In the space of a few hours yesterday Melbourne MMA fighter Daniel Kelly’s training regime changed dramatically.
Kelly was scheduled to face 84kg, 180 cm Brazilian submission expert Ricardo Abreu on November 15 at UFC 193.
But Abreu was forced to withdraw with what is believed to be an injury.
UFC matchmaker Joe Silva scoured the list of available fighters.
The man he found couldn’t be any more of a different opponent.
Florida-based Steve Montgomery is a towering 193cm tall, he fights as a welterweight at 77kg, and he’s a south paw.
Kelly took he change in stride.
It’s a completely different match-up, but we’re seven weeks out.
“There’s plenty of time to adjust what we’re doing so it’s fine.”
Within two hours of being notified of the change Kelly had already watched most of Montgomery’s fights.
“He’s pretty well rounded and has good knees in the clinch.
“He’ a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and his striking is not bad.
“He’s from a very strong gym America Top Team.
“I’ve watched one of his fights and that’s obviously only happened in the last couple of hours. But we’ve got a fair idea already of what we’re going to do.
“I’ll just make sure I’m fit and strong and I’ll go out there and enjoy it.”
But Kelly was cautious about his new opponent.
“Montgomery doesn’t have the power that Abreu had and he doesn’t have the pedigree that Abreu has on the ground. He’s tall and because he throws good knees as well, I’ll have to be careful going to double legs, but I’ll find another way to make it my game. It’s a different match-up, but they’re all hard.”
Kelly has experience with southpaws. He knocked out Sam Alvey in the first round and won a unanimous decision over Patrick Walsh.
“This is the third fight in a row where I’ll be preparing for a south paw,” said Kelly
“I’ll just keep working and progressing on the stuff we’ve already been doing,