As MMA’s old guard begins to fade, the new generation of fighters has quickly risen to take their places. New prospects appear every few months, but many are snuffed out before they can reach their full potential. Here’s a list of fighters that you should avoid early in your MMA career.
1. Masakazu Imanari
The" Ashikan Judan" or "10th Dan/Master of Leglocks" was put on this planet to separate limbs from bodies. He looks like a villain from an old school Kung-Fu flick. Like he could block your punch and remove your femur in one swift move. 13 of his 20 wins are submissions and 8 of those submissions are leglocks.
2. Chris Lytle
He’s been a middle of the pack Welterweight in the UFC since ’03. He’s far from a world beater, but he’s highly skilled on the feet and on the ground. He’s got more "of the night" awards than anyone in the UFC, and has only been beaten by elite level fighters.
3. Nik Lentz
If the sin of sloth had a human form that competed in MMA, it would be Nik Lentz. Many don’t like his style (myself included) but it’s ridiculously effective. It’s not the most exciting thing to watch but I’ve yet to see someone else stall a fight so effectively, save for maybe Antonio Mckee.
Why should you avoid him? He makes exciting strikers look helpless as he slowly nullifies their offensive weapons. And if you don’t have good takedown defense, you’ll probably end up like his last opponent. (see Winner, Andre)
4. Maximo Blanco
Most fighters have to learn how to fight, Maxi was already born with this knowledge. Striking that shouldn't work outside movies and aggression that can only be described as borderline hysteria is what you can expect when fighting Maximo Blanco.
Why should you avoid him? VIOLENCE (see Kim, Chang Hyun)
We all know and love/hate him as the whipping boy from TUF season 1, having his head used as a Piñata by Anderson Silva, and being willing to fight ANYONE at ANYTIME at ANY PLACE. He’s tested positive for steroids and probably will never be a champion, but he always shows up to brawl.
Why should you avoid him? He’s like a Christmas Fruitcake. Impossibly tough, can knock you out if he hits you, and no matter what happens he’s always there…year after year after year. Also, he’s got the innate ability to force technical fighters into all out brawls. (see Akiyama, Yoshihiro)
6. Dong Hyun Kim
The South Korean judoka made his UFC debut by lambasting Jason Tan with like 972 elbows. He’s an inexperienced grapplers nightmare. Watching him clown fighters on the ground is an arduous affair, but it’s beautiful to watch.
Why should you avoid him? He’s human Velcro. Don’t expect to strike against him at all, because you’ll be defending a never ending chain of Judo throws, sweeps, guard passes, and submission attempts. (see Sadollah, Amir)
7. Dan Miller
Wrestlers fear 2 things in MMA. Eating a well timed knee while shooting in for a double and getting caught in one of Dan Miller’s Guillotine Chokes. He locked Dave Phillips in the most insane Guillotine in MMA history. I mean, he literally turned a man into a human Question mark. What more needs to be said?
The "Streetfight Bancho" is a brawler. Plain and simple. No fancy throws. No BJJ wizardry. Just crazy amounts of fists being thrown at your face. Is he an unbeatable phenom? Nope, but unrelenting pressure and a good deal of power in his hands is more than enough to end any fighters night quickly.
Why should you avoid him? It won’t matter how elusive or technical you are, the fight will end up being a brawl. And if you don’t have a sturdy chin, you’re getting KTFO’d. (see Beebe, Chase)
Originally posted at Unintelligent Defense. A totally wicked awesome blog.
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*All fighter portraits are from Sherdog*