The Severe Spotlight: Davey Grant

UFC Vegas 54 prolonged the run of odd top fights the MMA community has seen of late. Namajunas and Esparza, followed by Storley vs MVP. Jan Blachowicz and Aleksander Rakic was called to a halt after Rakic suffered a knee injury early in the third round. Jan called for a rematch with the winner of Teixeira and Procházka. In the co-main event Ryan Spann took a quick submission win over Ion Cutelaba, and Davey Grant the subject of this week’s spotlight finished Louis Smolka in the third round with devastating ground and pound after an onslaught of leg kicks.

Perenial title challenger Katlyn Chookagian turned away Amanda Ribas in a split decision win, whilst Manuel Torres, a debutant fresh off the DWCS, knocked out Frank Camacho in the first round. Britain’s Jake Hadley lost a decision to Allan Nascimento, a rough start for the fellow DWCS alumni.

Viviane Araujo looked great in her win over Andrea Lee, Michael Johnson finished Alan Patrick, Virna Jandiroba took a unanimous decision win over Angela Hill, Tatsuro Taira defeated Carlos Candelario and Andre Petroski snatched up a first round anaconda choke.

England’s Davey Grant was vocal on fight week about his loss streak coming into his bout with Hawaiian fan favourite Louis Smolka. Grant was adamant that whilst wins and losses matter in the trajectory of his career, and his ability to be a provider for his family – his personal goal in fighting goes beyond wins and losses, it’s more that he wants to perform well and be in exciting fights.

An exciting fight he was in. When Davey Grant fights you can expect to see a number of things:

  1. Left hooks
  2. Spinning side/hook kicks
  3. Ferocious body work.
  4. Leg kicks.
  5. Big hook exchanges in the pocket
  6. Adversity

We got all of that in the 10 minutes and 49 seconds the contest lasted. Round one saw Grant dominate. Opening with two low leg kicks that had an immediate effect. Smolka, who was finding open space a problem to deal with the stance switching of Grant attempted to smother him. Grant, seemingly had watched the Morales fight and dealt well with the clinch, offering a shovel right hand on the break.

Grant in that open space punished Smolka with effective, impactful striking. Body teeps, left hooks to the head and to the body. Spinning wheel kicks threatened to rattle the birds’ nests from Smolka’s brain whilst spinning side-kicks left sole of feet imprints on the internal organs of the Hawaiian.

Near the end of the first round, Grant’s work culminated in dropping Smolka with a left jab. He intelligently didn’t follow Smolka to the mat and elected to have him stand. Damage wins fights.

The deficiency in Grants game is that almost all of the shots he throws, are with damaging intentions. Throwing shots with those intentions will have an impact on your gas tank, and he returned to the middle of the cage in the second looking noticeably more spent. Smolka found his way through with a plethora of straight shots, the counters from the Durham man more laboured.

Smolka in the second was the fighter landing the more impactful shots. Grant did his work well in the clinch as he did in the first round, but the efficacy of the work was countered by the adjustments in Smolka’s output.

The third saw the fight come to a dominant conclusion only 49 seconds of the first minute. Those 49 seconds, and the finish itself is the epitome of a Grant fight. He strolls to the middle of the cage and slams a low kick into the calf of Smolka, who switches stance and hops on it immediately. Seconds later he slams another in, Smolka changes stance again. The leg is now so impaired that Smolka, whilst wanting to stand orthodox is so fearful of the leg being struck is almost just standing square.

Smolka now hyper-aware of the leg kick, changes stance frequently, so Grant goes back to the well with a few jabs, feints a low kick causing Smolka to back out and reset, Grand however doesn’t move, and as Smolka comes back into range, in his usual orthodox stance, stings him with another low kick. That is enough for the leg to become useless, Smolka is rooted for a second, before he attempts to regain his balance onto his right leg, isn’t able too and panic shoots.

Grant stuffs the takedown beautifully, guiding Smolka to a belly-down, smashed out position. As Grant postures, Smolka inverts under, likely looking for a leg or a re-guard. Grant has no interest, swipes his legs to one side and lands three viscous ground and pound shots to put Smolka out, and a final coffin nail to ensure his route to the shadow realm had a first-class seat.

Davey Grant is never out of a fight mentally. That’s why he is a pleasure to watch.