The Ultimate Fighter 18

Former Title Challenger Moraga Out, Ozkilic in vs. Uyenoyama at UFC on Fox 9

Apr 20, 2013; San Jose, CA, USA; Darren Uyenoyama prepares to fight Joseph Benavidez (not pictured) during the flyweight bout prelims of the UFC on Fuel TV at HP Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Riley KontekFeatured ColumnistNovember 26, 2013

Another injury has forced a reshuffle at UFC on Fox 9, as former UFC Flyweight Championship challenger John Moraga has dropped out of his scheduled bout with Darren Uyenoyama. In his place is a top flyweight outside the UFC in Alp Ozkilic.

This signing has further bolstered the flyweight division, which keeps getting bigger and more talented as the days go by. Ozkilic, considered by many to be a top-five 125er outside the company, will certainly make the division even more talented.

Ozkilic's signing comes on the heels of the signing of his flyweight teammate Josh Sampo, who will compete this weekend at The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale. Both men were college wrestling teammates who train out of St. Charles MMA in Missouri.

Ozkilic is much like Sampo in that he is a good wrestler with a solid submission base. The difference between Ozklic and Sampo is that Alp is probably the more powerful of the two, especially in the striking category.

He has especially shown that power and potential in his latest two outings, both of which came via knockout. After pasting journeyman Josh Robinson with nasty ground-and-pound, Ozkilic notched the biggest win of his career when he blasted through UFC vet Antonio Banuelos in just 30 seconds.

His matchup opposite of Uyenoyama provides an interesting chess match. Uyenoyama is a good wrestler that relies on his ground game to suffocate opponents. That may be tough against a better wrestler such as Ozkilic.

Most of Alp's wins come via decision, showing that he can grind guys out as needed; however, one would think his plan here is to use his wrestling defensively while he chips away at Uyenoyama on the feet.

Alp's only loss came back in April of last year, when he fell to current UFC bantamweight Chico Camus. Since then, however, he has grown leaps and bounds, showing to be a different fighter to this day.

The fight will take place on the prelims. Though the loss of Moraga is unfortunate, it's great to see the UFC ink a future title contender like Ozkilic.

Stay tuned for more information from Bleacher Report as breaking news rolls in.


Follow me on Twitter for MMA news and other random thoughts (@RileyKontekMMA). Or don't; that's cool too.

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