated Mancunian Flyweight Pietro Menga will step in on a week notice for an injured Justin Scoggins, who was forced to withdraw from this card last week. Menga was bulking up to try out for the forthcoming Featherweight season of TUF, but insists that he will have no problem making the 125-pound limit. The 29-year-old Brit has dominated the UK regional circuit capturing The UCC and FFC Flyweight titles en route to this short notice debut. He fights out of the MMA Academy in Liverpool under head coach, UFC veteran Jason Tan, and has also recently opened his own school in Salford called ONE MMA Academy. 13-0 with eleven finishes, Menga has been waiting on this call up for quite some time and will be more than ready to get to work against the best in the world.

What should you expect?

A lifelong martial artist, Menga began training Muay Thai as a child and soon after added BJJ and wrestling to his combat repertoire. The Southpaw striker is at his best when he is countering his opponent’s attacks, but will not hesitate to shoot a double leg if the chance presents itself. A BJJ purple belt with eight submissions to his credit, Menga is no stranger to the grappling world. His top control is domineering and he has an active guard that he will chain submission attempts from. Menga has beaten the best Britain has to offer, but the island nation is not known for producing the best wrestling talent. If Menga has holes in his wrestling game, they will be brought to light in the UFC.

What does this mean for his debut?

Menga has been thrown to the sharks in his debut, tasked with taking on #11 former title challenger Tim Elliott. Taking on Elliott for a debut is a difficult job for any debuting fighter, but doing it on a weeks’ notice is near impossible. Elliott is one of the most unorthodox, funky fighters on the UFC roster, and not having the fight camp to gameplan for his particular style is going to be a huge disadvantage. Menga is a well rounded prospect, but Elliott will have his way in this fight, his wrestling advantage will keep him in a superior position through out the fight and give him the edge on the cards. Elliott Unanimous Decision

Watch Menga showcase his full arsenal in this 2013 victory in FCC:

Who is Julian Marquez?

27-year old-Kansas City, Missouri native Julian “The Cuban Missile Crisis” Marquez has hulk smashed his way through the smaller promotions, capping off his journey with a highlight reel head kick knockout of Phil Hawes on Dana White’s Contender Series. Marquez began his combat sports career training under James Krause at his Glory MMA and Fitness Gym in Kansas City, but after spending a 2015 training camp with Jon Wood and crew, Marquez decided to move to Vegas and train at Syndicate full time. Currently on a four fight win streak which includes a first round stoppage over Matt Hamill, Marquez’s lone defeat came against Chris Harris in a Bellator brawl that had shades of Griffin/Bonnar, and could have gone either way.

What should you expect?

Marquez is a massive Middleweight and has bounced back and forth between 185 and 205. What he lacks in speed as a 85’er he makes up for with brute strength and an iron clad chin. A wrestler since childhood, his wrestling roots mainly serve him as an anti-grappling tool to keep his fights standing. Marquez specializes in breaking his foes, throwing consistent, heavy volume and maintaining a suffocating pace that doesn’t allow his opponent up for air until they tap. If he runs into trouble at middleweight it will be against crafty strikers like Machida, Uriah Hall,and Anderson Silva, who will be two steps ahead of the king-sized Kansas Citian. Marquez can do some damage at middleweight, but he can make rapid advancements if he enters the shallow pool of the light heavyweight division.

What does this mean for his debut?

Marquez was scheduled to face TUF: Brazil 3 finalist Vitor Miranda, but Miranda was forced to pull out last week and was replaced by Darren Stewart, who is looking to bounce back from a loss to Karl Roberson last month. Stewart may want to think twice about this opportunity, his path to victory over Marquez is a very narrow one. Stewart would be smart to get this to the ground and attempt to ride out a decision, but Maquez’s strength and takedown defense will keep him standing, where the knockout will materialize late first or early second. Marquez Knockout 2nd

Watch Marquez kick the consciousness right out of JacksonWink’s Phil Hawes: