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Prediction: Josh Quinlan vs. Jason Witt | UFC on ESPN 41

Prediction: Josh Quinlan vs. Jason Witt | UFC on ESPN 41

Josh Quinlan

Few fighters have had such an impressive performance on Dana White’s Contender Series as Josh Quinlan.

The fighter from Hawaii wowed the UFC president by dispatching Logan Urban in 47 seconds via punches in the first round. This continued a streak of 100% finishes in his perfect MMA record so far; however, after a positive test for drostanolone post-fight, the result was overturned to a No Contest ruling. However, the NAS controversy did nothing to sway the UFC in pursuing the young contender, so Quinlan will now take on Jason Witt at UFC on ESPN 41 this Saturday.

Witt has fought for the UFC since 2020 and has seen mixed results so far in his career. He has been unable to put together two wins in a row but has also thwarted those who have attempted to see him lose twice in a row. The flip-flopping results have put Witt in a precarious position, he is a massive test for any rising prospect, but he also needs to put together some momentum to secure his future as a fighter. The seasoned wrestler will be a perfect test for the phenom Quinlan.

Quinlan vs. Witt Betting Odds

Right now, Josh Quinlan sits at -240 over Witt. The budding prospect has never lost in his professional career and will be riding a 5-0-1 undefeated streak into the contest.

Quinlan vs. Witt Breakdown

Josh Quinlan is a very explosive, fast twitch, and aggressive fighter. He is and has trained under the tutelage of the Wand Fight Team started by Wanderlei Silva and even teaches Muay Thai for the training organization. He uses a twitchy style, with a low stance and a tight guard, and has quick, explosive bursts and stance switches. His best punches tend to be short hooks, brutal leg kicks, or a wickedly fast right cross. All of these shots are thrown with finishing intent, and he does load up on them, but his innate speed tends to cancel out most of his telegraphing. However, because he loads up and fires with such conviction in everything, his strikes can only come one or two at a time, so we rarely see prolonged combinations or exchanges from Quinlan.

One of the other reasons is that it allows him to stay sustainable. He is incredibly explosive for those two strikes at a time but keeps inactive when he is not throwing. He stays away from flashy footwork or any kind of bouncing in or out movement to balance his gas tank from which his explosion draws.

In terms of grappling, we have seen very little from Quinlan. He has two submission victories on his record, both by rear-naked choke, but these have primarily come when he has put his opponents in dangerous situations on the feet first. His top game is dangerous due to his striking, but he does offer quite a bit of space that a better wrestler like Witt may be able to expose in a way that his prior opponents have not. That being said, if Quinlan can transition to mount while having Witt hurt, what he does too well is use that space to prop his opponents into rolling and giving up the back. In terms of grappling defense, we haven’t seen Quinlan’s guard a great deal, but we know he has a very powerful takedown defense, with heavy hips and strong underhooks built around his ability to explode with his base.

We will see some very entertaining takedown attempts and defense in this matchup, as it’s no secret that Witt’s game plan will be to take Quinlan to the mat. Witt is not only a great wrestler but a very powerful wrestler; his takedowns tend to include slams and blast doubles, with the impact that causes damage in and of itself and rattles his opponents enough to allow him to then assert a position to an even greater degree. One of the knocks on Witt in his last fight was that he was so concerned with keeping Phil Rowe grounded that he neglected opportunities to land ground and pound or even posture; however, patience is key against Quinlan. Quinlan has never seen the final bell, so dragging him into deep waters before taking risks could be a huge asset for Witt, especially if his relentless wrestling approach can sap him. 

Before this can be done, however, Witt has to get in on Quinlan’s legs and set up the takedowns with strikes which is where the big problem is. Witt is not a particularly clean or seasoned striker. In all of his UFC losses to date, he has been finished with strikes, mainly because his punches come in wide, large arcs. He has great power behind them because of this style, but the wide hooks and overhands leave opportunities for slicker strikers to get straight shots inside of them. That being said, Witt does have a nice setup in which he throws, switches stance, and offers a right overhand from southpaw to set up the level change.

Quinlan vs. Witt Prediction

This fight could go two ways. Either Witt drags Quinlan into deep water with his wrestling and tests Quinlan’s conditioning and composure. The other way this fight could go is that Quinlan’s sharp and fast strikes are able to tag Witt while Witt strikes in an attempt to set up the takedown. The latter, I believe, is far more likely. Quinlan’s takedown defense will likely force Witt to take multiple attempts to get Quinlan down. We have also seen Witt dominate on the ground more than once but be unable to cause enough damage that once the two are reset on the feet, there is any wear and tear to dissuade their striking. I think Quinlan is too explosive and sharp for Witt, and with more accurate strikes, he will catch him within the three rounds.

Pick: Josh Quinlan to win (-240 odds at BetUS)

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