Octagon Oracles: Aggressive Finisher Kamuela Kirk

Kamuela Kirk beats a fist on his chest while in the LFA cage. LFA vet Kamuela Kirk will get his first UFC fight on Saturday. Photo Credit: LFA / UFC Fight Pass

About a year ago, it would be surprising for UFC to sign Kamuela Kirk. After being finished on “Dana White’s Contender Series” and losing a fight to Bruno Souza, he didn’t have much momentum at that time. However, recent wins plus the UFC’s need for a short-notice fighter have been the perfect combination to get Kirk to this stage.

Kirk has scored two stoppage wins in LFA this year, including a main event win over Daniel Swain last month. On Saturday night, Kirk will step in for Nate Landwehr in a bout against Makwan Amirkhani at a UFC “Fight Night” card.

The Octagon Oracles crew looked at Kirk one last time before he kicks off his UFC career.

Zain Bando

Grade: B+
It’s hard not to love Kirk getting signed to the UFC. He made Gulliherme Santos look slow and he has a slick ground game. He has already fought veterans like Kevin Croom and Billy Quarantillo, which shows me he’s ready for the big time. The only knock I would have on him is his gas tank. In the Quarantillo fight, he gassed out right as the third round started, and in front of Dana White, that’s not a great sign. However, at 11-4, he has tremendous upside and should present unique challenges to long-time veteran, Makwan Amirkhani, on Saturday night.

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
It did not take long for Kirk to find his way back to the UFC, but that should not come as a surprise to anyone that has been paying attention to him over the years. The kind of fighter that Kirk is was always going to be on the radar of the UFC brass, so his first opportunity to join the promotion was well-deserved. Although he came up short in his quest to get a contract on “Dana White’s Contender Series,” Kirk still showed some promise and he went back to the drawing board. A split decision loss in his return to LFA was nothing more than a brief stumble because his next two outings ended in the kind of finishes we have come to expect from him.

Kirk is well-rounded. His striking can be best described as accurate, quick and powerful. His work in the clinch has been tough to deal with. His grappling is as dangerous as it can get. He is relentless in every attack. There is really a lot to like about Kirk, so I think he will have a long career in the UFC. If there is one thing that I may slightly worry about, then it is that he has been on the receiving end of a pressure-heavy attack and wilted a bit. Perhaps that was an anomaly, but it did reveal a path to victory for future opponents of Kirk. Still, that is not enough for my confidence in him to be wavered.

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: B-
Kirk is another guy that has good experience. He has a “Contender Series” fight against UFC fighter Billy Quarantillo, which he was finished late in and a win over Kevin Croom. He has gone 4-1 in LFA and finished all of them. Kirk will move forward, use his length and attack with all of his limbs. His striking style reminds me a bit of Sean Woodson. In losses, like his setback to Bruno Souza, he wasn’t active enough. Kirk is at his best when he can be first and throw volume. I think he is the kind of guy that can win bonuses because of the amount of knees and flashy strikes he uses.

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

Zac Herbison

Grade: C+
Kirk has shown a lot of improvement in his last few fights, and I’m really interested in his UFC run. His game looked disconnected early in his regional career, with him essentially throwing head kicks on the feet, and being a solid BJJ grappler on the ground. In his last few fights, however, his boxing skills have shot right up, which changes everything. His game now seems to be based around pressuring with long jabs, crosses, and left hooks, and it’s working. He’s fairly good at keeping range while pressuring with his punches, and he mixes in knees and kicks once his target’s stationary. His BJJ black belt makes clinching with him dangerous, giving his opponent no safe place to go when pressured.

Kirk is dangerous when he’s in control, but he may still struggle when he’s the one being pressured. If he can’t intercept you with his left hook or take you down, he may be in a bad place. His “Contender Series” fight with Billy Quarantillo showed him looking lost and unsure what to do when he was behind, and it’s hard to tell if that’s been fixed. I also wish he wouldn’t slam people to try to escape armbars. Still, if he continues on the path of improvement he’s been on, the sky’s the limit.

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