We have a very exciting co-main event coming this weekend on Halloween night, October 31, as Bryce ‘Thug Nasty’ Mitchell and Andre ‘Touchy’ Fili go at it in the 145 lb division.
This is Mitchell’s first real step up in competition since joining the UFC, and it’s the perfect time for it. ‘Thug Nasty’ has looked unstoppable since coming over off The Ultimate Fighter 27. He won the V3 Fights Featherweight Championship and defended it once before being cast on the show.
While Mitchell went 1-1 on the show, he’s gone 4-0 in the UFC since, with his two most recent victories coming via submission (twister) over Matt Sayles, and a unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-24) over Charles Rosa.
He became just the second man in UFC history to secure a twister submission, and Rosa is a dangerous and crafty BJJ black belt that he just mauled from start to finish, and nearly submitted multiple times. Mitchell’s wrestling, and particularly his MMA grappling is some of the very best in the sport.
His awareness on the mat, along with his positions, ground-and-pound, and set ups, it’s all seamed together quite perfectly. He doesn’t get tired either, he just moves forward one-hundred percent of the time looking to attack and improve position.
Andre Fili is more of a striker that mixes takedowns in sometimes. His takedown defense isn’t the best, but he is decent at offensive takedowns, though they don’t compare to Mitchell’s. Just like Mitchell’s kickboxing doesn’t compare to Fili’s.
‘Touchy’ has always had very fluent striking, his punches just roll right off his shoulders like someone who’s been hitting pads his whole life.
Fili has been with the UFC since 2013, where he came in with a 12-1 record, with his only defeat coming in the fifth round of a title fight, a fight he lost because of a knee injury. That was his only defeat upon joining, but he’s had some consistency problems since coming over.
Fili’s record now is 21-7, meaning he’s gone 9-6 inside the octagon. He hasn’t won more than two-straight since his promotional debut, though his last two defeats should argue that.
He lost a split decision to Michael Johnson, a fight that could’ve easily went his way, and he lost a unanimous decision to Sodiq Yusuff, a fight he definitely should have gotten the nod in. So really, ‘Touchy’ could easily be 23-5, rather than 21-7, and on a seven-fight win streak.
‘Touchy’ should be ranked, he’s certainly a top 15 featherweight, but these inconsistencies hinder him in that. At 30-years-old, now’s the time for him to really start stringing wins together.
Mitchell is still just 26-years-old, he just turned 26 earlier this month, he has all the time in the world to continue improving, and he’s already ranked at No. 15.
Unfortunate decisions sure do change a lot in a fighters career, Fili’s proof of that. In order for him to win this fight, he’s going to have to keep it on the feet; the only featherweight that could beat ‘Thug Nasty’ on the mat is probably Brian Ortega, that’s how good Mitchell’s grappling is.
If Mitchell can get Fili down, it’s a wonder of whether he’ll be able to get the finish or not.
We know he’s as relentless as they come once he gets his opponents down; his ground-and-pound is second to none, and his submissions are very well versed as well, he can catch his opponents with just about anything he really tries for, not to mention the diversity and effectiveness of his takedowns.
Another thing that makes this fight super interesting is that it’ll be hosted in Las Vegas at the Apex Facility, meaning it’ll be in the smaller cage. As we’ve seen over the last several months, that generally tends to favor the grappler. Not every time of course, but most of it.
Fili stands 5’11” and boasts a 74” reach, while Mitchell stands 5’9” with a 70” reach. This is an incredible match up with such a conflicting contrast of styles, which almost always makes for an exciting fight. Note that neither of these two have been in a boring fight, and it makes for a great co-main event this weekend on Halloween night.
Will Fili make it two-straight by defeating Mitchell, or will Mitchell improve to 14-0 and continue moving up the featherweight rankings?