Zak Ottow’s next fight might be the most important of his MMA career, for several reasons. The UFC on ESPN+4 welterweight match-up with Alex Morono has some heat behind it. It’s also the last fight on Ottow’s UFC contract.
Ottow (17-6 MMA, 4-3 UFC) has alternated wins and losses since joining the promotion back in 2016. While a loss would only drop him to .500 in the UFC, Ottow said he doesn’t want to find out if a loss would result in a pink slip. In fact, he hopes a win and finish over Morono (15-5 MMA, 4-2, 1 NC UFC) will net him a bigger deal.
“If I win this one, that’s three out of my last four,” Ottow told MMASucka. “Hopefully two finishes in that mix. And then hopefully we can start to get the pay going up and climbing up the ladder higher.”
And then there’s the fact that Ottow and Morono have been calling to fight each other since their time in Legacy FC back in 2015. Ottow only had one fight there–a loss to Jacob Volkmann–while Morono captured the welterweight title. Ottow was gunning for a shot at the title, but Morono was signed to the UFC following his title win.
For Ottow, it was never personal. He just saw an opportunity against an opponent he feels he can beat in a fun fight.
“All along the way here in the UFC, it’s seemed like we’ve had similar goes of it,” Ottow said. “It would make sense on paper for us to fight, and now here it is eventually. It’s been awhile that we’ve been calling each other out. For me, it didn’t really start anything personal. I don’t know the guy at all. I’m not sure if it’s personal for him.”
Ottow says he likes that Morono is aggressive and won’t hang back or slow the fight down, noting that Morono will likely come forward and throw down. But while he believes it will be an exciting fight for the fans, it’s one where he’ll be better in every area.
“If it was a kickboxing match I’d win, Jiu-Jitsu match I’d win, and a wrestling match I’d win,” Ottow said. “I don’t think he’s all that great in the transitions between the disciplines which is another area where I feel like I can beat him.”
Ottow Looking for a Win-Streak
A win over Morono would mark Ottow’s first winning streak inside the Octagon, which he said is very important. Just as important to Ottow, though, is he starts finishing his opponents consistently.
“On the regional level when I was coming up, I was finishing everybody inside of two rounds,” he said. “I thought, ‘Oh man, once I get to the UFC, I’m going to be a bonus king.’ Here I’m going into my eighth fight, and I’ve had these close fights. I haven’t had a bonus yet. I need to get back to my finishing ways here and I need to start stringing some wins together.”
Ottow and Morono will officially kick off their rivalry on March 9 at UFC ESPN+ 4 in Wichita, KS.
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