Octagon Oracles: Two-Time ‘Contender Series’ Winner Tucker Lutz

Tucker Lutz gets his arm raised by a referee in the Shogun Fights cage. Tucker Lutz conquered the regional scene in Maryland before joining the UFC. Photo Credit: Shogun Fights / Facebook

Tucker Lutz had to fight more than others to get into the UFC. Like, actually: after winning on the fifth week of TV show “Dana White’s Contender Series” last year, he was invited back onto the show two months later to compete again instead of being awarded a UFC contract.

But now, Lutz enters the promotion on an impressive 11-fight win streak, with most coming from the regional scene in Maryland, USA. He gets his first UFC fight on a big stage, appearing at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, USA. His fight against Kevin Aguilar, a five-fight UFC vet, will take place in front of one of the few live crowds that the UFC has seen this year.

Here’s how the Octagon Oracles team assessed Lutz before his UFC debut.

Zac Herbison

Grade: C
Lutz has pieces of an effective game. He throws leg kicks often, and they sound painful. He’s a heavy puncher. He has a wrestling background and likes to pressure people to the fence to work for a takedown. He also seems to have pretty good cardio, and his cagecraft seems alright too. There still seems to be something missing, however.

He doesn’t seem like the strongest takedown artist against the cage, and once he gets to the ground, he doesn’t seem to get much done with it. His striking defense also seems to just not be there. He’s good about circling and backing out of striking range, so he’s not always an easy target, but he doesn’t do much in the way of blocking or slipping strikes. If he doesn’t shut down his opponent’s offense with his own, it’s possible he ends up eating a lot of damage.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Tom Albano

Grade: C-
Lutz has won every fight he’s had on the regional scene since dropping his professional MMA debut, and now that has turned into the chance to impress against Kevin Aguilar in his UFC debut at UFC 262.

Lutz earned the opportunity to compete twice on “Dana White’s Contender Series” last year, defeating Chase Gibson in September by unanimous decision before a unanimous decision over Sherrard Blackledge in November.

Lutz may not have gotten the finish either time, but to be asked by UFC President Dana White to return to the series later in the season and get a contract through a dominant win means they must be impressed with this young man.

Lutz is a solid, well-rounded fighter, though his grappling and ground skills seem to be his bread and butter. He has some power, but in his DWCS bouts, he seemed to do best when he was on the front foot and brought the pressure, trying to take his opponents down and getting into control. If he gets Aguilar down, that will be a big key he needs to come out of this octagon debut with a win.

That being said, however, Aguilar has not only faced better competition, but some of the early opponents Lutz faced are pretty questionable. And Lutz has taken some damage in his fights; scouting reports on him have called for his striking defense to come into question — and Gibson blasted him a couple of times in their fight.

Lutz is a solid fighter, regardless if he wins or loses this UFC debut. But if he wants to get to the next level, he needs to develop quite a bit more.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Kristen King

Grade: B-
Lutz had to compete on “Dana White’s Contender Series” twice before getting signed to the UFC, and it is a welcome signing. The 26-year-old lightweight is exciting in the cage, boasting a 11-1 record that mainly consists of finishes ranging from quick knockouts to slick submissions. Lutz likes to mix things up by utilizing his wrestling to control his opponent, so expect a takedown here and there when he fights.

The one thing I would say I am concerned about is his striking defense. Lutz has a tendency to drop his hands, which obviously leaves him wide open to get cracked. Also, he does not move his head too much, and making himself a stagnant target against a heavy-handed opponent would not bode well for him. Still, I have a ton of confidence in what I have seen from Lutz and expect him to earn a few bonuses in the UFC because he is a finisher in every sense of the word.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Vince Rodemer

Grade: C
I wasn’t crazy about Lutz before his first “Dana White’s Contender Series” fight against Sherrard Blackledge or his second “Contender Series” fight against Chase Gibson. I picked Blackledge in the first fight, but Lutz in the second. I’m still not crazy about Lutz. He has the markings of the type of prospects I’m down on. I want to see prospects who have fought UFC-caliber opponents and train with UFC-caliber training partners. Lutz doesn’t meet either of those requirements. An 11-fight winning streak is nice and so are his pre-Contender Series finishes, but finishing low level guys does nothing for me. Three fights ago he beat a 2-3 34-year old Trevor Thompson. Lutz needs to prove to me that he’s more than an inflated record on a poor regional scene in Western Maryland.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion