GORDON VS GRAHAM: THE BATTLE FOR TKO FLYWEIGHT SUPREMACY
When you look back at the career of Malcolm “X” Gordon (9-3-0, 4 KO, 3 sub), you can’t help but notice the wealth of experienced fighters he has shared the cage with. Names like Randy Turner, Austin Ryan, Mike Davis all appear on his record, which also includes a victory over UFC veteran Chris Kelades. Add to that the fact the he trains out of the Adrenaline Training Centre under the tutelage of TKO’s greatest champion, Mark “The Machine” Hominick, and you have to admit that it is just fitting that on March 16th, Gordon will have a chance to become the inaugural TKO flyweight champion when he takes on the upstart Jordan “The Canadian Phenom” Graham (2-0, 1 KO, 1 sub) from Belleville, Ontario.
You’d think he’d be oozing with confidence… but you’d be wrong. We caught up with Malcolm Gordon earlier this week and he noted that, in his mind, he’s not the favorite coming into this fight. “Oddly enough, I see myself as the underdog” he noted. “Jordan is a young fighter who’s hungry to make a name for himself and that makes him a dangerous opponent. Experience is definitely my advantage but either way it’s a great matchup and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.”
In contrast, it seems to be Graham who is approaching this fight with his head held high ad very self-aware. “I’m always very confident in what my team and I bring to the table” said the young man who competed in his first pro fight just over one year ago. “I feel he has been in the sport for longer but I have the specific skills to make this a bad night for anyone in the TKO flyweight division. I’m very excited to win the belt and very humbled for this opportunity to say the least.” This matchup is also very intriguing as it is actually Gordon who has the reach advantage despite being 3 inches shorter than his young foe. However, he will be conceding a full 7 inches of leg reach to Graham so one has to believe that the striking game will be key in determining the outcome of the fight, something both men have a reputation for being strong at.
“I’ve been told I’m one of the hardest hitting flyweights out there so I think that definitely gives me the edge” said Gordon. “He’s long and moves well for his size but he’s not the biggest I’ve faced. He’s very experienced in striking and Thai boxing but he’s still a baby when it comes to MMA. My well-roundedness is going to expose some issues for this young pup, we’ll just have to find out how he reacts.”
Graham also praised his opponent’s skillset, but also pointed out that there were flaws he planned to exploit: “I feel he has good BJJ skills, all right offensive boxing and good footwork but much like Tony (Laramie whom Graham defeated at TKO41), he is not used to being pressured and having the fight brought to him. The greatest advantage I have is my extensive durability. He comes from a class act gym but at the end of the day, this is business. I’m going to be the most creative opponent he has ever fought. That combined with my ability to take him out whenever I want makes for an extremely challenging night in his shoes.”
One thing is for certain and that is TKO fans will be in for quite a show when these two young guns bring speed, power and agility to the cage next week in the hopes of becoming the first TKO flyweight champion. No matter who comes out on top, the champion will be hard to dethrone.
TKO42: Nogueira vs Laramie goes down Friday, March 16th at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec. Tickets are on sale now at www.evenko.ca and at the Place Bell box office. If you can’t be there in person, you can catch all the action live on UFC Fight Pass worldwide and in Canada on the Fight Network.
– Story by Patrick Lono, TKO