World MMA Light Heavyweight Scouting Report: #10 - Ronny Markes

Surveying the USAT/SBN Light Heavyweight rankings, what is the most common factor that makes a fighter successful? Obviously, skill is something that encompasses all fighters in every weight class, but the light heavyweight division is one of the most exciting weight classes for a reason. The fighters who sit at 205 pounds can achieve the power to knock opponents out quickly while also possessing the strength and speed to be as exciting as some of the lower weight classes. Add into that equation the top notch training gained from the best mixed martial arts camps in the world, and you have the breeding ground for a continuous stream of talent.

Starting off our 2011 World MMA Light Heavyweight Scouting Report, Nova Uniao Kimura team member Ronny Markes (8-1) chimes in at #10 on our countdown. Markes started his career with a seven-fight winning streak before being caught by Paulo Henrique Garcia Rodrigues at Iron Man VII in October. He bounced back quickly with a knockout win over Fernando Silva in November. Despite the loss, his style of fighting and proven finishing abilities put him in our class of rising prospects who may make a splash in the UFC in 2011.

Offensive Skills: Markes isn't your protypical Brazilian fighter. While he does possess the base skill-set of most Brazilians, he is more prone to imposing his wrestling background and relying on his developing jiu-jitsu game to submit opponents. That doesn't imply he won't use his power to knock opponents out, however, as he has finished off four of his nine opponents via knockout.

His takedown game is his greatest strength in the offensive category. He commits to his shots, normally resulting in powerful slams into side control or mount. A developing submission game acts as his means to finishing off opponents, but as I alluded to before -- he'll punch opponents out quickly if given the opportunity.

Defensive Skills: Markes has a number of holes in his game, and that's one of the main reasons why he sits at #10 on our list. His grappling is only at a purple belt level at this point in his career. While he is working to increase that skill level, he's been exposed in bouts by better grapplers, escaping most of those unscathed while getting caught by Paulo Henrique in October. He'll need to tighten up his submission defense if he intends to work from top control regularly.

On the feet, his stand-up defense isn't exactly impenetrable, and it's obvious that striking isn't a major strength. He mostly boxes from his feet to set up takedowns, but he will throw knee strikes when he sees an opening. He keeps his hands up for the most part, but there are times when it's a concern that he'll be countered. Progressing his stand-up skills should improve his defense, and it should add some danger to his opponents in the striking portion of bouts.

Progression: Early bouts ran parallel with what we see regularly in small promotions in the States: brawls. They weren't technically sound performances, but Markes was able to get the job done. Nowadays, he's much more patient and follows a specific gameplan in his fights. That's a major step up in his development, and a continued focus on both his grappling and stand-up game could make him one of the most well-rounded prospects of the class by the end of 2011. The best part. He's only 22 years old.

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
#10 - Ronny Markes

Environment: Markes currently trains out of Nova Uniao Kimura under the tutelage of Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Jair Lourenco. Lourenco is considered one of the major players in the formation of Nova Uniao, and he's also been instrumental in producing top notch Brazilian jiu-jitsu trainers and active, young fighters.

The camp houses flyweight kingpin Jussier Formiga among a number of solid up-and-coming prospects and veteran fighters. Camp members also have access to the training partners of Nova Uniao's primary camp, which could help Markes progress quickly.

Interestingly enough, Markes has journeyed to the Netherlands to fight and train. Utilizing the country's storied history in kickboxing, Markes has been able to hone his skills in the kickboxing department with those trips overseas.

Potential: At 22 years of age, Markes has a lot of time to progress, but he's proven he may be at the level to progress into a major promotion in 2011. Unlike many of Brazil's grappling elite, Markes possesses the wrestling ability to be a threat to some of the UFC's better strikers who don't quite have the grappling ability to compete in chess matches on the ground. If he can continue to improve both his submission game and stand-up skills, he could become a future contender in one of the major promotion's light heavyweight division in two or three years.

Video:

Ronny Markes vs. Roque Oliver

Ronny Markes vs. Enrico Vaccaro - 1st professional bout

Ronny Markes vs. Wanderlan Vila Cruzeiro

Ronny Markes vs. Paulo Henrique Garcia Rodrigues

Ronny Markes x Caio Magalhães (grappling)

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