According to a report from Tatame.com, #1 ranked welterweight on the 2011 World MMA Scouting Report, Yuri Villefort (6-0), will debut at Strikeforce Challengers 16 on June 24th in Kent, Washington. His opponent will be Lyle Beerbohm fight team member Travis Bush (5-2-1).
In December, we unveiled that Villefort had topped our own welterweight scouting report series covering the best prospects outside of any major promotion. As we pointed out in the article, Yuri's potential is his biggest plus in placing him in high regard among a loaded field that included fellow Brazilian prospect Erick Silva and Bellator-bound Douglas Lima:
Potential: Yuri's #1 ranking is based heavily on the fact that he has the potential to be a clear cut #1 fighter in the world in a few years. He possesses all the skills to go on the offensive in any area of a fight, and the only question is whether his continued progression will turn him into the fighter that many fans believe he can become.
I believe this is a bit of a risky pick as well for our #1 prospect, mainly because Yuri has some similarities to Erick Silva in that there is a lot of stale moments in his offense. He seems to be much more of a counter fighter in his approach, but most of the time -- he must eventually go on the offensive because his opponents aren't willing to be a punching bag to his counters. While I'm not opposed to slow starts and a steady pace, it's a bit strange that Yuri isn't throwing devastating leg kicks with more frequency when it's obvious that his opponent can't handle the power.
Those are some things he'll need to work on in the future, but overall -- Yuri has the potential and skills to become a highly-ranked world class fighter in the UFC. Furthermore, he's stated that 2011 may be the year that he goes on a 4 to 5 fight run and angles his way at a UFC berth late in the year or in early 2012. Look forward to seeing if he can do that in 2011.
Villefort has been on the shelf since June of last year, so hopefully the time has been well spent taking care of some of the things I felt were problems in his progress moving forward. Fortunately, Villefort is only 20 years old, leading me to believe the potential he's shown could lead to big things in the future.