The Severe Spotlight: Jake Hadley

The jump from Cage Warriors alum to the UFC is a road well-travelled; however, it is a road travelled in different methods. The lip of the Jake Hadley steam train found an Allan Nascimento sized speed bump on his UFC debut, before battling through the winds of a Carlos Candelario first round storm; eventually subduing the chaos with a second round triangle.

This fight against Malcolm Gordon felt like the first smooth cruise the Hadley train had experienced in the UFC, in his home country, a short trip from Birmingham; Hadley arrived.

What can be gleaned from a minute and changes work are principally three things. Confidence is the first. Inside five seconds Hadley stalks Gordon in that southpaw stance, frustrating Gordons lead hand and dominantly winning the outside foot battle. That confidence is an asset, and is demonstrated by how little respect he gives Gordon in the exchanges. Hadley marches into the pocket, with his wide stance and is happy to take the jab from Gordon in order to land the left hook moments later.

Some low kicks are traded, and Hadley finds himself slightly too deep in the pocket, this highlights the downside of the confidence, but leads into our second learning. The search for dominance, this is effervescent in Hadley’s in-cage and out of cage persona. At 04:18 on the clock he is chasing Gordon down hard with jabs and cage cutting, he wants to infect Gordons mind with doubt at how little respect he is paying to the returned goods of Gordon. Hadley wants to be first and wants to be last in each of the exchanges.

Hadley shows Gordon the setup to the finish at 04:09, leaning on that will for dominance, and bolstered by that confidence Hadley bounds in, right shoulder high, left hand glued to his temple. Gordon tries to stop the eroding pressure of Hadley by taking a larger step back and using that as a trap for Hadley to fall into. Gordon plants his feet and looks to throw a right hand, left hook combination, stepping through with the left hook to close the gap. Hadley smartly takes a short backstep to evade the right hand, and see’s the left hook, ducking to his right hand side landing a strong left hand to the body, causing Gordon to wince and cover up.

Hadley, a little rushed in his movement staggers back, looks to pounce on Gordon, who is still reeling from the last shot. The third and final learning is precision. Hadley immediately in the next exchange lands a clean jab, shifts back, out of the pocket, watches the right hand come from Gordon and meets it with a rocket of a left hand to the body, Gordon crumples immediately. In the immediate aftermath, Hadley thinks Gordon is shooting, so sprawls aggressively but as he feels no further progression attempt from Gordon, begins to build to his feet, keeping a right-hand post to measure Gordons movements. Gordon is retreating to his back, as Hadley erects his moniker of a gorilla and begins to bang the drum of victory on Gordons head, a succession of hammerfists bring the fight to its crescendo before referee Marc Goddard steps in and calls a halt to the action.

Confidence, a search for dominance and precision. Hadley will need to continue to master those three skills as he marches onward in the 125lb division, but with those three skills in his inventory, he is a dangerous fighter.

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