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It’s precisely why Ottow is where he is right now, about to make his eighth walk to the Octagon on Saturday night against Alex Morono. At 13-3 to start his career, he obviously had talent for the sport, and his work ethic allowed him to make the transition from the college football gridiron to MMA a seamless one. So when he got the short-notice call from the UFC in 2016, he was ready for his big moment and he delivered, defeating Josh Burkman.
Then the adversity showed up, with Ottow alternating losses and wins over his last six fights. It’s been a frustrating run, with a blistering knockout of Mike Pyle followed by a knockout loss to Sage Northcutt epitomizing the highs and lows. But when he took another short-notice assignment, this one at home in Milwaukee in December, a win over Dwight Grant may have been the signal that the tide was turning. And hey, he got to enjoy his 32nd birthday and the holidays as well after upping his record to 17-6.
“It was good timing because it was right before my birthday and the holidays, so I didn’t know when that next fight was gonna be,” he said. “I thought I was probably gonna get the phone call that was gonna put me into a training camp and I was gonna have to miss out on the holidays, but it was a short notice phone call to take that fight. Of course, fighting in my hometown is a bucket list thing for me, so I didn’t really care who the opponent was, I was gonna say yes. It was a pretty tough matchup for me, stylistically. He brought a lot to the table, but getting the win in the hometown it was nice to get that done with and out of the way.”
Ottow now has a fresh start to kick off 2019, and he gets it against an opponent he’s wanted to face in Texas’ Morono.
“I don’t know who called out who first, but once one of us did, the other person was like, ‘Yeah, I want that fight too,’” Ottow said. “So any time there was an opportunity for one of us to make a call after a win, he was calling me out for a little bit and I was calling him out. I’ve known his name for a while, we both fought for Legacy on the regional level and he’s always a guy I thought I’d come across one day. And the way our careers have gone in the UFC, it makes sense on paper, the matchmakers listened and here we are fighting each other. For me, it’s nothing personal, I really don’t know the guy, but I think it’s a good matchup on paper and one the fans are gonna enjoy.”