UFC 259 is just over a week away and not only does it have 3 amazing title fights to headline but an exciting amount of new prospects for the world’s number one combat sports promotion. I’ll be looking at New Zealand’s own, Carlos Ulberg, the thrilling light heavyweight who has a defined career in kickboxing and looks to follow the footsteps of current UFC middleweight champion and light heavyweight title contender Israel Adesanya in becoming a world champion in the mixed martial arts world.
Life Before Fighting
Carlos Ulberg heavily embraces his German, Mãori, and Samoan heritage. And although he wasn’t raised with his biological parents, his roots have never been hidden from him. Ulberg had a hard upbringing being moved between foster families and being surrounded by extreme poverty and hardship. He was introduced into the world of drugs and alcohol along with abuse and violence at a very early age however he did not let this stop him from chasing and achieving his dream of becoming a professional combat sports athlete.
As a child, sports with heavy physical contact were not strange to Carlos Ulberg as he competed in Rugby and would later become a semi-professional in his teen years. as well as playing at such a high level, but he also became a counties-Manukau representative. This was definitely a motivating factor with his introduction into martial arts already having the experience of takedowns and extreme durability in not only his cardio but his brute strength as well.
Carlos Ulberg’s entry to the UFC was very similar to current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, they both competed in the kickboxing tournament known as the king of the ring, something that both fighters have won multiple times. Ulberg won one tournament at 86kg in 2014 and another at 100kg the following year, he is one of only a few fighters to achieve this. The light heavyweight prospect who trains alongside previously mentioned middleweight champion Adesanya and UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski also has a career in modeling he was offered to be on the New Zealand version of “The Bachelor” twice.
Carlos Ulberg made his mixed martial arts debut in 2011 and he won by TKO, 10 years later he becomes the seventh man to compete in the UFC out of City Kickboxing gym. He hasn’t competed much since his debut having only 4 fights since his initial bout and is still undefeated. He competed in Dana Whites Contender Series last November in the 4th series of the show putting on a flawless performance with a KO victory. He enters the promotion next week in the prelims of UFC 259 where his teammate headlines against current UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowitcz.
In modern-day MMA Carlos Ulberg is very inexperienced with a career of only 3-0 but including amateur bouts he is 5-0. However, this feat is not one that is statistically against him with other names being even less experienced in their UFC debut’s such as, BJ Penn (0-0) and Brock Lesnar (1-0) both becoming world champions and Penn even doing so in both the lightweight and welterweight division. With an impressive performance against Nigerian prospect Kennedy Nzechukwu, he will most likely be only a few more wins away from becoming ranked in the promotion and if everything goes successfully this could even happen by the end of the year.
Carlos Ulberg’s story is an inspiring tale of overcoming the hardships and setbacks of violence, abuse, drugs, and alcohol. He was someone who had everything against him and nothing to lose, his only motivation coming by way of being the outcast, maybe not socially but having such a unique upbringing and having to learn his heritage through people who may not have fully understood how to educate him on such a topic. He has found success in everything he has done not only being a multiple-time king of the ring winner but also winning the “I am Auckland” award, an award achieved by young people overcoming stereotypes and hard upbringings.
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