Lightweights take center stage at LFA 109 as Terrance McKinney welcomes Michael Irizarry to the Legacy Fighting Alliance. The promotional newcomer makes his first appearance since 2019 to face McKinney, who’s amassed two opening-round stoppages already this year.
LFA 109: McKinney vs Irizarry is set to kick off at 9:00 PM (ET), streaming exclusively on UFC Fight Pass. The event is scheduled to take place at the Grand Hotel Casino & Resort in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
Terrance McKinney (9-3, 1-0 LFA) returned to the cage this past March after not competing in 2020. The 26-year-old needed just 33 seconds to dispose of his two foes. “T-Wrecks” dazzled in his LFA debut, landing a fight-ending head kick on Toninho Gavinho. The former Contender Series participant has an incredible story: Facing death in 2015 as a result of injuring himself while intoxicated, McKinney mightily fought back and made his pro debut a year later. On top of that, he suffered major injuries in his fifth pro bout, breaking his fibula and tibia bones. Notably, McKinney enters LFA 109 having only lost to Sean Woodson and Darrick Minner (aside from losing due to injury).
Michael Irizarry (12-3, 0-0 LFA) enters having won seven of his last eight contests, with six of the victories coming via finish. “The Puerto Rican Powerhouse” trains at Caribbean Top Team Mayaguez, but he’s gotten some recent work in with Donald Cerrone at the BMF Ranch as well. The 29-year-old hasn’t fought since December of 2019, yet he still finds himself headlining, which speaks to how highly thought of Irizarry is. He has the chance to pick up the biggest win of his career at LFA 109.
McKinney vs Irizarry Breakdown
First and foremost, this is an orthodox versus southpaw matchup and both athletes tend to stick with their preferred stances. McKinney will own a three-inch reach advantage as the southpaw. That fact combined with the opposing stances should provide frequent opportunities for him to throw his lethal head kicks. “T-Wrecks” effectively set up the left head kick with the jab in both of his recent victories.
Meanwhile, Irizarry is a bit more flatfooted on the feet, while being less diverse also. However, “The Puerto Rican Powerhouse” is normally looking to get the fight on the mat where he’s incredibly dangerous. If he’s able to get ahold of his opponent at LFA 109, he’ll more than likely be the stronger fighter. Once on the ground, Irizarry is very heavy as he mixes in ground and pound while advancing and hunting submissions.
Don’t sleep on McKinney’s grappling though because he’s an accomplished collegiate wrestler. If he’s able to keep the fight standing, he should have a distinct edge in the striking department. Expect Irizarry to be alert to the head kicks, but if McKinney lands a couple of hard leg/body kicks, the head might open up. This whole fight changes if Irizarry takes McKinney down and gains top position. Unless McKinney lands a fight-ending blow in the early exchanges, it’s likely that he’ll be forced to defend a takedown. The result of that grappling trade will be a huge tell for the rest of the contest.
McKinney vs Irizarry Final Thoughts
It’s difficult to project how Irizarry will look at LFA 109 because of his recent inactivity. Perhaps he made sizeable strides in his striking game, but if he hasn’t it might be a bad matchup for him. McKinney’s wrestling pedigree accompanying his striking advantage gives him the nod on paper.
Both McKinney and Irizarry have the potential to reach great heights within the sport. Gaining a victory in the LFA 109 headliner is pivotal for their career trajectories, which makes this a must-watch affair.
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Featured Image Credits to Legacy Fighting Alliance