World MMA Light Heavyweight Scouting Report: #8 - Nik Fekete

Wrestling has had an significant role in molding what mixed martial arts is in today's sport. It's been deemed by many to be the best foundation a fighter can learn in order to succeed at a high-level. The popularity of mixed martial arts and the necessity of wrestling has also had a direct effect on the types of jobs that former wrestlers can gain in the sport. They can either become the fighters or train the fighters, and for our #8 ranked light heavyweight on our 2011 World MMA Scouting Report -- he's chosen to engage in both sides of the sport.

Nik Fekete (4-0), a NCAA Division I All-American from Michigan State University, has been instrumental in helping mold some of the most successful mixed martial artists in the world, but there is a very good chance you've never heard of him. A training partner to the 2008 Summer Olympic wrestling squad, Fekete has worked with Dan Henderson, Rashad Evans, and Forrest Griffin behind the scenes, and he's been flown to various parts of the world to help improve the skills of those hoping to become great fighters. The 30-year-old Xtreme Couture fighter now wants his chance to shine in the spotlight.

Offensive Skills: As you would expect, Fekete's offense is heavily integrated in his wrestling background. He's nearly unstoppable when it comes to dealing with his shot and takedown ability, and you can see exactly why he was sought out as a wrestling expert in the very few fights he's had as a professional.

Surprisingly, Fekete brings an aggressive stand-up game to the table as well. He has shown some good power in his hands in his short career, and he throws effective knees in the clinch that normally work in helping him obtain takedowns. His one-two combinations on the feet have battered his rather weak opponents, but I can't help but wonder how well he would do against solid competition.

Defensive Skills: Again, it's tough to gauge where Fekete stands with better competition, but he regularly trains with some of the best in the world. His wrestling serves as a defense mechanism whenever he finds himself in danger, but it's mostly a means to imposing his own gameplan and controlling where the fight takes place. It has kept him relatively unscathed in his short four-fight career.

In the stand-up game, he does have some holes in his defense, but his hands are normally in good position to block incoming blows. The threat of a takedown is more of a defensive advantage than anything his striking defense can provide, but it helps that he has the basic fundamentals down.

Progression: Fekete hasn't made any major improvements since his debut in the sport, but that's an unfair assessment considering he was a training partner to many top notch fighters before he ever stepped into the ring or cage. That small taste of the sport in combination with his training in the lead-up to his professional career has created a fighter who is already at a much higher level in terms of skill than your standard neophyte fighter. We'll need to see Fekete battle against stiffer competition in order to determine how he's progressing.

Environment: Fekete's main trainer is Dutch Muay Thai specialist Marco Van Den Broek, one of the trainers that Xtreme Couture fighters normally go to in order to hone their stand-up skills. Broek is directly responsible for the vast improvements in Amir Sadollah's stand-up game, but he's also helped UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson in the past year. Specifically, Broek is very high on the use of combinations to keep opponents at bay and land the downing shot at the tale end of those combinations. It's evident in Fekete's past bouts that this is true in his own stand-up game, and continued work with Broek will surely bring his game to a new level.

Lightweight Welterweight Middleweight
#1 - Thiago Michel
#2 - Ricardo Tirloni
#3 - Magno Almeida
#4 - Ui Cheol Nam
#5 - Henrique Mello
#6 - Reza Madadi
#7 - Alexander Sarnavskiy
#8 - Ole Laursen
#9 - Guillaume DeLorenzi
#10 - Al Iaquinta
#1 - Yuri Villefort
#2 - Alex Garcia
#3 - Erick Silva
#4 - Douglas Lima
#5 - Luis "Sapo" Santos
#6 - Jesse Juarez
#7 - Gunnar Nelson
#8 - Quinn Mulhern
#9 - Alberto Mina
#10 - Joe Ray
#1 - Papy Abedi
#2 - Chris Weidman
#3 - Vitor Vianna
#4 - Vyacheslav Vasilevsky
#5 - Bruno Santos
#6 - Costantinos Philippou
#7 - Jordan Smith
#8 - Uriah Hall
#9 - Victor O'Donnell
#10 - Assan Njie

Light Heavyweight
#8 - Nik Fekete
#9 - Marcus Vanttinen
#10 - Ronny Markes

Potential: The 30-year-old wrestling standout has a bright future ahead of him. As history tells us, world class wrestlers have an enormous advantage over anyone who wasn't bred in the wrestling mold. Even experienced veterans have trouble against neophyte fighters with heavy credentials in wrestling, as evident by Joe Warren's recent tear through the featherweight ranks.

For Fekete, he shows massive potential to become a top ten light heavyweight in the future. His age is somewhat of a factor, but it's hard to ignore his background and support system in Las Vegas. He has the perfect background to succeed in this sport. His strength of competition held the most significance in why he was ranked at #8, but a few wins against veteran competition would likely put him in the top five, if not top three on our list.

His only notable win thus far is a decision victory over Strikeforce prospect Ovince St. Preux, and some would say that the fight took place during a time in which St. Preux was only a shell of what he is today. Regardless, it's a big win and shows that Fekete has what it takes to progress to a much higher level.

Video:

Background of Fekete - Interview with Steve Cofield

Nik Fekete vs. Chris Bostick

Nick Fekete vs Shawn Frye

96kg Daniel Cormier vs Nick Fekete 2008 US Nationals Finals

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