Matthews sees Holbrook as ‘lacking’ ahead of UFC Melbourne encounter


Indianapolis lightweight Andrew Holbrook is all set to go to enemy territory at UFC Fight Night 101, as he meets Australian Jake Matthews in his home city of Melbourne on November 27th. 

After suffering his first defeat at the hands of Joaquim Silva last time out, Holbrook will be keen to get back to winning ways to wash away the bitter taste of that first loss. This time though he’ll have to fly half way around the world, adapt to a different time zone, and face the wrath of a crowd that will be fervently behind their own man.

For Holbrook, it’ll be an excellent chance to garner some name value on a card that features one of the most anticipated middleweight clashes in a long time. Former champion Luke Rockhold meets grappling phenom Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza, with the pair almost neck and neck in the betting stakes. Mere points separate them at 4/5 and 19/20 respectively at

This means there’ll be plenty of media attention at the Rod Laver Arena, and the fans Down Under are always out in force when the UFC juggernaut rolls into town. With Matthews in particular focus as a Melbourne native, the press will be swarming around this contest in particular.

22-year-old Matthews has already been talking a good game ahead of the bout. 

“I never lose a fight in Melbourne and I’m 100% confident about this one,” he told a local news outlet.

However, both are coming off particularly devastating knockout losses, and so how they will react to that is an important factor. Matthews has bounced back from defeat before, reeling off back to back wins after his submission defeat to James Vick last year. For Holbrook, it is unfamiliar territory, and it is often said that the mark of a fighter is how he deals with defeat.

Holbrook showed character is defeating a durable Ramsey Nijem in his UFC debut, going to a tough split decision despite only ever having been out of the first round once in his pre-UFC career. It was evident he had the will, which sets him in good stead for returning from a harsh loss. 

Matthews hasn’t been overly complimentary to Holbrook’s game, which is either a sign of confidence or a sign that he is overlooking the threat posed. 

“His wrestling doesn’t seem that good and his striking lacks a bit,” the ‘Celtic Kid’ offered. Holbrook’s grappling ability has been evident, with 9 of his 11 victories coming via submission, but Matthews believes he’ll struggle to drag him into that range.

Should it reach that point though, BJJ brown belt Matthews has shown good submission offense of his own. He shocked many onlookers by submitting experienced BJJ black belt Vagner Rocha in his second UFC outing. 

Despite the words coming from the Australian, what we realistically have in a well matched encounter between two fighters who really want to prove their worth in the UFC, and rebound from their first knockout defeats. 

Whilst skills will undoubtedly play a large role in this one, it will be a testament to Holbrook’s character if he can come through with a victory. The circumstances are in his opponent’s favour logistically, but that can make the victory so much sweeter. He’ll know that a second consecutive defeat can also mean an exit from the promotion in a time where anyone on the roster is seemingly under threat.

There’s a lot riding on this fight, and that means it should make for a tenacious encounter as part of a card that looks set to deliver; Rockhold vs. Jacare will be the main event, but don’t sleep on a fight with this much on the line.

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