China may not boast an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion anymore, but promising talent continues to emerge from “The Middle Kingdom.” On this edition of “New Blood,” the series where Wu Lin Feng entrenches itself as my nemesis more and more with each international event, we look at a promising young Contender Series graduate fighting out of Chengdu who will debut this weekend (Sat., June 11, 2022) at UFC 275 in Kallang, Singapore.
As always, all episodes of the most recent season can be found on ESPN+.
Weight Class: Lightweight
Record: 6-1 (3 KO)
Notable Victories: Achilles Estremadura
Maheshate — who trains alongside the likes of Flyweight contender Sumudaerji — entered the final week of 2021’s Contender Series as the biggest underdog on the card. Undaunted, he survived an early knockdown to dominate Achilles Estremadura and become the show’s first Chinese graduate.
Full disclosure: all of my analysis here comes from the Estremadura fight. Wu Lin Feng, the promotion in which he spent most of his career, doesn’t have a video archive to my knowledge and his professional debut in M-1 is paywalled. Such are the tribulations I face for y’all’s sake.
The 6’0” Maheshate appears to have two distinct modes depending on how much momentum he has. Early on, he was largely content to fire off large quantities of low kicks and front kicks in an apparent effort to goad Estremadura into rushing in, at which point he looked to land either check hooks or ramrod right-hand pull counters. Once he got more comfortable and Estremadura started to fade, he began taking the lead with flying knees, spinning attacks, and step-in punching flurries, plus an assortment of elbows that ranged from sneaky to wildly impractical. He’s seemingly got the cardio to throw volume for all three rounds and absorbed a lot of fire from Estremadura without wilting, so it appears mighty difficult to slow him down.
He does have several issues, though, and they’re mostly defensive. He leaves his chin up at virtually all times, brings his left hand back at his waist, has gotten clipped when retreating because he was too busy trying to counter, and can overcommit when on the attack. Still, these are all fixable and he’s still young, so I wouldn’t label any of those problems as game-breaking.
As for his grappling, your guess is as good as mine.
Maheshate’s promising, fighting out of a solid camp, and still has plenty of time to smooth out those rough edges. He’s a lower-middle-of-the-pack kind of guy at the moment, but the potential’s there for something greater.
Opponent: He squares off with Steve Garcia, a former Bantamweight who missed the 135- and 145-pound limits in consecutive fights before settling at 155 pounds. Garcia can match Maheshate’s height and showed both durability and decent grappling last time out, so I have to favor him barring some big behind-the-scenes improvements on Maheshate’s part.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 275 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN2/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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