When a new lightweight or welterweight gets signed, it usually means someone got injured. These divisions are packed to the rafters with talented fighters waiting for their shot, waiting for that potential short notice callup to step onto the big stage. The newest, and latest member of that cadre of last-minute matchups is Anthony Christodoulou. He’ll make his UFC debut at UFC on Fox 14: Gustafsson vs. Johnson on January 24th in Stockholm, Sweden. Sherdog.com first reported the news. So…
Who is Anthony Christodoulou?
A Greek-born American fighter who has made the bulk of his career fighting out of Greece, 27-year old Tony Christodoulou will enter the UFC most recently having trained out of Fight Lab Yokkao in Bangkok, Thailand. Although, I am almost certain that will not be his camp for his UFC debut. For his most recent US bouts, he’s been training out of Renzo Gracie Brooklyn, where he’ll be for a fight in Sweden, I’m not sure. Christodoulou makes his way to the octagon with a 12-4 (although I’ve seen him listed at 16-4) record having started his pro career 0-3, before going 12-1 over the next four years. His only loss since his early stretch came to current UFC lightweight Yosdenis Cedeno. His record isn’t otherwise notable, although wins over Erik Uresk (wrestling coach for Phuket Top Team) and Alexis Savvidis at least look good on paper. Also notable, in keeping with recent UFC late callups, Christodoulou recently dropped to featherweight, and I’d expect him to return to the division, win or lose after his UFC debut.
What you should expect:
As a grappling based fighter first and foremost, the rest of Christodoulou’s game hasn’t really developed that well. He’s mostly an arm puncher, and while he throws his hands quickly and in volume, he often does so with his chin up and reaching way out over his his feet. His wrestling game isn’t all that advanced either, he’s more dependent on opponents willingly taking the fight to the ground, or making mistakes, than he is a real natural takedown threat. Once on the ground, he’s got a very heavy, positionally solid top game, and does a good job to stay active as he hunts for submission opportunities. His biggest assets, overall, are his size and toughness. He was a pretty big lightweight and will make for a really big featherweight. Despite his striking woes he’s never been KO’d. All of this together means that he’s likely to be one of those fighters that drags better competition into ugly, sloppy brawls, potentially even taking a few upset wins because of it.
What this means for his debut:
There’s every chance that Mairbek Taisumov lets himself be drawn into one of those brawls. He has had notable problems with output, and is far too willing to clinch and grind for a fighter as striking dependent as he is. Still, he’s got a beastly kicking game, and is a much more well rounded and technically adept fighter than Christodoulou. Even in the chance that Christodoulou can make this a very ugly fight, I would still say it’s Taisumov’s fight to lose.
To get us better acquainted, here’s Christodoulou’s 2013 fight against John Ortolani:
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