In one of the most monumental stories in New Mexico’s MMA history, 20-year old Ray Borg needed only six professional MMA bouts to get on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s radar and garner national MMA attention. After his April 5th Legacy FC 30 victory against Jackson-Winkeljohn’s Nick Urso, the “Taz-Mexican Devil” Borg would get the call from the ZUFFA owned MMA promotion and was immediately scheduled to be part of the one of the biggest UFC events scheduled for the first half of 2014.
When the UFC signed the young FIT NHB fighter, the Tucumcari raised Borg became the 2nd youngest fighter on the UFC roster and one of the best prospects in the 125-pound division. While many weren’t surprised by the news of Borg joining the ranks of the UFC, the short-notice nature of Borg’s first bout with the promotion definitely drew some raised eyebrows. Borg would sign up to fight just two weeks after his Legacy FC bout and he would be paired with a very formidable opponent. On Saturday night, April 19th, inside the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, Borg will take on the well-rounded Dustin Ortiz.
Training out of Roufusport, Dustin Ortiz (12-3) is a young prospect as well at just 25-years old. The talented Milwaukee trained fighter is 1-1 in the UFC but many believe he should actually be 2-0. This past January, Ortiz lost a close fight to former title contender John Moraga in a fight most believed Ortiz won. The split decision would be awarded to Moraga who now faces Flyweight top contender and Albuquerque trained John Dodson, while Ortiz lost some steam on his hype train and now takes on the UFC newcomer in Borg.
The undefeated Ray Borg (6-0) was thrown into the Lion’s Den that is the UFC Flyweight division and will have a tremendous opportunity when he takes on a fighter who was just inside the cage with a fighter who fought the UFC Champion in the last several months. A win over Ortiz propels Borg up the rankings where he too could be taking on a former title contender. While the Flyweight division is full of talent, it is rather shallow and undeveloped; a title contender fight is only 1-2 fights away from any 125-pound fighter in the UFC.
The question for fight fans heading into this bout is….. how exactly do these two match-up?
It is very hard to point out a weakness in the MMA game of Ray Borg being that it is debatable that nobody has seen a flaw in Borg while he has been inside the cage. Opponents very rarely find success against him and even if they do, it is brief and Borg capitalizes on something significant soon after. In his last outing, Borg was taken down by Nick Urso but quickly reversed position and ended up in a dominant position to start the methodical onslaught that would lead him to decisively winning the round. Urso also landed some strikes to start the second but Borg answered back with his own before once again mounting his offense, this time to secure the fight ending takedown and submission.
If there has been a chink in Borg’s armor it has been that he has been susceptible to eating leg kicks. In his last three outings, opponents have been able to land several leg kicks and that could eventually be a cause for concern. One of the best aspects of Borg’s talents is that he is extremely quick and explosive, and a leg kick heavy game plan from an opponent can begin to chip away at that explosiveness. Borg’s takedowns are generated from the fast twitch muscles in his powerful legs and leg kicks are one way to take away a takedown minded fighter’s best asset.
If Borg truly has a weakness headed into this bout it isn’t a weakness found within the confines of a cage. Borg at 20-years old is still considered to be very young in the sport of MMA and entering into the UFC after six professional bouts is very remarkable. Will that inexperience make a difference? When UFC debut fighters enter into the Octagon for the first time people often talk about the “Octagon Jitters” that come with fighting under the bright lights of the sport’s biggest stage for the first time.
On the flip side, Borg is one of the most gifted grapplers you will ever watch. If Borg has a standout strength it is his ability to fight ransitionally. It is rare to find fighters who are able to collect a plethora of talents and are also able to mix them together and use them cooperatively. Borg has outstanding wrestling and he uses his crisp striking to compliment it; if Borg wants to set up a takedown, he can use his striking to find the opening. In contrast, if Borg wants to set up his striking, he can find openings by making an opponent weary of the takedown. Having talents in multiple disciplines is important, being able to use them transitionally fluid is rare.
Dustin Ortiz possesses his own impressive talent set. Training under Duke Roufus means that he is being taught by one of the premier striking coaches in all of the world. Ortiz has solid striking talents offensively and is a high-volume kicker that attacks the legs and body regularly. Ortiz is also a very talented wrestler who was able to ground the talented John Moraga several times in their exciting bout.
One of the intangibles Ortiz possesses is that he is very well-groomed and experienced in MMA. Already two fights deep into his UFC career, Ortiz has main evented and been featured in some of the more prominent regional shows around the country including the Tachi Palace Fights promotion that was key to developing the Flyweight division. Ortiz has been in the cage with John Moraga and Ian McCall, both of which have fought current UFC Champion Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
Ortiz is not without weakness however, as the Roufusport fighter has shown holes in his defensive striking. In his losses to Moraga and Robinson, Ortiz was very hittable and would leave himself open for opponents to land significant strikes. While Robinson was a regional fighter and the fight took place years back, Moraga possesses very technical striking talents that led to multiple knockdowns in their bout. In Ortiz’s outing with Jose Maria Tome, he was taken down and outstruck during much of the fight, a fight that many scoring had Ortiz down two rounds heading into the third round. Ortiz of course would go on to win that fight with a late TKO finish.
If there is an indication as to how Borg stacks up to Ortiz heading into Saturday’s match-up, it can be found in Ortiz’s last two outings. Borg heads into action Saturday night as a very talented striker training under Arlene Vaughn at FIT NHB. His Thai Boxing style of striking will allow Borg the same possible advantages as Jose Maria Tome had and Borg’s speed will leave him the same ability to catch a defensively flawed Ortiz the same way Moraga was able to capitalize on.
Should the fight hit the ground, Ortiz has shown to be extremely durable fighting off chokes and escaping bad positions. Borg’s grappling talents however may be on par with the best in the division as he is extremely technical, very crafty and immensely intelligent in all areas on the mat. Even from bottom position, Borg has great sweeps and submissions and if Borg is able to create a scramble, I don’t know if there has been a better scrambler in New Mexico MMA’s lighter weight classes.
If the “Taz-Mexican Devil” is able to avoid those “Octagon Jitters”, his talents definitely merit his standing in the sport’s premier organization and his abilities inside the cage could definitely earn him a monumental victory. Ortiz has the talents to beat anyone at 125-pounds and will carry an experience edge over the 20-year old Borg. All of this sets the stage for what could be a “Fight of the Night” on Saturday stacked fight card.
UFC On FOX 11: Browne vs. Werdum features the Heavyweight title eliminator between Albuquerque trained Travis “Hapa” Browne and number one contender Fabricio Werdum. Also on the card, a WMMA title featuring Meisha Tate and Liz Carmouche. Lightweight standout Edson Barboza, undefeated Lighweight Khabib Nurmagomedov, UFC vet Thiago Alves, and Olympian Yoel Romero are all featured fighters who will be in action Saturday night.
Ray Borg’s bout will be on UFC Fight Pass which is the UFC App that has garnered loads of attention. For those who have never used Fight Pass, there is a 7-day free trial period available to first timers and if you have already exhausted the free trial, Fight Pass is $9.99 per month. The app is worth the price as not only will you be treated to free events and preliminary fights like Borg’s, but you will also have access to a vast library of fights that includes UFC, Strikeforce, Pride, Affliction, EliteXC, WFA and WEC events/fights.
Join us in sending our homegrown talent, the “Taz-Mexican Devil” Ray Borg our best wishes in his fighting endeavors Saturday night!