Derrick Krantz’ UFC debut wasn’t under the most ideal circumstances. With a full fight camp behind him, Krantz is ready to pick up that elusive first win inside the Octagon.
Krantz will face Kenan Song in a welterweight matchup this Saturday at UFC on ESPN+ 15. The event will emanate from the Universiade Sports Centre in Shenzhen, China, with the 170-pound showdown featured on the preliminary card.
The 31-year-old Krantz made his Octagon debut on just five days notice to face Vicente Luque at May’s UFC Rochester event, replacing Neil Magny who was flagged by USADA and removed from the card. “D-Rock” had a fast start in the fight, dropping and hurting Luque in the opening seconds. Luque was able to weather the storm and finished an exhausted Krantz late in the round via TKO to earn the victory.
Despite the loss, Krantz proved to himself that he belonged in the biggest MMA promotion in the world.
“I didn’t get the win that night but I felt pretty confident,” Krantz told The Scrap. “I felt like if I was 100-percent, Luque would’ve never made it off the ground, or out of that first round. Things happen the way they do and it really just solidified that the UFC was where I was supposed to be.”
Krantz headed into his UFC debut riding a four-fight winning streak, which included two victories under the LFA banner. Now that he has a full fight camp under his belt, Krantz can show the world what he is capable of in the cage, and not be a depleted version of himself like he was when he took on Luque.
“All I can do is come back and be even more ready this time,” Krantz said. “I had a good, long camp for this fight, my weight’s on point, my cardio is there, and I want to say that I’m more ready than I’ve ever been for a fight. It’s gonna be a good show out in China.”
“When I took that fight against Luque, I was 197-pounds the day I took the fight,” Krantz continued. “It was five days notice and I had to cut 27 pounds. I won’t have a big, hard weight cut so all of my muscles and energy should still be there. And I should be able to take a better punch if I hydrate correctly.”
Standing across the Octagon from Krantz will be 29-year-old Kenan Song, who also will look to bounce back from a loss in his most recent appearance. After winning his first two fights in the Octagon, Song would lose a unanimous decision to Alex Morono in November at UFC Fight Night 141 in Beijing. Song will have his second consecutive fight in his home country and Krantz aims to play the role of spoiler on Saturday.
“I think it’s a pretty good matchup for me,” Krantz said of his opponent. “Obviously he’s tough, he can take a good punch and he’s hard to put away. I’m not sure how great his jiu-jitsu is but I know he’s had some submission victories. He’s an all-around good fighter. I would say everybody is in the UFC, so I need to go out there and do what I’m trained to do, and that’s put him away.”
Derrick Krantz has a plan mapped out to round out the year: get a victory on Saturday against Kenan Song, and return home to Texas to enjoy hunting season. In terms of how he sees Saturday’s fight playing out, Krantz sees a quick night at the office, or a long, grueling night for his opponent.
“I would say… he’s tough, he can take a good punch, but I’m gonna be looking for a finish,” Krantz stated. “If it doesn’t come, he’s gonna have a hard three rounds, I promise.”
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The Scrap’s Mike Heck is an interviewer and features writer for FloCombat, The Body Lock, MyMMANews and BJPenn.com. Happily married and a proud father, Mike also hosts a weekly podcast called Between the Links on the Loudmouth MMA Podcast Network and YouTube page. Follow all of Mike’s exclusive video interviews at Mike Heck MMA on YouTube and follow him on Twitter (@MikeHeck_JR).