Arnold Allen’s Chance For Contendership Sustainability
By James Lee
Tonight’s event in Las Vegas poses a substantial question for Arnold Allen; will victory ensure meaningful progression in the sport, or will it be just another tally on his record like some of his most recent contests.
Despite accumulating a hugely successful record of seven wins and zero losses since his introduction into the sport’s pinnacle promotion in 2015, the Ipswich fighter has fallen victim to the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business as his combat activity has fluctuated.
Over a year has departed from his last outing and victory against Nik Lentz and as each month passes, the recognition of his wins are progressively forgotten.
Even his victory against veteran Gilbert Melendez in the preliminary headliner at an international fight week card failed to materialise into long-term traction, despite the performance being almost flawless. A perfect, slow depiction of one of the sport’s legends in a high pressure environment deservedly received lofty praise, yet was quickly swallowed by the event’s subsequent moments. Wins over notable names like Mads Burnell and Makwan Amirkhani have also failed to materialise as hoped.
Nonetheless, he has still managed to acquire the number ten spot in the UFC featherweight rankings, and a fight with a fellow ranked opponent this weekend.
Sodiq Yusuff has similarly amassed immediate success in the 145 lbs division since his debut; winning four, with his latest win against Andre Fili being particularly noteworthy. The Nigerian fighter has yet to garner that mainstream attention Allen is likewise looking for, making the fight crucial for the winner to cement themselves as a mainstay in the top ten of the division, with the possibility of looking backwards in their next contest unlikely.
However, and regardless of popularity, the continuance of a winning streak will not be denied eventually. Allen is only 27, and his success in the UFC and Cage Warriors prior means he is one of Britain’s brightest hopes for a UFC title in the near future.
Perhaps his steady and under-the-radar climb will be beneficial ultimately as he has progressively improved and will be ready to compete with the sport’s best when he reaches them.
Of course, consistent entertainment matters. But winning matters most. No matter how much the UFC model awards those who entertain first, a consistent winning streak will eventually be noticed. If not, the promotion would no longer exist on the merit it has.
So, all Arnold Allen can do is keep winning. Maybe in the moment, each win can seem relatively meaningless. But in the larger picture, they all matter.
A win over Sodiq Yusuff remains his most important fight yet, however. It is his chance to stake his claim as an accepted contender, as well as furthering his desire to ensure all the stalling will be worth it.
Photo Credit: Zuffa/UFC