The lightweight division. The UFC lightweight division is often thought of as the premium weight class in all of combat and it’s clear why; the division is host to so much talent: Oliviera, Poirier, Gaethje, Makachev Fiziev, Tsarukyan and many more. But one that has recently burst into contention was the polish native Mateusz Gamrot after his breakout win against Tsarukyan.
Gamrot is one of the first people that pops into my head when thinking of the new modern Mixed Martial Artist, he truly does it all. He holds a BJJ black belt, is a former Polish national wrestler and if you doubt his striking just quickly watch his catalogue of UFC fights. Not to mention he is also a former double champ at KSW.
Gamrot is able to blend his power shoots into his wrestling and his wrestling into his grappling and when you consider how elite he is at each of these aspects it becomes a no brainer that after only 2 years at the company he finds himself in a potential number one contender fight.
Gamrot made his UFC debut on October 17 2020, on the Zombie vs Ortega undercard, against the powerful, super talented Kutateladze. The fighters put on a show and even at one point we saw Gamrot dropped but despite this it seemed clear Gamrot deserved the decision. However like we see often in mma the decision went the wrong way however something rare happened and Kutateladze refused to accept the victory declaring he lost.
Despite the controversy this debut illustrated Gamrot’s diverse skill set especially how he can hold his own in the striking department against elite strikers.
After this controversy we saw Gamrot go on a 3 fight finishing streak with the final being a peculiar submission due to grounded knee to the body which broke Diego Ferreira’s ribs. After this dominance the UFC gave Gamrot a step up and his first main event against highly regarded contender Arman Tsarukyan, who at the time was best known for the grappling skills he demonstrated in his matchup against Islam Makachev.
Gamrot came into the fight as a +200 underdog but he proved the bookies wrong. Both fighters demonstrated early their Elite striking and we saw Gamrot have to demonstrate his scrambles and grappling early against Tsarukyan’s early takedown attempts. Towards the end we saw Gamrot demonstrate his own wrestling talent as he grounded Tsarukyan out to clinch the decision.
After the fight it seemed like neither fighter lost and to fans both fighter’s stock had grown. However what was key to me was how strong Gamrot’s wrestling was against such an elite wrestler who even managed to nullify a large amount of Makachev’s attempts. Although MMA maths is not something we should use it is amazing to see how Makachev and Gamrot’s takedowns compare in their matchups against Tsarukyan.
After that performance we now await for Gamrot to face Beneil Dariush for a potential title shot Or an opportunity for a number one contender match up and UFC 280 seems like the perfect stage for Mateusz to announce himself as THE diamond amongst a division of them. We shall find out if he takes this opportunity on the 22nd of October in Abu Dhabi on the most anticipated card of the year.
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