Octagon Oracles: Martin Buday

Grade: B-

Slovakian heavyweight Martin Buday scored a memorable finish of Lorenzo Hood on Contender Series 2021, and now he’ll make his UFC debut against fan-favorite Chris Barnett on Saturday.

Fairly light on his feet by heavyweight standards (especially for someone that cuts to reach the weight limit) Buday is happy to work away with jabs to open up his fights. Once he starts to have success he’ll follow-up with big right straights, but unless his jab is landing consistently Buday’s overall striking output tends to be fairly low. “Badys” does pack some power in his hands; after going the distance in his first two pro bouts, he’s now finished eight-straight opponents and hasn’t gone past the second round during that stretch. Against smaller opposition the Slovakian will use his size to cut the cage off while walking opponents down, and he also likes to throw wide left hooks as they try to circle away from his pressure. Buday admittedly does not move his head very much when striking and will eat some punches during his fights, but thus far his chin has held up and he’s been able to hit back harder in return.

Buday’s striking game is ultimately built around trying to back opponents to the cage so he can start to work from the clinch. The Slovakian is excellent at making opponents carry his full weight from this position, where he’ll utilize short punches to the head and body as well as mix in hard knees to the legs and head of opponents. This skillset was on full display in his Contender Series win over Lorenzo Hood, as Buday was able to absolutely hammer Hood’s thigh with knees and even a few punches before landing a knee to the head that dropped Hood. While he’s plenty dangerous in the clinch, Buday will also drop for takedowns against the fence and then try to work to either half guard or mount to control opponents and land strikes.

The thirty-year old’s clinch work and overall physicality are impressive, but his style is one that benefits quite a lot if he’s the larger man in the cage. His record includes several opponents that were considerably smaller than him, and though some of these opponents had a clear speed advantage his size eventually proved too much for them. One particular bout on his record that stands out is his last pre-Contender Series fight against Kamil Minda at Oktagon 25. Minda was able to pretty clearly win the first round by countering Buday with two or three strike combinations anytime Buday threw a jab, and he was well on his way to winning the second round as well before a right hand staggered him and “Badys” finished with follow-up shots.

Size will certainly not be a concern in this debut matchup against Chris Barnett, as Buday will be the taller man by a significant margin. Barnett certainly showed off his athleticism with a wheel-kick finish of Gian Villante last-year, but beating a former light heavyweight in Villante is a much different matchup than squaring off with a legit heavyweight in Buday. There’s always room for new talent in the heavyweight division, but I’ll need to see Buday face some higher level competition and be forced to fight outside of his preferred areas to truly gauge how he’ll fair in the UFC overall.

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