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Against all Odds


Photo: Julian Erosa weighs in (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

One of the most compelling stories to come out of UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Hooker wasn’t even supposed to happen.  

The Fight Night kicked off in a huge way, with a victory for Julian Erosa, the biggest underdog on the main card, over his opponent Sean Woodson in a Catchweight bout. Erosa won with a choke out on his opponent.

Thanks to a D’arce halfway through the final round, Erosa shocked gamblers and fans alike as Woodson’s -500 gambling odds made him a near lock for betting.

Aside from the Vegas odds, Erosa’s troubled past as a fighter was cause for concern going into this fight. Erosa harbored a three-fight losing streak in the UFC after being cut for the second time in 2019. The UFC believed that Erosa was ready for a comeback opportunity despite him not thinking he would get that chance ever again.

“If you are in the UFC, you have to win,” Erosa said in the post-fight press conference. “I figured, if I keep putting the work in and staying in the gym with all the good coaches around me, they are going to see that I deserve to be here. I actually thought I would never fight in the Octagon again.”

In fact, the call from the UFC came only five days before he would hit the Octagon. Erosa steeped in for Canadian fighter Kyle Nelson because of Visa issues. was forced to pull out of the bout. Erosa had to cut 30 lbs in order to make weight for the fight, and on such short notice it was no easy task. 

“Monday, I was 170-pounds when I woke up, and I was lucky enough that we did it at 150,” Erosa said in the post-fight press conference. “The cut was average, so I was able to just come out and perform.

Erosa’s mindset was one of redemption.

“This means absolutely everything to me,” Erosa said in the post-fight press conference. “My fights in the UFC haven’t really mirrored the hard work I put in in the gym.”

His opponent, Sean Woodson was undefeated before stepping into the Octagon on Saturday night. Woodson is a striker who came into the UFC after earning his contract in Dana White’s Contender Series. His work on the feet has kept him in the win column for the entirety of his career. 

“I had to get out of his range,” Erosa said in the post-fight interview with Jon Anik. “Sometimes it takes a couple punches to get into it. I can take a few shots. Overall, I felt pretty illusive.”

Although he did eat some heavy shots, Erosa weathered the storm and was able to do a bit of work in the clinch and eventually on the ground.

Erosa defied all of the odds Saturday night. The amount of adversity he faced before even stepping into the Octagon was huge, and to come out on top at the UFC APEX cemented a spot for Erosa in the UFC as a fighter to be reckoned with.

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