Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight scrappers Sam Sicilia and Gavin Tucker dueled last night (Feb. 19, 2017) at UFC Fight Night 105 inside Scotiabank Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
For the last few years, Sicilia has occupied the role of gutsy gatekeeper to UFC’s Featherweight division. Unfortunately, he also lost his previous two contests, leaving his UFC future uncertain without a victory. On the other hand, Tucker was pretty much a complete unknown prior to his debut last night. It was hard to find footage online of the Newfoundland-native, but he brought his usual aggressiveness into the cage last night, hoping to extend his unbeaten record.
In perhaps the night’s best performance, he did just that.
Tucker opened the bout with a lot of speed and movement. Sicilia stalked the newcomer, but the Tucker ripped a lot of kicks to the leg and body. Additionally, he did an excellent job of maintaining the outside angle, darting in with a quick cross before exiting outside his foe’s lead hand.
For much of the first round, Tucker’s speed and use of the outside angle perplexed his opponent. Sicilia’s volume dropped very low, and many of his punches were too loaded up. Sicilia was the bigger man, but he couldn’t track down his smaller and sharper opponent.
It was a pretty flawless opening round from the Canadian.
The second round played it out in very similar fashion to the first. Tucker was far faster and used his range too well, forcing Sicilia to reach with power punches. Additionally, he continued to hammer the lead leg with kicks, increasing his speed advantage even further. For the entirety of the round, Tucker scored with a high volume of solid combinations and kicks, while his opponent did little more than absorb damage.
Sicilia absolutely needed a finish in the final round if he was to win the bout.
Sicilia opened the final frame with a bit more aggression, but his opponent was too mobile for him to land effectively. Not only were Tucker’s feet moving expertly, but his head movement was on point as well, as he rolled under his opponent’s punches repeatedly.
Despite his slick defense, Sicilia found a home for his right hand and stunned the Canadian a bit. Sicilia pushed forward and landed a couple more punches, but Tucker tied him up in the clinch and with a takedown. Once he recovered, the two returned to the outside, where Tucker was the sharper kickboxer. Sicilia tried to push and create a brawl, but his body was pretty worn down by all the kicks he absorbed in the first two rounds.
Outside of perhaps 30 seconds of offense from Sicilia in the last round, this bout was all Gavin Tucker.
This bout really displayed what Tucker has to offer as a prospect. Working from the Southpaw stance, Tucker showcased excellent footwork, controlling the outside angle while switching directions. Sicilia loves to throw punches and trade, but he had an insane amount of difficulty tracking his opponent down.
Tucker watched a lot of tape ahead of this fight, and his performance made it obvious. He relied on his kicks from range a ton despite being the smaller man, which is something that Sicilia has struggled with in the past. After slowing his foe down and forcing him to respect the kicks, Tucker then advanced into the pocket and went to work with his fast hands.
Moving forward, Tucker is definitely a fighter to watch. That said, Bantamweight may be in his future, as Tucker was quite a bit smaller than his opponent.
As for Sicilia, he never adjusted. As mentioned, ranged kickers have troubled him in the past, but Sicilia has not developed any sort of answer. Against Tucker, he never really tried to check or catch a kick, nor did he even really try to chase his foe with counter punches.
He simply ate the kick and reset. Then, Tucker would throw another kick. Sicilia would eat the kick and reset. Pretty soon, Tucker realized he could kick without consequence, so he did just that.
Had Sicilia mixed in a takedown attempt or really gotten aggressive in his pursuit early, things may have been different. Unfortunately for him, this is likely the end of his UFC run, as the new owners have been releasing lots of athletes and Sicilia has lost three straight.
Last night at UFC Fight Night 105, Gavin Tucker picked apart Sam Sicilia. Is Tucker a future contender?
For complete UFC Fight Night 105: “Browne vs. Lewis” results and play-by-play, click HERE!
Source:: mma mania