Disclaimer: Odie Delaney’s fight with Jeremy May, scheduled for Sept. 12, is off. You can still read up on Delaney’s path to American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, his training partners there, his fighting style, and more.
Odie Delaney, a heavyweight prospect, will look to improve to 3-0 when he fights Jeremy May at Atlas Fights 55 on Sept. 12. The promotion’s heavyweight title will be on the line.
If all goes well, it will be Delaney’s first fight since October 2019. May holds a record of 13-11 and competed on The Ultimate Fighter: Season 7 back in 2008. In addition to May “having a name,” Delaney is confident that his opponent will show up on fight night.
“I’ve had a lot of problems with guys backing out and promotions having to move dates because of COVID,” Delaney told MMASucka. “I’m optimistic that this fight’s going to go through. He was man enough to step up and fight Chase Sherman, so I don’t think he’s going to back out.”
Nine of May’s 13 wins have come via submission, leading Delaney to classify him as a Jiu-Jitsu fighter. Delaney, an NCAA Division I All American from The Citadel in South Carolina, believes his wrestling will shut down May’s grappling. “The Bad Lad” also believes he’ll be able to use his hands against May.
“I haven’t had to really showcase [my boxing] yet, because I just dominate everyone in the grappling,” he said. “If I have to stand up and knock somebody out, I can do that, too. It’s not like those skills aren’t there; I just haven’t had to use them yet.”
May would appear to have the advantage in MMA experience, as he has 12-times the professional bouts of Delaney. With that in mind, Delaney believes May will show more resistance than his previous two professional opponents, who he stopped in 27 seconds and 2:32.
“I don’t think it’ll be like any of my other fights as far as I don’t think he’s going to just let me take him down and immediately submit him or immediately beat him,” Delaney said. “I expect it to at least go to the second round. A guy with his experience knows how to stay chill in there and be relaxed. That’s a big part of it.”
Delaney contested that May has more experience than him.
“He might have done MMA a little bit longer, but I’ve wrestled and done Jiu-Jitsu; wrestling especially, my entire life,” he said. “I’ve competed at an extremely high level; international level as well. I’m used to competing on a big stage. I’m not going to have nerves.”
Delaney captured gold at the 2019 IBJJF Pan-American No-Gi tournament at the blue belt rank and has since earned his purple belt, according to his management team, Ironclad Global Sports Management.
The fact Delaney will have not fought for 11 months is not for a lack of trying. Two opponents have backed out, with one of them having contracted the coronavirus. The layoff has been “entirely” due to the pandemic, he said. Delaney just wants his chance to prove he’s ready to compete at a higher level, but knows he needs to finish fighters on the regional circuit to do so.
The bout with May will also come on the heels of his first fight camp at American Top Team. Delaney made the move to Coconut Creek, Florida, in December. He has since began training with the likes of Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Alexey Oleinik, Marcos Rogerio de Lima, Greg Hardy, Justin Willis and Said Sowma. Steve Mocco serves as his main coach and wrestling coach.
“We’ve got a room full of super high-level heavyweights who are all kind of friends and teammates but also pushing each other really hard,” Delaney said. “Everyone’s coming up, and I’m right in there with that group.”
Delaney has been training regularly. The gym has strict rules and guidelines in place due to the coronavirus outbreak, including regular testing. Delaney has kept the same closed group of training partners and self-isolates at home when he’s not at the gym.
“I’m being really careful to not get sick and not get any of my teammates sick,” he said. “I haven’t slowed down a beat. I’ve been trying to get fights and preparing for fights. I’m at peak physical shape. I’m more than ready, and I’m hungry for this fight.”
For those who have yet to see Delaney in action, he called his fighting style “dominant.” He’s an MMA fighter: He can use his hands, has solid BJJ and can wrestle with the best of them, he said.
When he drags an opponent to the ground, he looks for what’s open. If Delaney breaks the other man’s spirit, he’ll snatch his arm or neck and submit him. Until he does that, he’ll drop hammer fists, elbows and chop him up “like a buzzsaw.” Delaney added that he has the cardio to go 25 minutes if need be, as he trains more like a middleweight than a heavyweight.
“I’m in there to impose my will. I don’t really care what the other guy is trying to do or about his game plan. I’m going in there with a game plan that I’ve looked very hard to implement, and I’m going to take this fight by force. That’s kind of what a fight is, right? Just imposing your will on somebody else. That’s exactly what this one is going to look like.”
Delaney will be looking to claim Atlas Fights heavyweight gold when he steps in to fight May. However, to him, it’s just another bout and stepping stone to his ultimate goal.
“My ultimate goal is to be in the UFC or ONE Championship,” he said. “I want a big platform to speak out and deliver my message to the young people and being a good example for everyone. I view this as another step in that direction, but I don’t disrespect the title. I’m honored to fight for it and I can’t wait to get it. I think I’m moving in the right direction, and a title fight is what’s necessary.”
Delaney predicts that May will want to test him in the stand-up department. From there, he thinks he’ll knock his foe out.
“I think he knows my wrestling is gonna shut down his Jiu-Jitsu; I’m a PanAm champ,” he said. “I think he’s not going to want to go to the ground; he’s going to want to stay on the feet and get that knockout because he doesn’t want to go to the later rounds. That’s going to be his biggest mistake. I’m going to let him test me on my feet, and I’m going to knock him out. That’s going to look even better for me and show that I am a well-rounded fighter. That’s the plan, and that’s how it’s going to go down.”