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sponsored athlete Andy Ogle (13-4) is returning to the Octagon in just over a months time when he takes on Maximo Blanco (17-6-1) at UFC Fight Night 41. Taking place in Berlin, it'll be a chance for Ogle to avenge his recent losses to Cole Miller and Charles Oliveira against a game opponent who is also fighting his way out of the losing column.
Both men are well seasoned, with the experience factor tipping in favour of Blanco. The Venezuelan martial artist has fought seven more bouts at a professional level - arguably to a higher standard, having once held the Pancrase lightweight title belt. However, Blanco has floundered since he entered the UFC, dropping decisions to Marcus Brimage and Felipe Arantes as well as being DQ'd against Akira Corrassani. His only win comes via a decision over Sam Sicilia, where he showed willingness to engage in a close, back and forth fight.
Aside from his TUF appearances, which saw him win two fights and lose one, Andy Ogle has amassed a similar UFC record to Blanco, dropping losses against Miller and Oliveira while defeating Josh Grispi. He has also lost to one of Blanco's opponents - Akira Corrassani - in a highly debated decision that saw the 'Little Axe' receiving praise and support from everyone in attendance, even Dana White, who was also surprised by the result of the fight.
Records aside, Ogle will have to rebound back from a submission loss against Charles Oliveira. A game opponent, Ogle was simply overmatched and fighting in the favourites backyard. Against Blanco, however, neither man will hold the home-town advantage. Instead, they will meet on an even field where both are eager to get back to winning ways. The forecast is fireworks, but how will the fight play out for each man?
'The Little Axe' got his nickname due to his ability to grind, grind and grind some more. The Tynemouth born athlete brings the gritty determination of the North-East of England with him to the cage, defeating his opponents with a combination of stiff defensive boxing, stifling wrestling and suffocating top control. Even against an athlete of Cole Miller's calibre, Ogle had a great third round and showed just how impressive he can be.
Blanco, meanwhile, was shortlisted on Sherdog.com's 2010 'All violence' team. The Venezuelan fighter is a stormy and aggressive scrapper who likes nothing more than a true 'fight.' He has fallen victim to decisions because of this and seemed more hesitant to engage in outright violence since he joined the UFC and turned in a lacklustre performance against Marcus Brimage. However, Blanco is still a dangerous and ferocious competitor who will no doubt look to return to his fearsome ways against Ogle.
The two men are fairly equal physically, both having fought at lightweight before they dropped to feather. They both stand roughly the same height (Ogle is 5'9" and Blanco 5'8") and have similar reach. However, Ogle is the more successful wrestler and owes much of his success to that gritty style of grappling he excels at. Blanco favors striking yet is no slouch on the ground.
This match looks fairly even, but Ogle has the determination and grit to weather throw Blanco's striking and take the decision victory. The Venezuelan has not stopped an opponent in years, and Ogle has shown enough resilience in the cage to prove his metal. Both men are hungry for victory, but it is up to the 'The Little Axe' to dictate the pace of the fight. Available on UFC fight pass, this is going to be a preliminary fight you do not want to miss.
Written by Craig Thomas Boyle