UFC Fight Night 204 has an unusually strong undercard, as it features Jack Shore vs Timur Valiev in a bantamweight clash. The highly talented and undefeated Shore (15-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) is taking on a fighter who has seen similar success under the UFC inValiev (18-2 MMA, 2-0, 1 NC UFC).
While both men are unranked fighters, make no mistake: this is a fight between two athletes who are all but guaranteed to be world-class in the months and years to come. Jack Shore is not an undefeated fighter through good fortune or weighted matchmaking, but due to both technical excellence and a well-rounded arsenal of both offence and defence. A Cage Warriors veteran, Shore has held their bantamweight strap before, ranking up a defense before making the jump to the UFC.
With 12 finishes in 15 fights, Shore has displayed a variety of approaches to victory. In his most recent outing, Shore barely suffered any damage, avoiding absorbing even a single significant strike for nearly two entire rounds. Shore’s fight IQ is incredible to witness in an athlete so young: with 15 fights and only 27 years old, the sky really is the limit.
But Timur Valiev is far from outmatched. Valiev has a slight edge on Shore in-ring time, having competed in 20 professional bouts to Shore’s 15. Valiev’s last performance against Raoni Barcelos proved two things: bantamweight is a deep division, and Valiev has a lot of heart. But he’s not just a durable fighter, as Valiev overcame some serious adversity in the second round, using movement and volume striking to take the first and third rounds after Barcelos took the second by way of his blistering power.
Jack Shore vs Timur Valiev – Head to Head
In terms of how the two match up against each other, it will certainly be an interesting clash of styles. Valiev had a tendency to rush Barcelos in their fight, which lead to the heavy knockdowns and near-stoppage in the second round. Shore is not the type of fighter to make such a mistake, but he is certainly the type to capitalize if Valiev, in a moment of fury, is to forget the lessons Barcelos made him learn last time out.
Shore seemingly has it all; crisp striking, tight grappling, proven cardio and the fighting intellect to know exactly when and where to strike, and when to reset and analyze. Timur is no pushover, but for my money, Shore is a few victories removed from being one of the big players at bantamweight, and his name being thrown in the ring when it comes time to discuss real contenders.
Valiev’s heart, pace and volume clash with Shore’s analytical, measured approach on March 19 at UFC Fight Night 204, and promises (along with the rest of the prelims) to set the stage for an explosive main card.
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