The Severe Spotlight: Nicolas Dalby

As we me through the generations of fighters that grace the UFC, there seems to be a trend that pertains to fighters becoming more skilled at a younger age. Developing the technical prowess in more alignment with their biological primes. It would be easy to name a bunch of exciting prospects in most of the UFC’s divisions younger than 28 years of age.

There is, however, something to be said about cerebral maturation, maturation of one as a human being, the maturation of the soul through experiences that only time on this planet can provide. Fighting is a sport that leaves the soul of a person open to be critiqued, it is a sport that ensures that there is no lying, or masking or acting. When the cage door closes, the spirit of the person comes out.

Nicolas Dalby is someone who emanates that odd wrinkle to the general trend, between his release from the UFC, and his now second stint in the promotion he has evolved immeasurably. Filling out the mould of human that encased around him and broken out from the chambers within. Having battled some demons with more than just his fists, he carries an aura of assurance, an aura of authentic awareness. That shines when he dons the gloves and puts his health on the line for our entertainment.

That was no difference as he walked to the cage to meet Gabriel Bonfim in the co-main event of UFC Sao Paulo.

Every bit of the spirit Dalby had was needed throughout what was a difficult contest technically, but as he entwined veteran savvy with immeasurable grit, determination, and his willingness to brand himself to the cage floor he wheeled away in celebration after 9 minutes and 33 seconds of fighting.

Round one began much as everyone expected it too, the eve of Guy Fawkes night meant fireworks. Both men met in the centre of the cage within three second, Dalby looking to reach through the rangey guard of Bonfim to land straight, the Brazillian looking for hooking counters. Dalby pushes Bonfim away and the fight settles into its pacing.

The Brazilian native did a good job of forcing Dalby to stray wide with his feet, and landing hurtful, off balancing leg kicks to Dalby. The wide stepping of Dalby was often set up by a barrage of hand feints from Bonfim, lots of lateral offerings that forced Dalby to react. Within the first minute, the determination of Dalby just screams through, the invention of confidence and self-assurance beams as he marauds through a tight pocket of slicing Bonfim shots to find his own crisp 1-2. This is not uncommon throughout the contest, but Bonfim in this first instance finds the trailing legs of Dalby and off-balances him once again with a low kick.

Often when watching fights, we see that when fighter A finds an answer to fighter B’s offensive choices, they often begin to retract the will of fighter B to throw said choices, at the very least we see Fighter B forced to adjust to protect themselves. When Fighter B either chooses to make no adjustment, and stick to the gameplan that can result in often only two results, the breaking of fighter A’s will, or the loss of the contest from fighter B.

Dalby mixes a willingness to break peoples will with adjustments well as he finds a nice penetration step to a clinch situation. With his ability to further his grappling removed by solid defensive reactions from Bonfim, Dalby retracts from the clinch and lands a clean right hand over the top as an exclamation mark.

Dalby’s reaction to the feinting becomes too prominent, and Bonfim lands a wonderfully timed takedown. Dalby did a good job to ride the shot until he reached the fence, but Bonfim completes and ends in a chest-to-chest half guard situation. Bonfim utilises a really great head position and high tripod body position to land some nice shots on Dalby, who si forced to react. Bonfim uses torreando style passing alongside some knee-cuts to make the breakthrough to side control.

Bonfim works to mount and lands some nice shots to end the round.

The second round begins as frantic as the first, this time Dalby even more aggressively chasing Bonfim across the cage with shots. Right hands and clubbing lefts galore. Smartly, Bonfim manages to ground Dalby again. Grappling exchanges occur that result in Dalby on his back in the middle fo the cage floor, battling from bottom side control. He manages to turn in with a double leg, that leaves both fighters in front headlock after a Bonfim sprawl.

Dalby rises after Bonfim attempts to take the back too swiftly, and tidal wave of shots begins once again. Working to the clinch Dalby lands a gorgeous knee, before moving into a fantastic hurtful elbow over the top. It is visible that Bonfim is wilting. This seems not like the wilting of cardio, or the wilting of energy, but the wilting of spirit. The relentlessness of the fight inside Dalby is beginning to sap the energy rapidly from the spirit level of the Bonfim character.

Dalby senses it and ups the shots. We see knees to the head and the body, we see uppercut combinations up close and personal, Dalby goes with collar ties with his left to elbows with his right arm. Bonfim is desperately trying to throw wild haymakers to get Dalby off him, but is not successful.  Dalby crushes knees into Bonfim until he cannot take anymore. A final flurry to the body and Bonfim collapses.

Dutifully Dalby follows him down and lands the final coffin nails needed for the referee to call the contest to a halt.

Onwards, the Dane rides.

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