UFC 271: Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 has quite the interesting fighter making his debut. His name is Blood Diamond. Yes, literally that is the name listed on UFC’s website. The first fight of the February 12th card features Orion Cosce, a welterweight making his sophomore Octagon appearance and looking for his first UFC victory, and Blood Diamond. No, this is not a character from Street Fighter, Tekken, or Mortal Combat who has spawned into existence to take over the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world—far from it. Blood Diamond’s name is Mark Mathetha. He is a fighter from New Zealand looking to take make his stake in the UFC’s welterweight division.
Who is Blood Diamond?
Blood Diamond made his combat sports debut in 2015 where he competed in a kickboxing match at King in the Ring 11. The native of New Zealand would compete for the promotion several times over the next few years and would compete across the European and Eastern World circuit. In 2017, Blood Diamond would make his mixed martial arts debut at Shuriken Fight Series 1. He would knock off Jo Van Duin to earn his first victory under MMA rules.
— Kai Kara France (@kaikarafrance) July 24, 2021
Blood Diamond last competed at Eternal MMA 50 in February 2020. This event was broadcasted via UFC Fight Pass. Blood Diamond would go the distance with Dimps Gillies in their fifteen-minute matchup, picking up a unanimous decision victory.
Connection to Israel Adesanya
The most interesting aspect of Blood Diamond’s mysterious combat sports come up is his connection to the UFC’s Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya through their mutual gym, City Kickboxing. In a recent interview, Blood Diamond spoke about his relationship with “Izzy”, his kickboxing career, and his upcoming UFC debut. On YouTube, there is a video featuring the exact moment Blood Diamond was told he had made it to the UFC. At the end of the video, Blood Diamond remarked, “With the team I’ve got, I’m not surprised, ya know”. Click here to see the video.
Chael Sonnen had his own take on the rising star out of City Kickboxing. In his own video, “The American Gangster” would note that fighters from City Kickboxing who had inked deals with the UFC,“..do fantastic. Seems to be the norm”.
Of course, Sonnen is referring to guys like Adesanya who has climbed to the top of his division. Alexander Volkanovski as well. Will Blood Diamond be able to recreate this in his own career?
Featured Image from UFC New Zealand Instagram