UFC 262 hits the pay-per-view (PPV) airwaves this weekend (Sat., May 15, 2021) with a bevy of familiar names in tow and just one Octagon newcomer. On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where extrapolation is a cruel mistress, we look at a two-time “Contender Series” winner on an 11-fight win streak.
Tucker “Top Gun” Lutz
Weight Class: Featherweight
Record: 11-1 (6 KO, 2 SUB)
Notable Victories: Sherrard Blackledge, Chase Gibson
Lutz — unbeaten since his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) debut — stopped eight of his next nine foes before taking a decision over Chase Gibson on “Contender Series.” Though the win failed to produce a contract, he returned to the show two months later, defeating fellow alumnus Sherrard Blackledge to punch his ticket to UFC.
With both a high school wrestling background and some kickboxing experience under his belt, Lutz is comfortable wherever the fight goes. On the feet, he’s largely a shift-happy boxer with some cracking low kicks and switch body kicks to back up his hands, generally leading with jabs or left hooks. He attacks the body well, can shift mid-combo, and has a particularly nasty uppercut he can land from range.
It’s a very solid striking game, albeit one with a couple of noteworthy flaws. For one, he can be a bit sloppy and low-output in the early going, needing time to really get his offense flowing. For two, he doesn’t move his head all that well, especially while attacking. Straight shots down the pipe seem like a real issue for him, and though he hasn’t shown any durability issues lately, it’s something he’ll want to address sooner rather than later.
There are no such caveats in my approval of his wrestling game. He’s technically sound in his offense and defense, does a great job of winning the underhook battle, and is adept at quickly getting back to his feet if he ever ends up on his back. Though not much of a ground-and-pounder, he passes guard and takes the back very well on top of sporting a good front headlock series.
And on top of all that, he’s got great cardio.
His defensive issues and lack of a single standout skill will probably keep him from entering the division’s elite, but Lutz is skilled and well-rounded enough to make a place for himself in the upper-middle of the pack. I expect some entertaining efforts at the very least.
Opponent: He takes on former LFA champ Kevin Aguilar, whose perfect Octagon start (2-0) gave way to three consecutive losses. While Aguilar still has the power to exploit Lutz’s lack of head movement, his poor durability has me leaning toward the Octagon newcomer.
Tape: Both of his “Contender Series” bouts are on ESPN+.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 262 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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