January 2015 saw Taylor Swift dominating the charts with “Shake it Off” and “Blank Space”. A period with Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosting The Golden Globe Awards and American Sniper taking the box office by storm.
It was also the last time Kevin Croom competed inside the cage as a bantamweight.
He returns to the weight category for a matchup versus Alatengheili on April 16th at UFC Vegas 51. A move back to bantamweight always seemed imminent for Crash. But Croom wanted to wait until the big stage to drop back down again where there’s more incentive.
A lot of gritty veterans were faced through his featherweight fights in recent years. Short notice turnarounds abounded too but it seems like full-fight camps are going to become the norm with this divisional switch.
Losses in his last pair of Octagon outings to Alex Caceres and Brian Kelleher have inspired a number of lifestyle changes and positive amendments to Croom’s preparations.
The assessment of Alatengheili was complimentary of his skills but also indicated personal confidence in executing a path to victory.
“I think he’s a game opponent,” Croom told The AllStar. “He’s your typical UFC guy. A veteran, he has been around, he’s very good. I think I’m better and I plan on showing that one hundred percent. But I mean he’s tough, man. We’re all tough at this point. You can say the same thing for just about anybody in the division. He’s tough, he throws hard shots. Once you get him started, there’s going to be three or four really hard ones.
“Difficult guy but I think my reach advantage and my height advantage if I can use that properly, it shouldn’t be a problem. I could just jab him to death. I think I could win the fight just with my jab. But we’ll see, we’ll find out.”
Croom’s fight prediction again drew attention to his lead striking tool. But he expounded upon things in even greater detail.
“I believe I can win this fight with just a jab,” Croom claimed. “I have seven-and-a-half-inches reach on him, something like that. Not that he’s not going to try to make it a dog fight. As long as I can use my reach, I believe I can one-two him to death. I think I can finish him. Think I can get in close eventually after getting his rhythm down. He’s obviously gonna want to get in and make it a dog fight.
“But if I can control the range and keep him out, I believe I can start dapping him up. Take the fight wherever and get a finish, maybe in the late second or third. But obviously, I’m going to be really smart and use my range. This guy is tough. I’m just going to prepare to pot-shot him the whole time. Not going to blow my load trying to finish him. I know how tough and durable he is. I’m not coming in expecting an easy fight at all. This guy’s a warrior, for sure.”
Kevin “Crash” Croom is a 34-year-old male fighter from the United States with 21 pro wins and 14 losses. Croom is scheduled to fight Heili Alateng at UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Muhammad 2 on Saturday, April 16, 2022.
Kevin Croom’s recent form coming into this matchup
Kevin Croom has gone 2-2 in the last 5 professional MMA fights.
- Loss vs Brian Kelleher • Decision R3 5:00 • 2022-01-15
- Loss vs Alex Caceres • Decision R3 5:00 • 2021-02-27
- No Contest vs Roosevelt Roberts • Submission R1 0:31 • 2020-09-12
- Win vs Anderson Hutchinson • Decision R5 5:00 • 2020-08-14
- Win vs Adil Benjilany • Decision R3 5:00 • 2020-02-21
Kevin Croom’s next opponent: “The Mongolian Knight” Heili Alateng
“The Mongolian Knight” Heili Alateng’s recent form coming into this matchup
“The Mongolian Knight” Heili Alateng is a 30-year-old male fighter from China with 14 pro wins and 8 losses. Alateng is scheduled to fight Kevin Croom at UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Muhammad 2 on Saturday, April 16, 2022.
Heili Alateng has gone 3-1-1 in the last 5 professional MMA fights.
- Draw vs Gustavo Lopez • Decision R3 5:00 • 2021-09-18
- Loss vs Casey Kenney • Decision R3 5:00 • 2020-10-03
- Win vs Ryan Benoit • Decision R3 5:00 • 2019-12-21
- Win vs Batgerel Danaa • Decision R3 5:00 • 2019-08-31
- Win vs Jong Hyun Kwak • KO/TKO R2 2:40 • 2018-05-12
How to watch and bet on Kevin Croom vs Heili Alateng
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