Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"
Ashiek Ajim (3-1) vs. Carlos Espinosa (6-4)
Fighting out of: Queens, New York
Affiliation: Long Island MMA
Record: 3-1 (2 Knockouts)
Last fight: Second round TKO (Punches) loss to Kris Moutinho at CES 61: Gotti III vs. Alley. (10/14/20)
“The Skinny”: I’ve made it known for a little while that I remain pretty high on Long Island MMA’s Ashiek Ajim, in my opinion he is one of the most talented strikers amongst all Northeast Bantamweights. Unfortunately for Ajim he ran into a highly motivated Kris Moutinho at CES 61 last time out, suffering the first loss of his professional career. Knowing what some already knew and what some have since learned; the loss, in a slugfest with the now UFC rostered Moutinho, may end up going down as a feather in the cap of Ajim, rather than a knock against him. “The Freak” looks to get back to his winning ways Friday night when he takes on fellow CES MMA veteran Carlos Espinosa live on UFC Fight Pass.
Fighting out of: Tampa, Florida
Affiliation: American Top Team Tampa
Record: 6-4 (3 Knockouts, 1 Submission)
Last fight: Unanimous decision victory over Leandro Cavalho at CES 62: Paiva vs. Smith. (04/30/21)
“The Skinny”: Tampa’ Florida’s Carlos Espinosa made his CES MMA debut last time out in his tenth professional fight matching wits with Leandro Cavalho for three rounds of what turned out to be predominately a striking affair, with Espinosa getting the nod on the judges scorecards. Espinosa should be preparing for yet another test of his striking Friday night as he takes on exciting Bantamweight contender; Ashiek Ajim, aiming to go 2-0 inside the CES MMA cage in his first two starts with the promotion.
Breakdown: This matchup has “Fight of the Night” potential written all over it, both of these guys are extremely confident in their stand up abilities and that will likely be on display Friday night when the pin drops on their CES Bantamweight bout. Espinosa brings a slightly more refined approach to the striking game, Carlos will look for holes in Ajim’s offense and try to exploit them with technically sound counters. Ajim on the other hand just bites down on his mouthpiece and hits the gas pedal, heavy firepower, endless combinations and a durable jaw make Ajim a problem in the Bantamweight division. We did mention that Ajim will be coming off the loss to Kris Moutinho at CES 61 but that does not mean that “The Freak” did not have his moments in the contest with the iron chinned Moutinho, because he most certainly did.
I see Ajim’s aggressiveness being too much to handle the more finessed approach of Espinosa, not allowing Carlos to set up his more tactical striking and making this fight ugly. Ajim never seems to tire, as his constant forward pressure usually derails any type of offense his opponents had planned. Espinosa, however, will be looking to prove his skeptics wrong Friday night by notching the upset win over the highly touted Ajim and handing the promising Bantamweight his second consecutive loss. After what I’ve seen of Ajim in his first four pro bouts, I find it hard to imagine him not finding a way to get his hand raised at CES 63 against Florida’s Espinosa and continuing on his path as one of the more exciting Bantamweight talents in the region.