The Severe Spotlight: Billy Goff

This week had three contenders for the Severe Spotlight, but body shots like this are enough to sway any mortal being.

Billy Goff earned his spot on this historic Singapore card with a first-round stoppage on Dana White Contender Series back in August 2022 – a year later he makes the walk for his debut under the lights of the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Waiting a year for your UFC debut is a tough situation to contend with; the UFC is every fighter’s ticket to “real money” within the sport, exposure and of course the chance to work their way toward a title shot.

But making the walk into enemy territory, with the weight of a years layoff on his back did not seem to phase Goff one iota.

From second one there was a buzz to Goff’s movement, his face contorted with concentration, his orthodox stance fizzing with energy as he bounced on the balls of his feet. He needed the movement too, as Kinoshita came out in his home region looking to put on a show. Goff contended with a high kick and a couple of nice left hands before we reached twenty seconds in the bout.

On the resets, Goff touched the legs of Kinoshita with some inside low kicks – a range finder and a deterrent. The first body shot lands with 4:25 on the clock. Goff slips a shot and comes right up the middle with an uppercut to the gut of Kinoshita. This is pivotal because the exchange before, Goff had slipped a left hand and landed a right hand of his own. The realisation of the type of fight he was in had settled the mind of Goff, and he had begun to find the cracks. The body was the big one.

Immediately right back to the well with a left body kick saw him eat a four-shot combination from Kinoshita. Make no mistake, this is how the fight goes. Kinoshita banging away desperate for head shots, and Goff landing up and down the body of the Japanese fighter. 4:04 on the clock saw a perfect example of just that, Goff lands a right hand, slips a shot from Kinoshita, and goes into an inside leg kick before closing the distance into a clinch exchange. What does he throw on the way out? A knee to the body.

Now, we are at 3:44 on the clock and the momentum has altered slightly. Kinoshita is no longer beating down the door of the canvas floor with his forward pressure – it is Goff who is cutting off the cage and stalking his man. Kinoshita with the same gameplan of beating the head, and the head only. But these subtle differences in offensive footwork, begin to tell the unravelling ball of wool to this fight.

Goff has seen and is using the slip to the outside of the left hand as an opening for the right body hook. He has and does look for it many times in this fight, but the angle he chooses crowds him a little when landing the shot, the intention is great, the execution needing some work.

The third minute of the fight both men exchange blows, Goff’s confidence has risen as he has proven to himself that he can get to Kinoshita, Kinoshita on the other hand has been landing his shots all night long.

The stabbing teep to the body, the slip right hands to the body, the continuous inside low kicks draw big breaths from Kinoshita.

1:48 – Kinoshita’s body language after taking the right hook to the body followed by the right hook to the head is telling. He pushes Goff back and immediately dives into a flying knee. Those sorts of techniques are often used in tandem with a fighter desperate for space, for respect and for time. The hands have come down more toward the mid-section, the elbows a little more tucked toward the ribs and the next exchange see’s Goff land a clean left hook, followed by a body shot and an uppercut.

Goff is very clever in the next twenty seconds. Every chance to slip a shot he slips to the inside pocket and bangs away at the body, any chance he has in the mid-range, he is banging straight shots into Kinoshita and of course, in the resets, the inside low kick is there. This is clever because the read made at three minutes and change earlier was lodged in the brain of Goff, solidified, and worked upon. Goff has grown and added and watered and sewn the fruits he is finding only 3 minutes later.

No more than a single exchange later do we see Goff land the exact same shot, a slip right hand counter from a Kinoshita short right hook. The first lands on the arm of Kinoshita, the second lands perfectly into the gut and like any perfect body shot, there is a minute delay before the crushing grimace, the loss of air, the internal contortion, and the inevitable drop to the canvas.  

Like a robot, Goff cuts the angle to cover the hip facing the cage, meaning if Kinoshita survives, he must get-up toward the cage, and begins to ground and pound the side of Kinoshita’s head. Collapsing back to a fetal position, Goff needs to land only a handful more strikes to the guard of Kinoshita before he is handed his first win in the UFC proper, across the other side of the world, after a display of beautiful body work.

Trust your gut, indeed Mr Goff.

Goff is a finisher, and he built up through the gears in that fight to put Kinoshita away. We can expect fun from this man in the future.

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