Octagon Oracles: LFA Vet Terrance McKinney

Terrance McKinney looks at a camera while standing inside the LFA cage. Terrance McKinney will make his UFC debut at this weekend's card in Arizona. Photo Credit: LFA / UFC Fight Pass

Terrance McKinney has been making headlines as of late, as he has kept active and put on highlight reel finishes in LFA.

If you know McKinney, you likely know his story. He has an inspiring story, as he has turned his life around after a bad trip in 2015 that saw him get confronted by police and resuscitated twice in one evening. His story is nothing short of inspiring and one that deserves to be told on a big stage.

The big stage on Saturday, the undercard of a UFC pay-per-view, wasn’t in his plans roughly a week ago. However, after Frank Camacho had to withdraw from a fight against Matt Frevola, McKinney was given the call.

Ahead of his first UFC walk, which comes just weeks after his last finish victory, Terrance McKinney was assessed by the Octagon Oracles team.

Kristen King

Grade: B
A year away from competition has truly reinvigorated Terrance McKinney and the timing could not be better as he prepares for his well-deserved UFC debut. His lone fight in 2020 was canceled, but McKinney has more than made up for that period of inactivity with three straight first-round knockouts in 2021. A solid high school and collegiate wrestler, McKinney is a joy to watch on the ground as he effortlessly controls his opponents and delivers killer ground and pound. There were some questions on his striking, but those have been tamped down considering how much it has been elevated in recent appearances.

Something that worries me about McKinney is how often he finds himself in bad positions during his fights. We saw this happen in his losses to both Sean Woodson and Darrick Minner at “Dana White’s Contender Series” and MCF 18 respectively. Against Woodson, McKinney found success getting the fight to the ground, but his desire to simply shoot for takedowns without setting them up properly led to the devastating knee that knocked him out. Against Minner, McKinney found the same success on the ground again, but he left himself open just long enough for a triangle choke to be set up and he was forced to tap. These juvenile mistakes will cost him, so I am hoping that he works on those as he continues to improve as a fighter.

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+
What a weird dude to scout. Every win on McKinney’s record is a first round finish, save for a third round heelhook. He submitted people for most of his career, but two of his three wins in 2021 are from head kicks, and the third was from devastating ground and pound. He’s very athletic, and seems to have high potential skill-wise, but his decision-making seems inconsistent. He seems to get hit hard, then remember his striking defense. He also frequently falls down while throwing his head kick, even during his highlight reel 17-second win.

When he does want to wrestle, he’s very tenacious, shooting over and over. His “Contender Series” loss to Sean Woodson featured him shooting six takedowns across the seven-minute fight. It was the right gameplan, too – Woodson was giving him some trouble on the feet, but didn’t seem to be a threat to him on the ground. That’s why I’m calling his decision-making inconsistent, and not bad – some fights do seem to show him sticking to a gameplan. I honestly can’t tell if this guy is going to be ranked, or if he’ll be cut in a year. I’m certainly interested in finding out.

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

Jack Wannan

Grade: B+
The past few months for McKinney have been day and night in comparison to the two years prior. After a loss on the “Contender Series” and getting subbed by Darrick Minner in 2019, McKinney had to turn things around to maintain prospect status. Following an absence from the cage in 2020, McKinney did just that.

In just six months time, McKinney has earned three wins within a round, two of which have come in notable promotion LFA.

McKinney has an experienced background in wrestling and explosive striking which has proven to be a quick way to end many of his fights.

When watching McKinney’s two most recent fights, one of my worries is how he can look clumsy at times. Throwing with full force, McKinney often slips around the cage or completely falls to the ground. While his striking seems sharp and calculated, it feels like he lacks the composure which could completely tie it all together.

Personally, another big concern of mine is the unknown currently: what happens when he gets into the third round? We don’t really know the answer to that – his longest fight just graces the 11th minute, with others coming within two rounds.

The backstory and track record as of late with McKinney makes him an interesting fighter to watch and one that is hard to not support. I expect his explosive style to make him a finisher in the UFC which catches the eyes of those who decide on those $50,000 bonuses.

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