Who is Marcin Held?
This month on October 21, Gdansk, Poland will play host to UFC Fight Night 118. One man eagerly looking to add a win to his record is home country fighter Marcin “The Polish Prodigy” Held.
The 25-year-old prospect is a native of Tychy, Poland. He has an overall record of 22-7, with 12 of his wins coming by way of submission.
Held is a phenomenal Brazilian Ju-Jitsu fighter who has been training since the age of nine. He earned his black belt at just 21, and since then he has won multiple gold and silver medals in submission grappling contests competing all over the world.
A lightweight fighter he made his pro debut in Poland in 2008 and went on an eight-fight win streak until he was defeated by fellow countryman Lukasz Sajewski.
Building his name in Bellator
Joining Bellator in October of 2010 he has a record of 12-3 while a part of the promotion. Two of his losses coming to stiff competition in former Bellator lightweight champions Will Brooks and Michael Chandler.
He faced Chandler in his first fight a tough matchup for the then 20-year-old. Losing his first fight did not stop him from showing what he could do though as he won five in a row straight after.
He then had his third professional loss to veteran Dave Jensen (a fight which he would later have re-matched winning his second fight with Jensen via unanimous decision.)
He then went on another tear winning six in a row against tough opponents with names such as Alexander Sarnavskiy, Derek Anderson, and Patricky Freire.
This latest run would secure him a title shot at then champion Will Brooks in November of 2015. His first title fight did not go his way, unfortunately, losing to Brooks via unanimous decision.
Joining the UFC a good or bad move?
News broke in August of 2016 that Marcin Held had signed with the UFC. A great young addition to an already stacked Lightweight division the move seemed like a smart one for “The Polish Prodigy”, but unfortunately as often is the case in MMA, Held did not get off to a good start in the UFC losing his first fight to UFC veteran Diego Sanchez.
In his next fight against another tough veteran in Joe Lauzon, he came up short in what was a somewhat close contest losing via a split decision in what was a very controversial decision. Lauzon after the fight disagreeing with the decision victory stating he thought Held was the real winner.
His most recent fight was against Damir Hadzovic in May of this year. The fight started in his favor as he was winning in the first two rounds, but luck would not be on his side and he was caught early in round three by Hadzovic with a vicious knee losing by KO.
A terrible start for the promising young Held who was a highly touted fighter in the media before making his UFC debut. Maybe the new environment and the pressure to perform got to him in some of the losses but one can’t deny he has been rather unlucky since joining the promotion.
Despite his poor start in the UFC, he is still a talented and dangerous fighter at 155 pounds as he can end anybody’s night fast if the fight goes to the ground, and he is also still just 25-years-old.
He badly needs a win as it maybe his final chance. As fighters have often been released once they lose three straight let alone four. We can only hope he does not feel the pressure too much as he prepares for his next fight.
The crucial fight will at least take place in his home country at least in a setting familiar to Held who competed there many times.
His opponent on the night will be Nasrat Haqparast a newcomer to the UFC and a lesser experienced foe than in his prior fights.
I believe “The Polish Prodigy” has a real good shot at taking home the much-needed win and I expect him to do so convincingly.
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