Matt Wiman’s last fight in the UFC was five years ago. Granted, he was successful in this most recent outing, but the fact remains that it took place half a decade ago. So when up-and-coming lightweight prospect Luis Pena was informed that he would be facing the hitherto inactive Wiman at UFC Greenville tonight, he literally did not take his opponent seriously:
“I’m not gonna lie, I was like, I didn’t know how to respond,” Pena told MMA Fighting. “Dude hasn’t fought in close to five years so at first I thought my manager was joking because I thought he was retired. Then they said, ‘No, this is the guy. This is who they want.’ I saw the contract in my e-mail and I was like, this is official, let’s do this.”
Although Wiman is only 35 years old, Luis Pena considers him a product of a previous generation and tonight’s bout to be a case of old school vs. new school. But Pena is very mindful that Wiman, despite his layoff, is still the much more experienced fighter with an extensive, albeit dusty, toolkit:
“When it comes to fighting someone who’s been in the game as long as Matt has and he fought in the time period that he did, one of the big things we’re focusing on this camp is kind of getting used to seeing a lot of these veteran tricks he’s going to employ,” Pena said.
“Stuff when it comes to controlling pace and trying to control the Octagon and fighting next to the judges, stuff like that, we’re trying to mitigate all of those intangible factors as well as just go out there and show the game’s evolved in the five years since he’s been away.”
UFC Greenville takes place tonight, June 22, 2019 from the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, South Carolina. The prelims, which will include this lightweight about between Luis Pena and Matt Wiman, kick off at 4:00 PM ET on ESPN; and the main card, headlined by Renato Moicano and The Korean Zombie will air at 7:00 PM on ESPN+.
What is your prediction for Luis Pena’s bout against Matt Wiman tonight at UFC Greenville?