The Prelim Breakout Star is a once per event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
There aren’t too many coaches out there right now as hot as Marc Montoya of Factory X Muay Thai. His team has two young prospects looking to put their third win on the board this weekend. One will be on the main card, so we’ll tackle the second.
Nickname – King Kage
Affiliation – Factory X
From – Bedford, Ohio
Height – 5’8″
Weight – 155 lbs (Lightweight)
Record – 10-1 (2-0 UFC)
What makes him impressive
With the amount of finishes he has (all 10 of his professional wins), one might say the most impressive part of Smith is his power. No doubt, his power is impressive, but the real story is where that power comes from. His movement in the cage is lightning quick and allows him to get to angles and distances that help him make the most of his punches. Of course, this is no surprise given his coach. As he continues up the ranks of the 155 lb division, he’ll see plenty of fighters who can match his strength, but his speed is truly what will set him apart.
Why he has been overlooked
There’s really no good reason why he would be overlooked at this point. Some point to an early career loss to John Gunther, but that’s long since past. Not only is he out here finishing people, but he also cut a brilliant post fight interview after a UFC 234 win over Dong Hyun Ma. Perhaps it is the level of competition he’s faced in that time that has kept the hype low. He’s sure to get a step up soon.
What makes this a good match-up
Khama Worthy steps in here as Smith’s third opponent for this fight. In addition to the clear disadvantage in preparation that he’ll have, Worthy is also going to be facing a significant strength gap. Not only is Smith a hyper-athletic lightweight, but Worthy has fought down at featherweight on occasion, even losing to UFC veteran Matt Bessette at that weight. In that fight Bessette, who isn’t particularly a big featherweight, was able to control him against the cage and on the ground. While Worthy has bulked up a bit since then, Smith should be able to control him in any position if the striking isn’t to his liking.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 180-74-1 (2 NC) (7 DNF)
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View the original article on MMA Manifesto: UFC 241 Prelim Breakout Star: Devonte Smith