Having long clamored for a big-name opponent, James Vick
finds himself on a four-fight winning streak in the
Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight division.
Vick will try to cash in on his opportunity when he takes on former
World Series of Fighting champion Justin
Gaethje in the
UFC Fight Night 135 main event on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank
Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska. As a first-time headliner, Vick
undoubtedly plans to show the MMA universe his steely nerves under
the pressure of the spotlight.
Ahead of Vick’s five-round confrontation with Gaethje, here are
some of the numbers that have come to define him:
76: Inches of reach. Vick had a six-inch advantage
Trinaldo, one of the larger lightweights on the UFC roster. He
defeated “Massaranduba” by unanimous decision.
94: Significant strikes landed on Glaico
Franca at UFC 197, per Fightmetric. Vick’s improving standup
was on full display against the Brazilian, as he took a unanimous
verdict at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. To further his
striking arsenal, the Mineral Wells, Texas, native added taekwondo
and Korean karate to his game.
68: Significant strikes landed on Trinaldo. Vick
outstruck the Brazilian, even though Trinaldo managed to get the
upper hand in the takedown department, where he outpaced “The
Ultimate Fighter 15” alum 4-1.
4: Fights in one year to start his professional
career in 2011. Vick finished all but one of his opponents and
parlayed his early success into a call-up to the UFC. He made his
Octagon debut opposite “The Ultimate Fighter 13” finalist Ramsey
Nijem at UFC Fight Night 26.
58: Seconds needed to dispatch Nijem with a
guillotine choke. Vick has remained on the UFC roster ever
8: Appearances in his home state of Texas. Vick’s
victory over Trinaldo at UFC Fight Night 126 took place at the
Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
3: Wins by knockout or technical knockout. Vick
started boxing after his senior year in high school, and his hands
have served him well in MMA. He owns knockout victories over
Salazar, Reyes and Joseph
5: Submission victories on his resume. A Lloyd
Irvin-trained Brazilian jiu-jitsu blue belt, Vick has two
victories by guillotine choke, one by brabo choke, one by
rear-naked choke and one by armbar.
1: Career defeat. Vick’s knockout loss to Beneil
Dariush at UFC 199 remains the only blemish on his ledger.