Who is the UFC’s Brightest Rising Star?
"Jersey" Nick takes on "Aussie" Wayne
A new segment: 1 topic, 2 opinions, 450 words or less.
Who is the UFC’s brightest rising star?
For sheer brilliance in skill set and marketability you simply cannot look past Brian “T City” Ortega!
The Blackhouse MMA product hailing from Torrance, California, has a scary submission game that has changed so many fight plans and has a division of absolute killers looking over their shoulders! At 27 years old Brian “T City” Ortega has ridden a meteoric rise all the way to a title fight against champion Max “Blessed” Holloway.
Pre-UFC “T City” learned his craft in organizations such as Gladiator Challenge, RITC- Respect In the Cage and RFA- Resurrection Fighting Alliance. 4 out his 8 pre-UFC wins came by Submission. This BJJ expert showed he was on another level. Always working on his stand-up game, the UFC had signed a dynamo.
A positive test after his first fight in the UFC against Mike De La Torre could have derailed his MMA career.
(He tested positive for the steroid drostanolone-receiving a 9-month suspension)
Instead “T City” took his punishment on the chin, learned from his mistake, owned it, and used the time to evolve into a complete mixed martial artist.
Brian “T City” Ortega currently sits at (14-0-1), his career is going from strength to strength. His evolution as a fighter continues to grow.
He has a resume including:
** A TKO first round win over tough and gritty Thiago Tavares.
** A signature “triangle” submission over “TUF 14” winner Diego Brandao.
** A highlight reel KO over UFC veteran and hard to finish Clay Guida.
** 2 x frightening guillotine chokes over Renato Carneiro and the extremely talented Cub Swanson.
** Then he dispatched UFC legend and fan favorite Frankie Edgar with an uppercut from hell!
Previously when you thought of “T City”, you thought of the triangle submissions and the standing guillotines. (He is a black belt in BJJ under Rener Gracie) What you now see is a very large 145-pound beast. A fierce competitor whose stand-up includes all the weapons needed. Lead elbows, uppercuts then add in great distance and movement.
“T City” has also learned to “embrace the grind”, as shown in his 3rd round win against Clay Guida. With a stand-up game catching up to his world’s best practice BJJ submission game, no star shines brighter than Brian “T City” Ortega. He is on a tear, and next up he will look to add a UFC title around his waist.
Let’s all sit back and watch this respectful, gracious young fighter lead the UFC into the promised land……
A rising star is not always the one who is in the spotlight. There are times when this star lurks in the background waiting for his huge chance to emerge. That star comes in the form of Gregor “The Gift” Gillespie.
The Long island MMA product and Webster, New York native has a well-rounded game and excels in his wrestling abilities. Gillespie is currently in a shark tank of a division with so much talent yet he manages to stand out time and time again.
Prior to his MMA career, Gillespie earned NCAA All-America honors from 2006 through 2009 and captured the 2007 NCAA championship at 149 pounds. He was also able to capture two New York state titles while in high school. He led Edinboro to top 10 team finishes at the NCAA Championships in 2006, 2007 and 2009, and Eastern Wrestling League (EWL) and Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) team titles in all four of his seasons. Adding to his resume he was also a three-time champion in both the EWL and the PSAC, and earning multiple most outstanding wrestler awards. Gillespie finished his collegiate career with a record-breaking 152-13 record (.921 winning percentage).
Attempted to begin his professional MMA career under RFA in 2012 his fight was canceled due to injury. He tried again in 2014 for Ring of Combat with his first fight being canceled but an undefeated replacement was found. From his first entrance to the cage until mid-2016 he had a record of 7-0 secured a lightweight title and defending it twice before the UFC came knocking.
September 2016 he began his journey in the UFC. He now sits at 11-0 (4-0 UFC) 9 of his wins have come via finish (5 TKO/KO, 4 submissions). Notable wins are against Andrew Holbrook (12-1 at time of the fight) and Jason Gonzalez (11-3 at time of the fight) and he finished both of them inside of 2 rounds.
Gillespie is slated to face Vinc “From Hell” Pichel (11-1) at UFC Fight Night 131. This is a classic striker versus wrestler affair. While both men are very good in the cardio department Gillespie far surpasses his opponent in the wrestling department. Pichel packs a harder punch but I think they are both on par for striking. Gillespie should move to 12-0 (5-0 UFC) and be hunting a top 15 opponent afterward.
Only time will tell when The Gift will emerge onto the top 15 scene and leave his mark on the sport.