Jack “Tank” Shore suffered his first professional loss last July at the hands of Ricky Simon. That brought Shore’s professional record to 16-1 and his UFC record to 5-1. It also was the catalyst for his move up from 135 to 145; this will be his first fight at featherweight.
Makwan “Mr. Finland” Amirkhani, 34, is 6 years older than Shore and has a significant edge in UFC experience. Under the UFC banner, Akirkhani is 7-6 with 5 finish wins and 3 finish losses.
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Shore, despite his recent loss to the surging Simon, is a prospect to watch. I truly believe he’ll be a contender for the belt in the next few years. He is a highly skilled fighter who does everything in the cage with proper technique. He takes his time, picks his shots, and makes opponents pay for even the smallest mistake. Diving deeper, Shore is an orthodox striker with crispy boxing and an ability to land at range consistently. He moves fluidly for his frame, which was large for 135, and smoothly while striking. His hands are quick, his punches are straight, and his timing is impeccable.
Beyond his excellent striking, Shore has high-level wrestling and an innate ability to transition to the back, especially when clinched against the cage. Lastly, and possibly most importantly for his future title aspirations, Shore has excellent cardio and an ability to keep his methodical pace up for an entire fight. The only times we’ve seen Shore struggle have come against stocky wrestlers, Simon and Azure, who were able to take “Tank” down or reverse position on the mat while Shore was going for a submission attempt. The size difference between these two 135ers and Shore posed issues for “Tank” that the move up to 145 should rectify.
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Amirkhani has 1 round of aggression and cardio, after that, he is typically gassed and struggles to avoid being finished. Beyond his cardio issues, Amirkhani consistently struggles with rangy kickboxers, like Murphy and Kirk, who can keep him at bay and force him to use even more energy when trying to wrestle. Amirkhani also struggles against persistent wrestlers who can push “Mr. Finland” back and to his back where he spends meaningful minutes attempting defensive submissions and meaningful energy trying to stand up. The fighter that Amirkhani has consistently beat is the slow-starting striker or the sloppy wrestler. Amirkhani will look to wrestle immediately and do so aggressively.
His wrestling is rooted in strength and odd angles rather than technique, but it is undeniably effective in round 1. If he can successfully get his opponent down, “Mr. Finland” is a real submission threat from top position and has consistently found finishes in the first 5 minutes. Additionally, if a wrestler shoots lazily on him, Amirkhani is capable, even with depleted cardio, to take advantage of a small opening and find a submission finish against the cage or from his back. Amirkhani is always dangerous because of his 1st round burst and live submission threat; but, he consistently struggles against intelligent fighters who mind their Ps and Qs.
Prediction and Betting Guide
Shore is well-schooled, highly technical, well-rounded, and patient. He has the range to give Amirkhani fits on the feet, the defensive grappling to safely keep the fight standing, and the intelligent wrestling necessary to get “Mr. Finland” to the mat.
Stylistically, Shore is set up for success. So long as the move up to featherweight, something that seemed inevitable given his frame, doesn’t cause issues and so long that Amirkhani doesn’t land a Hail Mary submission, Shore should win this fight any way he chooses. Given Shore’s boxing prowess and Amirkhani’s notable cardio issues, I like Shore to piece up Amirkhani early and find the finish late.
Best Bet: Shore wins inside the distance (-140)