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Welcoming Ottman "Bulldog" Azaitar to the UFC

The welterweight division just added another prospect as the 29 year old German-Moroccan fighter joins the promotion with a professional record of 11-0 with three straight knockout victories. His first professional fight was in 2014 against fellow German rookie Patrick Talmon and the fight gave fans a reason to get excited about Azaitar. He dropped Patrick Talmon with the first punch of the fight and the first punch of his professional career before finishing him with ground and pound just 19 seconds into the fight. His second fight was more challenging as he faced off against 6-1 German fighter Alexander Vogt with the promotion Fair FC. Vogt earned a takedown early in the fight and the two fighters continued to trade momentum but Vogt was clearly holding the advantage in the grappling exchanges. The second round was much better from Azaitar as he was able to challenge in the grappling exchanges with a couple close submission attempts. The Bulldozer eventually got into top mount and finished the fight with some brutal ground strikes to move to 2-0 on his professional record at the end of 2014.

The success continued in 2015 as he won four fights during that year with all fights ending in the first round (2 knockouts, 2 submissions). The two knockout victories against Ilbey Akdas and Ramunas Paliunis were expected as the two fighters had a combined record of 3-20. The Serge Dali rear-naked choke victory was impressive as the French fighter was 2-0 in MMA and the Christoph Hector victory was solid because Hector was coming off consecutive knockout victories in 2014. Overall the 2015 campaign for Ottman was great for building his resume and gaining some experience against fighters.

During 2016 Ottman slowed down slightly with only two fights booked but he managed to make it count with a 56 second knockout victory over Lukasz Szczerek and a decision victory over Kevin Koldobsky. His fight against Szczerek was shocking as the Polish fighter was 4-0 and a strong grappler. The fight started fairly slow but out of nowhere Azaitar lands a sweet right hook before dropping him with another shot and finishing him on the ground with strikes. Kevin Koldobsky was the first fighter to go the distance with Azaitar as the Moroccan fighter was making his Brave Combat debut. Azaitar was struggling with the height advantage for Koldobsky during the early parts of the fight and he was even dropped in round one. The second half of round one was an absolute brawl as both fighters were looking for knockout punches with Azaitar getting the advantage in the striking exchanges. Kevin was barely surviving at the end of the round. The rest of the fight was dominant as Ottman showed the difference in skill as he arguably won each round 10-8 while maintaining a high pace in his grappling and striking. This fight against Koldobsky was really important to see as the cardio and conditioning of Azaitar was finally tested.

The 2017 campaign was Ottman’s continuation with Brave Combat as he fought twice with consecutive knockout victories. His first opponent was against Charlie Leary as the British fighter was on a five fight winning streak and Leary actually opened the fight against Azaitar with a quick knockdown. Azaitar managed to get to his feet to fight back taking shot for shot with the British boxer before switching to grappling for a brief moment. This round was one of the most insane rounds I’ve ever seen as Azaitar and Leary were just throwing caution to the wind while throwing punches before Ottman eventually finished him in just over two minutes. The next fight for Ottman was for the Brave combat Lightweight world title as he faced off against Alejandro Martinez in a new challenge moving down weight classes. The fight was interesting as Azaitar had the early advantage on the feet but Martinez pushed grappling and was fighting for control before attempting a rear-naked choke on Ottman. The Moroccan was able to shake him off and switch positions before allowing a stand-up where he managed to win the exchanges to close the round. The second round was a solid striking contest as both guys had their moments but Azaitar once again had the advantage landing some heavy shots including a late left hook that hurt Alejandro. The third round started kind of slow but Ottman pushed forward at the one-minute mark landing some nice punches followed by a nasty front body kick to end the fight.

2018 was the biggest year of Ottman’s career as the popular Brave Combat fighter returned in August for his first fight following his championship victory as he faced Danijel Kokora. The crowd was chanting his name loudly from the start of the fight and soon after Ottman landed a left hook that stumbled Kokora before finishing him just 32 seconds into the first round. Following the fight the UFC finally discovered this gem as they offered Ottman a UFC contract in November of 2018 and they booked his first fight with the promotion at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi against Teemu Packlanen.

Teemu Packalen is a tough match-up as the 32 year old Finish fighter is a strong submission grappler with six of his eight victories coming by submission. He was 7-0 when he joined the UFC back in 2015 but he has only fought three times since and his last fight was March of 2017 where he lost by first round knockout against Marc Diakiese. In 2016 he was able to secure a submission victory over Thibault Gouti as he was able to drop the French fighter with an uppercut 13 seconds into the fight before transitioning to the rear-naked choke finish. His recent knockout loss against Marc Diakiese was brutal and it’s a big challenge taking on a fighter like Azaitar that constantly throws power shots.

Watching all of Ottman Azaitar’s fights with the pace and fearlessness he fights at already makes me a fan. He reminds me of Diego Sanchez in a way, as he tends to throw caution to the wind and look for brawls. Much like Sanchez however he still has solid grappling as he looks for the guillotine choke and other submissions when facing a grappler. I also have to be realistic as Azaitar has shown in the Koldobsky, Leary and Martinez fight that he is very hittable and he doesn’t have a strong chin. I’m looking forward to his debut at UFC 242 and I would recommend other MMA fans to look his fights up on YouTube and I especially recommend the Charlie Leary fight.

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