Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Judo are two martial arts that would seem like the perfect combination of stealthy takedowns and slick submission skills, yet we don't see the two in tandem as much as you would think inside the cage. Judo has had a lot of appeal to hardcore fans hoping to see its high-flying hip tosses and trips on display, and those techniques have been ideal in punishing opponents in the Judo world. Unfortunately, they haven't transitioned to mixed martial arts as effectively as one would hope they would.
Fortunately for fans, our #9 ranked welterweight, Alberto Mina (6-0), has had some success in his short mixed martial arts career in implementing his Judo. Combined with a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, Mina has torn through the regional circuit in England and now makes a strong case for a potential shot at the UFC.
Offensive Skills: Mina's primary means of finishing opponents normally takes place on the ground, whether it be from ground and pound or slick transitions to submissions. He holds black belts in both Judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, both under Roberto Fialho, who was the Brazilian Olympic Judo coach at one point. While there are plenty of Judo converts in mixed martial arts today, it's not too often that we see one use the teachings of his trade inside the cage, but Mina is an exception as he cleverly tripped and threw opponents in the clinch to gain top control in many of his early bouts.
His striking game is a work in progress however, and look no further than his battle with TUF alumnist Dean Amasinger at Ultimate Challenge in February. While Mina eventually defeated Amasinger in the third round via a perfectly timed trip and transition to full mount in one foul swoop, he was battling back and forth with Amasinger's jab/hook combination for much of the fight. Reach is a disadvantage for Mina as well, but I'll hold out hope for him as he may be able to utilize camps close to him in London, perhaps a stint at Team Rough House.
Defensive Skills: Mina has some deficiencies in both the stand-up and ground game when it comes to his defensive techniques. His defense to strikes isn't a bulwark by any means, and he is susceptible to eating blows. Luckily, his kicks do serve as a means to neutralizing his opponents' power. On the floor, Mina can be quite slick, but there is some concern that the dominant position wrestlers of the North American mixed martial arts scene could avoid those transitions and render Mina ineffective. He is, however, much more well-rounded in his defensive tactics that most welterweights at the same stage in their careers.
Progression & Learning Ability: The early days of Alberto Mina's career were very raw. His gameplans mostly revolved around aggressively going after his opponents, laying them on their back, and attacking from top control with punches or submission attempts. While the style was quite effective in gassing out his opponents, Mina put himself in a lot of danger in the scramble. Fortunately for him, his opponents had no answer for his Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques or ground and pound when he gained the advantageous top position.
His recent bouts have shown more patience and a willingness to strike with opponents. While some might say sticking to your roots is the means to continued success, I find it hopeful that Mina is, at the very least, trying to hone his striking skills and seeing some results in live competition versus sparring. In the end, Mina normally resorts to his proven ways, but his striking will need to be much better in the future if he intends to compete in a promotion like the UFC.
Environment: As you've probably gathered, Mina is a bit of an anomaly when it comes to his training camp. For the longest time, he was based in Brazil, but he's currently fighting out of London Shootfighters. This is likely due to the fact that he's being compensated for instilling his knowledge in both the Judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu martial arts on his teammates, and it seems to be working out quite well for him so far.
My only problem with the arrangement is Mina's foray into the British mixed martial arts scene, which still seems rather weak in terms of well-rounded competition. Some of the promotions in the region are branching out and grabbing talent from Brazil and Eastern Europe however, and that could give Mina some looks at much more skilled opponents over your standard British striker.
World MMA Welterweight Scouting Report:
#10 - Joe Ray
Potential: Mina needs to work on his striking in order to become a challenging competitor to the fighters in the UFC. While he does possess the Judo techniques and Brazilian jiu-jitsu wizardry to be an absolute nightmare for strikers with poor takedown defense, I imagine wrestlers with solid submission defense or strikers with devastating power could take advantage of him quickly.
There is some hope however, and it mainly stems from the fact that Mina is becoming more active and pushing himself in the stand-up game to become more well-rounded. If he can continue to improve those skills, he should be able give his transitions to the ground a little less resistance from his opposition. After all, if you're worried about being punched in the face, some of those defensive techniques in stuffing takedowns get a little weaker. I look forward to seeing how Mina looks in his next fight, hopefully a step up in competition since his last battle with Dean Amasinger.