‘The Prospect’, Nathaniel Wood is set to return and finally set for his featherweight debut this weekend at UFC London. Wood, who trains out of Great Britain Top Team under the tutelage of British legend, Bradd Pickett hasn’t competed since 2020 and after three cancelled bouts, he’s ready to get back in the Octagon.
There will be one key change, however. Nathaniel Wood will compete at featherweight (145lbs) for the first time since his amateur days. Training alongside Marc Diakiese, Wood will certainly be prepared for whatever his opponent, Charles Rosa brings.
— Nathaniel Wood (@TheProspectMMA) July 13, 2022
UFC Career thus-far
Wood entered the UFC with a lot of hype surrounding him and rightfully so. He was the CageWarriors bantamweight champion, making two defences. Held a 13-3 record entering, including a run of five straight finishes. His UFC career started well. He was matched with Johnny Eduardo in his debut, scoring a d’arce choke and picking up a performance of the night bonus. Andre Ewell was next up for Wood, who yet again didn’t need the judges to get his hand raised. A rear-naked choke got it done in the third round at UFC 232. Wood then returned in front of his home town fans in London. Squaring off against Jose Alberto Quinonez, Wood dominated for as long as it lasted. A submission finished things yet again, this time a second-round rear-naked choke.
Then came Wood’s first real test. He faced off against former two-time title challenger and TUF 14 winner, John Dodson. Dodson was enduring a two-fight losing run, however, unfortunately for the Brit, things were about to change. Although on the face of it Wood was performing well for the first two rounds, he got caught in an exchange and fell at the hands of Dodson, suffering his first UFC loss.
Although he then bounced back against John Castaneda on Fight Island, he would go on to suffer another loss to Casey Kenny. In a fight of the night-winning effort, Wood’s output was phenomenal, however, it wasn’t enough to get his hand raised. He threw 325 strikes across 15 minutes, however, landed at a smaller accuracy than that of Kenny.
‘The Prospect’ has had three fights fall off since his last performance against Kenny in October 2020. He was scheduled to face Jonathan Martinez first but had to withdraw. Next came Liudvik Sholinian in what was meant to be his featherweight debut in London in March. Unfortunately, Sholinian had to withdraw and was replaced with Vince Morales. During fight week, Morales ruined Wood’s homecoming, prolonging his comeback to July.
It's the return of Nathaniel Wood next weekend! pic.twitter.com/hHtr4o30oc
— Frazer (@frazer_krohn) July 16, 2022
Featherweight Debut and London Homecoming
If all goes to plan, Nathaniel Wood will finally make his featherweight debut in his hometown of London. Taking on the experienced Charles Rosa, Wood will be looking to begin his ascent up the rankings at 145lbs.
‘Boston Strong’, Charles Rosa will be stepping into enemy territory to take on Wood in the O2 arena in London. Rosa, who is looking to snap a two-fight losing run will certainly be motivated heading into the bout. Most recently he lost to TJ Brown in January and was largely outwrestled, being taken down six times. This is certainly a tactic that Wood could look to use as he often looks for takedowns during his fights.
With that being said, Wood’s output is far higher than Rosa’s, averaging 6.28 strikes per minute as opposed to Rosa’s 3.05. He could, therefore, look to overwhelm him with his striking before taking it to the ground. The crowd will, without doubt, be on Wood’s side and therefore, expect him to be able to find an extra gear if necessary.