Fighter of the Week: Drakkar Klose
Pro Record: 8-0-1
Association: MMA Lab
Weight Class: Lightweight
I love doing these segments on fighter of the week. I especially love these segments when they’re on relatively <previously> unknown fighters who were huge underdogs only to defy the odds (and odds-makers) to win. That’s exactly what Drakkar Klose did against Marc Diakiese at the TUF 25 Finale. Klose came in a +210 underdog against the -270 favorite Diakiese. Diakese, who came into the contest with a perfect 12-0 MMA record and 3-0 in the UFC, was coming off a Performance of the Night bonus after his 30 second KO victory in his last fight against Teemu Packalen. It didn’t take long after the fight announcement for the two to start a war outside of the Octagon getting into a savage twitter exchange, something that seems to be somewhat of a trademark for Diakiese to get in the head of his opponents. Klose didn’t let the pre-fight head games get to him and would win the fight by split decision to improve to a perfect 2-0 in the UFC.
Klose credits growing up with four brothers for his toughness. He said they fought a lot, even starting their own fight club, where Klose (under direction from the eldest brother) would have to take on his three younger siblings barehanded while they could use weapons because he was bigger than them. Yes, you read that correctly… weapons. Klose would tell a story about one of his brothers cracking him with nunchucks. Klose would eventually find a constructive way to take out his aggression and land on the school wrestling team. He was a four-time state qualifier in high school and state champion in 2005. He’d go on to wrestle at North Idaho College but admitted that partying would get the best of him and his love for wrestling wasn’t the same so ultimately he left college. While working security Klose would realize he had the need for competition again and that’s when he decided to make the switch to MMA.
MMA would rekindle Klose’s competitive drive. After moving to Arizona and training at a local gym in Tucson he participated in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament and ran into John Crouch, who is a UFC trainer and head coach of the MMA Lab in Glendale. Klose would be invited to join the team and would jump at the chance to join training with fighters like ex- WEC and UFC champ Benson Henderson, Jamie Varner, and TUF 8 winner Efrain Escudero. Klose said they threw him in with Henderson on the first day when he was still a champion in the UFC as a “welcome to the team” greeting. The training obviously worked as Klose started his professional career in 2014 and within a year and a half, he was lightweight champion of the Rage in the Cage promotion. Within a year and a half from winning the RITC title, he was debuting in the top promotion in the world, the UFC. That’s a pretty quick climb for anyone to make and shows the talent Klose has.
Klose would make his UFC debut as a short-notice injury replacement against fellow newcomer Devin Powell, who was signed by Dana White from his show “Lookin’ for a Fight”, at UFC Fight Night 103. He’d make relatively easy work of his opponent showing his ferocity and sweeping the judges’ score cards to a unanimous victory. This would setup a contest with Diakiese which surprised a lot of folks considering they are both up-and-coming prospects in a deep division and the fact that Diakiese and Paul Felder were basically begging to fight each other over social media. Leading up to the fight, Diakiese was up to his same shenanigans trying to play head games with Klose. But during the fight, the underdog Klose was having none of it, avoiding Diakiese’s attempt at finishing him and knocking Diakiese down with leg kicks multiple times and securing a split decision victory in the process. For the record, I had the fight 29-28 as most others did and did not think it should have been a split decision. At least the clear winner got the victory. Klose proved he may be one the next prospects we all have to keep an eye on. His wrestling base is top notch and his leg kicks were outstanding.
Immediately after the fight, Klose had to be stopped by security and yelled at Diakiese, taunting him. He also declared to the crowd “No disrespect to Michael Bisping, but all English dudes are bums”. As Klose would explain post-fight adrenaline and emotions had taken over and it was just the heat of the moment. He later apologized. Klose has said it’s not just about getting to the UFC, but it’s about staying there. He said you see a guy fight one or two times and never see him again. He doesn’t want to be that guy and his passion shows. “This is where I belong”, says Klose. I have to agree. Can’t wait to see what’s next for him and if our very own Keith Robert is correct in his “Who’s Next” article (http://themmatakeover.com/match-maker-with-ufc-213-tuf-25-finale/), it may be veteran Alan Patrick who Keith thinks would be a perfect test for a young fighter. Let us know what you think, Takeover Fans!
Here is a recent interview we did with Drakkar Klose: