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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Violence-Weight #1 Contender of 2022: Drew Dober

Drew Dober, UFC Hall of Fame inauguration in 2022 Photo credit: Alex Behunin/Cageside Press

Drew Dober enters 2022 on a rock bottom.

The Sky Fight star is on a two-game losing streak after facing top-15 ranked Brad Riddle and future lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. Riddell’s fight in particular was another big hit for Dober as it earned him his second “Fight of the Night” bonus and his third consecutive performance bonus. But Drew didn’t give up on his goal, and he stormed into 2022 with a vengeance, three great fights, three great victories, and a return to the UFC lightweight top 15 (and a World No. 1) contender for position in the top 15 unofficial violence weight).

In the first quarter of this year, Dober was paired with up-and-coming star Terrance McKinney. McKinney had the second-fastest knockout in lightweight history in his debut, as did Matt Frevola’s hard knockout. In his sophomore effort, he once again earned a first-round grade, this time by submission. McKinney’s illusory explosiveness and clumsy hitting style were also a problem for Dober; in the first ten seconds of the fight, Terrance would end up hurting and knocking Dober down with a knee to his chin.

Dober never went down in his entire 20-fight UFC career. He got clean hits from the likes of Beneil Dariush, Alex Hernandez and Brad Riddell, but had never hit the pads before. But in March 2022, he did so for the first time. Many would view this as a negative. This is certainly not how fighters want to start a fight. But when it comes to violent weight rankings, there’s nothing like getting hurt, fighting against adversity, and winning an all-out war.

Dober’s infamous “Crimson Jaw” allowed him to survive the best McKinney had to offer and keep going, even though he was injured and hit the ground again, the fight was only 26 seconds into the fight, 16 seconds after the first knockdown . McKinney began to refuel quickly, but still knocked down his opponent at one point. When Drew gets back on his feet, though, he won’t be denied. With a swollen face and bruises, Drew Dober picked up the pace and made the most of his Highlander fight team practice as he further fatigued the young prospect.

Just half a round after being dropped twice, Drew threw Terrance over the fence, forcing him to wilt and knock him out with a knee to the head for a TKO victory . In a year filled with great come-from-behind victories, Dober vs. McKinney stood out as the best single-round MMA fight of the year. Oddly, the fight didn’t get “Fight of the Night” or even “Show of the Night” credits, but in the eyes of fans, it was the most important thing to happen on the fight card and caused both fighters’ stocks to skyrocket.

Four months later, the cut put Dober on par with big hitter and submission ace Rafael Alves. His fights will once again steal the show, though he was placed in the heats of a big PPV card with two title fights. Drew effectively pressured Alves from the start; he pushed Alves using clever footwork hidden behind a combo until his back hit the fence. Still, he struggled to hit the powerful shots he wanted because initially, he aimed only at the Brazilian’s head, looking for his key shots. Alves was able to use his lightning reflexes to dodge most of his shots, or at least let the ball land only in passing.

Just like in the McKinney fight, he enters the cage with an explosive fighter inside who has a tendency to deflate. Dober and his Team Elevation cornermen recognized this fact, so after the first round they used speed, pressure, and especially body shots to weaken their opponents. Dober’s lefty stance makes targeting the body an easier proposition against orthodox fighters, Rafael Alves being one of them. Drew took full advantage of this fact in the second and third rounds, so he largely dictated the flow of the fight after the first round of adventure.

Being in the wrong position all the time limited Alves’ attack and forced him to participate in scenarios that were not good for him. He simply couldn’t handle the pace and pressure that was constantly being thrown at him. With his limited but explosive hitting game, he hits back regularly with little restraint. This led to some really heated exchanges among the fans, with the crowd noise buzzing with a constant “ohhh”, but the more Alves fired back, the more out of breath he became.

Even when Alves landed — and he did throw some breathtakingly powerful and clean punches, including one of the craziest four-punch combos you’ll ever see — Dober not only survived, but he was like a gust of wind Wiped those hits off as well.

Again, the most important thing is the body impact. When Drew got his first-round problem resolved by getting physical at the start of the second, he immediately injured Alves with his throwing open-stance kick. The Brazilian immediately showed his first weakness in the fight. An often overlooked tool in an MMA fighter’s arsenal, Drew Dober shows that body shots are actually quite valuable in the sport. It took only about a dozen body shots and used a variety of techniques, including straight punches, round kicks and left-handed uppercuts, to bring Alves to the brink of destruction before hitting him again.

Of course, many other tools — including iron chins, intelligent pressurized footwork and clever combos — are necessary for such a fast and powerful forward to throw so many balls, but the tactical options for making them The battle is won. Dober’s final blow, a straight right hand, knocked Alves to the ground 90 seconds into the final round, extending his knockout streak to two and securing the “fight of the night” for both fighters The prize money was denied for the second time in a row because Drew couldn’t do it.

In his final UFC card of the year, Dober fights one last fight, this time against longtime veteran Bobby Green. The bout, which is gaining traction as one of the most anticipated three-round violent heavyweight bouts of the year, puts them both in the exclusive club of fighters who have fought in the UFC for 20 fights.

Like Drew Dober, Green has recently rejuvenated his career. He has been widely praised for his sleek boxing style, but only recently has he started receiving consistent performance bonuses, earning the same amount in his past fifteen fights, three of his last five. “The King” Green also got his first knockout since 2013 — his first uncontroversial elimination in the UFC — when he went down and stopped El Iaquinta in the opening quarter. On top of that, Bobby set and broke his single game big hit records, first 143 against top contender Rafael Fiziev, then 188 against Nasrat Haqparast, averaging absurdly high 9.53 and 12.53 per minute , while the career average is 5.99.

And that really makes it happen; Bobby Green has been playing better and getting more attention because he’s just starting to throw more punches. His boxing has always been fluid, but in the last five fights he’s really started to get the most out of it. The change comes after dropping a controversial decision against Thiago Moises, who appeared to be the better fighter but often showed off and didn’t do enough, which until recently has been his UFC career Symbol of career. He’s constantly pressing the action now, keeping his talent from being dramatic and giving his opponents room to breathe. The high volume also helps Judge, as he has fallen prey to several questionable decisions before.

That’s the challenge for Drew Dober. How will he deal with a forward who can avoid most of what is thrown at his head, doesn’t slump like Alves or McKinnie, and has quicker hands than he does? A poor start, which, as we’ve seen, has been a recent theme for Drew. In the first round, he applied the pressure as usual, but kept diving headlong into the punches. Bobby isn’t known for being a big hitter, but as Drew stepped forward and threw in the punches, Green’s precision kept hurting Dober and pulling his leg away from him at one point, even with Dober’s notorious jaw. Green’s MMA-adapted Philadelphia Shell defense made it impossible for Drew to come clean in the first round, as he slipped, rolled or shouldered every punch he delivered.

When Drew returned to his corner, blood covered his face again. There, his team worked out a strategy change that allowed him to track down Bobby Green and make the power shots he wanted. They planned to force Green back to the fence again, but this time instead of trying to outpace him over his big left, Dober pushed him back to the fence with a double jab and prepared for a power shot. He has to be patient and not just fight fire with fire. Leaning Bobby against the fence gives Drew more of a chance to track him since his mobility will be limited.

When Drew got Bobby back to the pen in the first round, he always escaped, either by attacking to injure Dobb or clinging to the pressure. This time, Dober stayed out all the time, neither of which was easy. He delivered the coup de grace with a leading right hand, jab and hooked jab, propelling Green towards the fence one last time before delivering a combo shot. Bobby Green could have dodged most salvo openers, but by extending the combo to third, fourth and fifth punches, Drew Dober managed to deliver a hit that echoed the end result as the year drew to a close.

Dober is a testament to what resilience and determination can achieve, especially when one has those formidable physical tools at their disposal. He trailed early in all three of his 2022 starts and was hit by some big hits. But in all three fights, he stuck with it and picked up another knockout victory. Even on a broader scale, he was once 1-4 in the UFC, though a loss was overturned as a no fight and turned it around to 11-4 for the remainder of his UFC fights. Now, he plays in arguably the toughest class in the sport and is a fan favorite for his gripping fighting style. He knocked out Bobby Green and is tied with future Hall of Famer Dustin Poirier for the most knockouts in UFC lightweight history with an impressive eight.

Now, the number next to Dober’s name allows him to turn his attention to his top 15 lightweights, many of whom are new to him. Whoever is next, fans can rest assured that this fight will keep them on edge. One never knows what to expect in a Drew Dober fight.

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