Octagon Oracles: Darian Weeks

James Colwell:

Grade: C+

Darian Weeks has only been fighting professionally since 2019, but he’s gone 5-0 in that time with finishes in each of his fights. He also put together an impressive 15-4 amateur record that included a couple deep runs in IMMAF tournaments, so he has considerably more experience that you would think at first glance. However, his level of competition leaves a lot to be desired and I am concerned that he is getting signed too early into his development as a prospect.

Weeks is a high-level athlete whose well-rounded game highlights how long he has been training MMA. He has lots of knockouts in his amateur career and has finished 4 of 5 of his professional fights with strikes, with 3 of those finishes in the 2nd round and 1 in the 1st. He also has 1 rear-naked choke finish, but his favorite path to victory is definitely with his hands. So far he’s fought three beginners (2-0, 0-0, 2-0), one decent veteran (8-3-1 against mostly losing records), and one last-minute fill-in (3-4). While his finishes have been impressive, he’s clearly been on another level athletically and skill-wise from everyone he’s faced and has had no problems simply overwhelming them.

Weeks was originally scheduled to take on Josh Quinlan as part of this year’s edition of the Contender Series but was forced to withdraw due to Covid. I think that would have been a much more reasonable entry point to the UFC for him, as he is exactly the sort of high-ceiling but unproven talent that the series is meant to test. However, after veteran Matt Brown was forced from this week’s matchup against Bryan Barberena due to his own case of Covid, Weeks got the call as a last-second fill in. This decision was likely due more to Weeks being US based and having recently been in a training camp rather than a true reflection of who are the top available welterweight prospects. I think Barberena has enough striking skill of his own to keep Weeks from knocking him out, and I think their gaps in experience lead to a decision win for the veteran. Weeks has the raw ability to prove me wrong, but I don’t consider him likely to last more than 2-4 fights in the UFC.

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