Legacy Fighting Alliance standout, Austin Lingo fights Jacob Kilburn on Fight Island on January 16. Before we start the new year, let’s take a closer look at a bout that should be getting more attention. The orthodox Lingo (7-1) entered the big leagues with a lot of steam. With seven professional wins and most from LFA, it was clear Lingo was an athlete with a high ceiling. Similarly, Kilburn (8-3) has also done most of his work outside the UFC banner but displays strong finishing ability. Although the card is headlined by the former champion, Max Holloway and Kalvin Kattar, there’s plenty of violence to sink your teeth into with this featherweight banger.
Prior to his debut in the UFC, Lingo’s reputation for finishing fights early began to solidify. In fact, before coming up short against Dana White Contender Series prospect, Youssef Zalal, Lingo nailed down three finishes in a row at LFA. After reaching out to the Fortis MMA athlete, I asked him about his thought process right before the glove touch since he tends to start so quickly. He responded with, “At the start of the fight I just try to stay completely calm. Even when we touch gloves, I just try to relax and be completely calm in that moment.” In addition, the featherweight prospect mentioned the quality training he is receiving at Fortis MMA.
Following our discussion, Lingo dropped a few names that got him ready for the January 16. event. Most notably, Damon Jackson, Steven Peterson, and JP Buys all had a hand in his evolution. Conversely, Kilburn came up short in his Contender Series debut. The young Kilburn struggled against Bobby Moffet, and then Billy Quarantillo. Despite those setbacks, the young featherweight continues to improve. However, how he handles the quick combinations of Lingo early-on will be a huge factor heading into fight night. Also, given the Judoka pedigree of Kilburn, Lingo’s distance management will be essential. Instead of longer combinations, if Lingo can utilize movement and single strike variations, the gap for Kilburn to hit a takedown will be less viable.
First UFC show of 2021
In such an unforgiving division, one mistake is enough to lose the fight. Especially when two power punchers meet in the middle. After the winter break, the will return in 2021 with a renewed sense of violence. Above all, great opportunities await the winner of Lingo vs. Kilburn as the featherweight landscape begins to clear for the first quarter of 2021.