Fury FC 86 Main Event Breakdown

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Your weekend of competitive violence continues on Friday night. After a doubleheader of championship fights to top A1 Combat 18 in Lemoore, CA at Tachi Palace, the MMA itinerary moves to the Lone Star State, specifically Dallas. Five days removed from its amateur series holding an event, Fury FC returns to the professional ranks.

A promotion that usually holds its shows on a Sunday evening moves to Friday this week for Fury FC 86 from Gilley’s Dallas. Live coverage of Fury FC 86 begins at 7 pm ET/ 4 pm PT on the promotion’s official YouTube channel with the prelims. Main card action immediately follows at 9 pm ET/ 6 pm PT on UFC Fight Pass.

It’ll be a busy Friday for the UFC’s subscription-based streaming platform, as Fury FC, Cage Warriors, and the LFA all have shows on Fight Pass that evening. Like we mentioned earlier on this week during the A1 Combat breakdowns, be sure to make that grocery run prior to the fights.

175-Lb. Catchweight in Fury FC 86 Main Event

All told, barring any cancellations between now and Friday, 15 fights will be held in Dallas this weekend. Highlighting the night’s activities is a contracted catchweight in the Fury FC 86 main event of the evening.

Aaron Phillips (8-4 MMA, 2-1 Fury FC), an alum of the 2021 season of The Ultimate Fighter television series, Cage Fury FC,  and A1 Combat,  returns for his first MMA fight in six months and first match proper in four months when he battles Julius Holmes (9-2 MMA, 4-0 Fury FC) in the headliner. As per the terms of the fight contract, this Fury FC 86 main event takes place at 175 lbs. and will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the show.

Fury FC 86 Main Event Fighter Comparison

Heading into the Fury FC 86 main event on Friday night, Aaron Phillips stands as the taller man at six feet even, with Julius Holmes countering at 5-foot-11. No reach information was accessible at press time.

Aaron Phillips Ends Four-Month Layoff Friday Night

Aaron Phillips comes into this headliner with a mark of 3-2 in his last five MMA fights. At the present time, he’s on a two-fight winning streak.

Most recently, he scored a second-round knockout of Jessee Gengler (7-12 MMA, 0-4 Fury FC) in August of last year in the promotion’s Challenger Series. Fans of The Ultimate Fighter will remember Phillips for his stint as a competitor during its first season on ESPN+ in 2021.

Phillips was quickly eliminated from TUF’s middleweight tournament that year, getting bounced by eventual UFC fighter Andre Petroski in the quarterfinal phase of the bracket with a first-round submission. Despite not fighting in MMA since late last summer, he’s appeared in Fury FC’s sister promotion, Submission Hunter Pro, in October of 2023, locking up a guillotine choke vs. Caleb Hinklin.

He’s already had a shot at securing a UFC deal, and although his bid at a contract in MMA’s top promotion ended in defeat, a win here in the Fury FC 86 main event could be a step in the right direction toward a second chance.

Will Holmes Secure UFC Opportunity?

Julius Holmes enters the Fury FC 86 main event this weekend having gone 5-0 in his last five fights. All told, he’s currently on a nine-fight winning streak dating back to June 27, 2015.

Last time out, he stopped Jared McLoughlin (7-5 MMA, 1-1 Fury FC) with a second-round submission (D’arce choke) in September during Fury FC 83 from Tulsa on Fight Pass.

Given that Holmes is on a nine-fight winning streak over the last eight years-plus, it makes sense that he might be on the UFC’s radar. Recently, he was a guest on the 4 oz. To Freedom podcast to discuss the possibility that his telephone could be ringing after the main event, provided that he emerges victorious.

“The problem is that it was offered,” Holmes said of the Fury FC Welterweight Championship, “but, I guess, if my career goes as it should, people will learn a lot of weird things about me. I have these strange moral beliefs that I hold very well. To me, I don’t want the title if I’m not going to defend the title. To me, you’re not a champion if you don’t defend said championship. If you take over a land and you die the next battle, were you really a king, or did you just kind of hold the throne for a little bit? So, the fact that I very much plan on being on the Contender Series after this fight, it’s kind of pointless for the Fury fans, for them to see me as a champion, for me just to leave without defending it.”

A win on Friday will make 10 in a row for Holmes. If he gets his 10th successive win, Dana White has to call him up and give him a UFC deal.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Friday’s Fury FC 86 main event looks to be another toss-up, since both of these men are submission specialists. Expect this one to go to the mat.

Look for Phillips to Try a Rear-Naked Choke

If the Fury FC 86 main event finds Aaron Phillips in command, he might take the fight to the ground and look for an opening to lock up a rear-naked choke, like he did against Bear Rogers in 2019.

During the first round of a scheduled three, Phillips defended a couple of takedowns from Rogers, with the fighters trading strikes as the period progressed.

Later on, Phillips secured a takedown of his own, softening Rogers up with ground and pound shots before taking his back and applying the torque to lock in that submission inside the round’s final minute. If he can secure top position, he’ll have the momentum in his column on Friday night.

Holmes Also Adept with RNCs

In the other corner, Julius Holmes can lock in the rear-naked choke himself. One need look no further than his fight vs. Chris Lucero two years ago.

Round two of the fight saw Holmes reassert his dominance against Lucero after nearly finishing the bout in the opening stanza. Upon knocking Lucero down, Holmes briefly took back mount before dumping him and quickly scoring the submission in just 40 seconds.

If Holmes can come out like a house on fire from the opening bell, it’ll be his world in this main event.

Final Thoughts

Even though there won’t be a championship at stake, the Fury FC 86 main event is going to be exciting on Friday night. Don’t forget to tune in.

Prediction: Julius Holmes by Fourth-Round Submission.

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.

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