Nathaniel Wood lands a left hook in his UFC fight (Zuffa LLC)

The surging British Nathaniel Wood has been on an impressive two-fight run as of late. Since moving to featherweight from 135 pounds, Wood has dispatched Charles Rosa and Charles Jourdain with performances that truly make it seem he is finally coming into his own. While the two names on his divisional resume are both fellow prospects, he has next caught the attention of a UFC crafty veteran in Andre Fili.

Fili, who has seen 19 UFC fights in his career, more than double that of Wood, has fought some of the sport’s best. This includes Calvin Kattar, Yair Rodriguez, and Max Holloway, amongst others, and although his success in the octagon has been mixed, he stands a tough test for anyone. He is coming off of a hard-fought battle and win over Bill Algeo in September.

Betting Odds

Nathaniel Wood will ride his two-fight win streak in as the favorite.

  • Andre Fili: +160 (BetUS)
  • Nathaniel Wood: -190 (BetUS)

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Fight Breakdown

Andre Fili is a long and rangy featherweight at 5’10 and with a reach of 74 inches. This is four inches taller than Wood and an extra five of reach. He will need to utilize these to bridge the gap in technical boxing. That is not to say that Fili is not a supreme striker in his own right, but boxing specifically is a specialty of the Brit. Fili does a good job of constantly switching stance and changing angles in order to find his way in. He has a nice left cross from southpaw, step through to lead left hook, that he will whip wide but sharp in order to wade his way through distance. Largely you will see him depend heavily on his boxing in the opening round, to give his opponents a limited read, and then chain in his body and head kicks afterward.

Andre Fili is predominantly a striker, but sets up his takedowns with strikes tremendously, boxing his way into a high double leg or low waist lock that he can suck in and turn the corner on. While his jiu-jitsu is fairly basic in terms of variety, it’s done extremely sound, he likes to threaten the arm triangle to get to the back as his opponent turns away from the submission, and as any other team alpha male alumni, a guillotine is not far away when his opponent is hurt.

Nathanial Wood has really come into his own as an all-around martial artist. His long boxing is some of the best and it’s largely due to his incredible timing. He will stand very low in a wide stance tagging his opponent with a. long front kick and low kicks until he can slip on the inside and start landing punches. He has a nice long right hand to the head and body. What many people miss is how defensively superior he is to a lot of fighters. He isn’t afraid to stand in the pocket, hiding behind a peek-a-boo guard and then timing his opportunities to counter or intercept shots when his opponent finds him stationary. He is very good at in-the-pocket combinations, landing low calf kicks with little room and timing his outside leg trips the split second he is clinched up.

It’s generally his ability to transition seamlessly to outside striking into his clinch striking and trips that make him unpredictable and hard to read as the range keeps changing. One thing to look out for is a good shell, roll under to counter left hook. However, against Fili, what is most important is to invest in the legs early, ending is combinations with low kicks will work to freeze up some of the movement of Fili later on. In general, Wood should have a technical advantage in the striking but the range can play a part in stuffing that advantage, the more Wood can immobilize Fili and take away his ability to retreat, the better he can look like his usual self.

When Nathanial Wood does complete one of his trip and sweeps, look for him to attack the body lock immediately. He does not necessarily use it to pass often, but in almost every top position he looks to secure the waist. The biggest rule about the body lock is to avoid space, and on the opposite end it forces his opponents to try and create it, which is where Wood will allow them to turn away and expose the back. A lot of the time, they are able to then get up, but regardless it usually ends up two ways, either Wood advances or gets to reset on the feet where he is even more comfortable, rarely does it result in Wood ending up in a vulnerable position himself.


I do think this is a very tough, gritty fight. I see Wood having a harder time starting, with the experience, and patience that comes with the experience and range of Fili. I think that while managing distance is a strength of Wood, we should remember he is still only two fights into a weight jump, and Fili is a sizeable featherweight.

However, I do think that eventually Wood does get those reads and as the fight slows down in the latter half, he will be able to mix things up on the inside and grapple enough to make Fili leave openings.

I do not think that Fili will necessarily leave many opportunities for Wood to finish, but in arguably a close fight, I think Wood leaves with the win in volume output and strategic positional control.

Pick: Nathaniel Wood to win by decision (+120)

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