Both Aori Qileng and Cameron Else desperately need a win this coming Saturday when they face off in the UFC octagon. Else, who made his UFC debut last October in a loss to Kyler Philips wants to demonstrate to UFC fans why those familiar with his six-fight win streak leading into his UFC contract had those in the know so excited for his coming. With a total record of 10-5, Else also boasts a 100% finish rate in the fights he won, even distributing his talents between 5 KO wins and 5 submissions.
Aori Qileng has had two fights in the UFC so far, and both have been hard-fought on the razor edge decision losses. Although on paper both were unanimous, they were competitive to the point where it did cause some fans to raise eyebrows. Leading into his UFC debut, Aori succeeded in producing an impressive record of 20-9, a similar win to loss ratio as Else but with far more experience. Like Else as well, his goal now is to recreate the same success he had outside the UFC’s octagon, now within.
Aori Qileng will walk into the cage as a -225 favorite over the American.
- Aori: -225
- Else: +185
Aori and Else are fascinating opponents for one another because their skills challenge the potential holes that the other has shown in the past. Aori is an extremely aggressive fighter, he’s well rounded but the constancy in both his stand up and grappling ability is that he always likes to be the one pushing the fight. Both he and Else put far more emphasis on power-punching than just scoring techniques, but in Aori’s case, it’s from a heavy base and forward momentum. He has an odd bobbing and weaving style that is difficult to read, and also enhances his style of punching which comes over the shoulder of his bobbing movement and with big uppercuts as he rises levels. His movement is odd but works in unison with his strikes. However, the wildness in it at the same time leaves his head exposed without a guard sometimes, and should his bobbing style be predicted, he does take shots that land extremely directly to the head. That being said, with his forward pressure, he does often exchange with his opponent mostly while they are on the back foot.
This is dangerous with Else, especially in the first round. Although in his most recent fights, Else has shown a style more composed and patient, mostly looking to counter, we have also seen him in the past entertaining a more brawling approach where his power is tested against his opponents. Favoring a wild flurry of hooks when fighting this way, Else makes full use of his speed and innate punching power, however, should Aori not come out his usual aggressive self right away, Else’s more common approach resembles a pressure heavy counter style. He will march his opponents down and look to counter with one big punch if they lash out. The downside to this is, while he puts enough to potentially end it in every shot, if he misses, there isn’t usually much in terms of follow up punches to make up for hitting air, so it’s imperative he lands these or he tends to fall behind on volume and activity.
However, the other aspect of Else’s game is that he tends to draw out his opponent’s takedowns underneath his big looping power punches, which then brings them right into the best aspect of his submission style. Else has a great Darce and Anaconda system which he then also chains into guillotines and back takes, but ultimately it all starts with that front headlock position. He is good on top and has a tricky and active guard but by far he is most dangerous in scrambles when he can snatch onto the neck in transition. For Aori, who utilizes a variety of takedown methods, leaning into his clinch work against the cage to get throws and trips may be a safer bet than shooting and risking his neck against Else.
Both men throw heavy leather, and both men have a style that is always looking for a finish. However the greatest difference between them I believe is seen through the duration of their fights. Every one of Else’s wins have come in the first round via KO or submission, and he fights like he knows it’s his best bet. His punches are not meant to be cumulative, which is why he has so much confidence throwing just one or two at a time, because he knows that if he puts everything into them, it should only take one or two. At the same time, the times which we have seen him enter the second round, especially in his UFC debut, he seemed a less confident fighter, offering less resistance and giving up position more easily. For Aori, he is a bit slower and less crisp than Else, but he often comes on strong late and maintains his aggressiveness and pace, so for him, it will be about going against his usual instincts and instead really calculating himself in the first round, If he can compete with Else while maintaining some level of safety, the latter rounds become far more advantageous for him.
I believe that the outcome of the fight will depend largely on what occurs in the first round. If Else can force Aori into a battle of aggression and ego, I think Else is faster and has a bit more one-punch KO power. However, if Aori can balance his aggression correctly and force Else into rounds two and three, I think that steadily Aori maintains his composure better than Else.
Prediction: Aori Qileng to win
Braeden Arbour is an aspiring journalist out of Ontario, Canada. He is a recent graduate of Trent University, with a black belt in Karate and a blue belt in Judo. He has also been an avid fan of MMA for the last decade.