Dana White’s Contender Series 41 notes, analysis
Weight class: Lightweight
Results: Daniel Zellhuber def. Lucas Almeida via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Class: A +
Summary: After achieving what could be my favorite performance of the season so far, I had a hard time denying Daniel Zellhuber an A + for his efforts against Lucas Almeida.
For those familiar with my analytical biases, I’m not the type to be easily impressed by things like flashy kicks or insane sporting feats, as I’m admittedly more of a fan of the process-based fighters that work for their people. strengths while effectively applying their skills in phases. Zellhuber is obviously still too young to confidently project, but I can tell you that the 22-year-old already impresses me more than his training partner Yair Rodriguez when he first appeared on the UFC scene.
Almeida may have made the Mexican prospect pay early for his weak-handed strike retractions, but Zellhuber kept his eyes open and on his opposition the entire time as he gradually sorted out the spoof of the situation. And once he found his lineup near the end of the first, Zellhuber’s game really opened up.
From Zellhuber’s ability to shoot and return punches across the boxing range to the precision of his dynamic kicking assaults, there are a lot of things that stand out from this lightweight stance-shifting lightweight. For example, Zellhuber demonstrates many clever melee tactics when it comes to a fighter reducing pressure and closing distance on their terms.
Daniel Zellhuber uses melee: https://twitter.com/DanTomMMA/status/1443070070284906505?s=20
In the clip above, Zellhuber transforms a swivel blow into a double-necked tie which he uses to steer Almeida both on the knees and in positive positions against the cage. This is especially impressive when you consider that Almeida is the one credited with a black belt in Muay Thai.
In Almeida’s defense, he was coming off a nearly two-year layoff as he seemed to start going down a bit after the first round. Zellhuber, on the other hand, appears to have an excellent tank of gasoline in tow – – something that is surely aided by the elevation he trains in via Mexico City.
I can understand how the early exchanges generated criticism of Zellhuber’s defense, but I would actually say this is the most effective head move I’ve seen from a larger regions fighter in a while. time.
My only concern is that the UFC – let alone its lightweight division – may be a ruthless place to grow up as a 22-year-old prospect, as I hope the matchmakers treat this kid with extra care. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Zellhuber paired with someone like Alexander Munoz or Dakota Bush for his first official appearance.