By James Eakin
Brendan Allen, an IMMAF World Champion in 2015, takes centre stage this weekend at UFC Fight Night: Font vs Aldo. Opening the main card against Chris Curtis, Allen will look to extend his record to 18-4 and further cement his name in the ever-growing UFC Middleweight division.
Allen has enjoyed a very successful start to his UFC career, with only a single loss coming to the hands of the surging Sean Strickland. At 25, Allen is already one of the best young prospects in the sport, and landmark victories over the likes of Kevin Holland, Tom Breese and Punahele Soriano have brought the eyes of the world to the American’s young career.
Taking it back to 2015, Allen participated in the IMMAF World Championships in the Middleweight class. Three dominant victories later, he was the champion, and with every fight ending via Rear Naked Choke, Allen immediately demonstrated an exciting fight style and killer finishing instincts.
The story has been much the same in his pro career: 14 finishes in 17 victories, nine of them coming by submission. Allen now trains under the tutelage of Henri Hooft at Sanford MMA in Florida and also holds a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black belt under Daniel Wanderley.
Allen has showcased dramatic improvements in his striking under Hooft and the team at Sanford MMA, and this was on display when he beat Punahele Soriano by unanimous decision in his last fight. Allen was able to control range with a popping jab and utilised body attacks superbly to neutralise the marauding style of Soriano. Despite being only 25 years of age, Allen’s game has a unexpected maturity, which speaks to the quality of IMMAF competition and the way it nurtures athlete technique.
We must give props to Chris Curtis who steps in two weeks after his UFC debut against Phil Hawes to take on Allen. Multiple opponent changes will have made preparation for this bout tricky for Allen, as he originally was scheduled to fight #11 ranked Brad Tavares. A fight against the durable Hawaiian would have been the perfect step up for Allen to get himself into the rankings. However, Tavares unfortunately was forced out with an injury so in came Roman Dolidze, who again pulled out with an undisclosed injury, paving the way for Chris Curtis.
This weekend presents the perfect opportunity for Brendan Allen to score a trademark victory in emphatic fashion, ensuring that he is not denied a ranked opponent for much longer. The American is truly one of the best and brightest talents to come out of the IMMAF talent pool and his skills speak for themselves. Should he defeat Curtis then there cannot be any doubts that he is ready for a ranked opponent in the top 10!