The Severe Spotlight: Jalin Turner

Stepping in on short notice should forever forge positive foundations of a relationship between fan and fighter. It’s an undertaking of large, multi-faceted risk for a fighter at any level to do so. Even more so stepping into a co-main event of a UFC card, against a veteran like Bobby Green. Add to that Turner was coming into the fight riding a two-fight losing streak, close fights against Hooker and Gamrot.

When taking a short notice fight, a fighter must contend with readying the body, mind, and soul for competition. They must engage in often drastic, and sometimes dangerous weight cuts (should a catchweight be agreed). They often scramble together a gameplan for the fighter they are stepping in to fight. There is then the travel, altered life plans and the stress of a fight week to contend with.

In a pre-fight interview Turner alluded to the fact that he had previously turned down this opportunity but had been strong armed into the fight by the promotion. We can speculate as to why, likely due to the two-fight losing skid he was riding prior. This brought about another stark realisation about the leverage that fighters have when competing in large promotions such as the UFC. Your career inside a promotion can be used as a bargaining chip. A career that for Turner has lasted 6 years and 13 performances.

With those stresses adorn his back, he rides into fight week, rides into the weight cut, completing both before going on to dismantle Bobby Green in 169 seconds.

The fight begins with a stiff left hand, from the hip as we have become accustomed to with Bobby Green. Turner immediately sets the beat to his tempo with a clean 1-2, countering the low stamp kick of Green.

Turner, with his frame and length has an ability to command space unlike many other fighters in the 155lb division. At 6”3 he stands tall above his opponents, the long teep he offers is a fantastic lance to keep people away – however in the first twenty seconds, it is the feinting threat of this, alongside his eyeline gaze that causes Green the most problems. Initially Turner countered the stamp with the 1-2, next he switches as the kick comes.

Green opts to go back up top with the lancing left he opened the contest with and is met with a right hook counter from Turner. The length provides Turner with invaluable time, he can see the shots coming, he can feel his opponent begin to load up to breach the larger distance and so can set his feet, as he does in this exchange and pick his shot.

The stamp kick to the knee proved an interesting problem for Turner to solve as the single shot alone proved difficult to counter with punches over the top, Turner opted to not catch the kick and look to attempt to enter grappling situations. Instead, he allowed Green to gain confidence in the kick, waited until Green threw his second and third shot behind the stamp, angled off to his left and as Green was forced to square up the angle, landed a beautiful 1-2.

From that moment the blood was in the water for Turner. He felt as though he had figured the puzzle, and he had reduced Green to the set of offensive options that would allow him to wade on forward and land more freely. This freedom began with more diverse kicking options, a left high kick blocked by the forearms, a teep, an outside low kick.

He went back to the left high kick with 2:48 left on the clock and landed to the side of Green’s head. The usual Green nonchalance vanishes as he enters the clinch, and upon reset immediately looks to check a non-existent high kick.

Green is formally wobbled by a right hand down the pipe. Turner used a flick of a left low kick to subtly switch stances, closing the distance between Green and himself. A double pumped jab setup the right hand deep into the centre line, and the legs of Green were vastly unstable after taking it.

Turner swarmed, taking Green to the mat with a second right hand. From here, we must maintain two opinions, this fight was finished after the initial 4-5 strikes on the ground, intelligent defence is not covering the sides of your head and praying for your opponent to stop striking you. The referee in this situation allowed the fight to continue for an egregious amount of time, his positioning was perfect, and this lays further into the dismay of forcing Green to take the damage he did in this closing sequence.

On the other hand, for Turner he played by the rules. The rules are to engage until the referee calls a halt to the contest, and that’s what he did.  Crushing blows landed from Turner until Green eventually went unconscious from the damage. Turner rises from the limp body and screams into the crowd. Not only did he likely save his career with the performance, but he proved to himself that he was still the fighter he thinks he is.

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