UFC Greenville Underrated and Overlooked: Ige vs. Aguilar

This weekend, the UFC visits Greenville, and it is set to be headlined by a thrilling featherweight bout — as “The Korean Zombie” Chang Sung Jung takes on Renato “Moicano” Carneiro, in a fight that promises to be nothing short of spectacular. Both fighters are coming into this bout having lost in their previous outings, and both are top 15 talent, meaning this bout could have huge implications for the division.

However, as usual, there is the underrated and overlooked fight of the weekend. This week, it is Dan Ige (11-2) vs. Kevin Aguilar (17-1). It is a classic match up of styles make fights between the two DW Contender Series alumni. Both fighters are quite well rounded, as most fighters are these days, but both also have their particular specialties.

Ige has a UFC record of 4-1, including the Contender series, and has 2 finishes, a TKO and a submission. Throughout his career, Ige’s finishes have come mainly in the form of submissions, with five to his name. This gives him a submission finishing rate of 45 percent.

At 27 years old, Ige seems to be gradually hitting his stride. Ige has always been a tough, gritty fighter, with great all round skills, however, he is now putting it all together and adding finishes to his resume, all whilst reaching his athletic prime.

Aguilar on the other hand is a veteran of the sport, who has been talked about by the hardcore MMA fans for many years. Still only 30, he has been fighting for nine years, and is a Legacy promotional legend. Aguilar is currently 3-0 in the UFC, but his performances have seemed somewhat underwhelming.

Before joining the UFC, Aguilar had only had two decision wins to his name in 15 fights, with 10 KO’s or TKO’s on his resume, setting his knockout rate at 59 percent. Since joining the UFC, Aguilar has three decisions and no finishes. Could it be the step up in competition? Could he be weathered already? Or could it be nerves? Either way, he is not looking the killer he once was.

In career terms, Aguilar has the experience and killer instinct advantages, regardless of his recent decision wins. Aguilar is a volume striker, whereas Ige is a man who uses his striking more to get on the inside and look for a takedown. Aguilar, on the flip side, has fantastic take down defence, as evidenced by not nearly coming close to being submitted during his career. His lone loss was a TKO defeat to Leonard Garcia.

So, what we have here is a hugely intriguing contest. Both fighters are on the edge of breaking the top 15 in the UFC featherweight rankings, which is a stacked division, and both fighters will be looking to take their careers to the next level.

Questions have to be asked though: Will Ige withstand the volume of strikes that Aguilar will put on him? Will Ige be able to get Aguilar to the ground and nullify his best weapons? Will Aguilar be able to get back the killer instinct to finish Ige and make a statement? Or will Ige just be hitting that stride at the wrong time for Aguilar?

I personally believe that Aguilar will take this fight en route to a decision win once again. It is set to be a great fight though! Both fighters want and need this win to get higher up. I just think Aguilar has more experience, and just that little more IQ inside the cage than Ige.


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