After a highly impressive Octagon debut, Zach Makovsky has the opportunity to launch himself into the 125-pound title picture this weekend with a victory at UFC 170 in Las Vegas. The former Bellator bantamweight champion will square off against Josh Sampo, who was also triumphant in his UFC debut.
Makovsky made a tremendous first impression as a late injury replacement at UFC on FOX 9 in December when he picked up the biggest victory of his career against the tough Scott Jorgensen. Makovsky showcased a wide array of striking skills, including an accurate and crisp left hand, to earn the unanimous decision verdict. He also featured solid grappling skills and a strong ground game in improving his record to 17-4 and spoiling Jorgensen’s flyweight debut.
“Fun Size” made such an emphatic statement against a proven commodity that he was immediately catapulted into the promotion’s top 10. With the flyweight division looking to find fresh challenges for current champion Demetrious Johnson, Makovsky has a prime opportunity to make some noise with another solid showing. He’s riding a three-fight win streak heading into the bout, and the flyweight division has looked like a perfect fit for him since he moved down from the 135-pound weight class.
Sampo, like Makovsky, has a strong wrestling base and has produced six submission finishes in 11 career wins. It’ll be important for him to be on point at the scales for this one. “The Gremlin” missed out on his Fight of the Night bonus money after a submission victory over Ryan Benoit at the Ultimate Fighter Season 18 finale because he failed to make weight. He shapes up as a good test for Makovsky.
This is an important contest for the flyweight division as both can make a serious statement with a victory. Makovsky could be facing a top-five fighter next if he’s able to make it two consecutive UFC victories, while Sampo will likely be closing in on top-10 status if he’s able to produce a sixth consecutive overall victory and second straight with the promotion. It promises to be an entertaining affair.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports