Strikeforce Signs #1 Ranked Scouting Report Light Heavyweight Marcos Pezao

Marcos Pezao, the #1 ranked light heavyweight prospect on the 2011 World MMA Scouting Report, has signed with Strikeforce.Photo by Portal Do Vale Tudo

According to a report from Sherdog.com, Marcos Pezao, the #1 ranked prospect in the light heavyweight division on the 2011 World MMA Scouting Report, has signed a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce:

Undefeated Brazilian light heavyweight prospect Marcos Rogerio de Lima has inked a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce.

Sherdog.com confirmed the signing Tuesday with multiple sources close to the deal. According to those with knowledge of the situation, "Pezao" has neither a date nor an opponent for his Strikeforce debut, which will most likely occur this fall. September is said to the earliest that the 205-pounder could join the promotion.

The signing continues a trend of the now-Zuffa backed promotion actively seeking out new talent. Many Scouting Report rankees have been snatched up quickly in the last few months by Strikeforce as a means to improving the otherwise lackluster local undercards that were previously promoted. Instead of unknowns, we now get legitimate talents who will be featured on televised undercards, and Marcos Pezao is a fighter you should be very excited to watch in the future.

Pezao's vaunted kickboxing background has translated to an undefeated 8-0 record in mixed martial arts that includes a win over Paulo Filho. The significance of beating Filho has lost its meaning for most fans, but Pezao has finished seven of eight opponents via TKO or KO. As I outlined in January, Pezao has the weapons to be an upper-tier fighter:

Offensive Skills: Pezao's arsenal consists of your standard combination of Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu that we see from most fighters coming out of Brazil. The significant difference between Pezao and the rest of pack is that he packs wrecking balls in his hands and dynamite in his kicks. The heavily-credentialed Muay Thai striker turned mixed martial artist is one of the most aggressive strikers on our countdown, and his intimidating style and demeanor, i.e. swagger, in the ring is great to watch.

His success mostly stems from the fact that he has a lot of diversity in his attacks. Not only does he aggressively hunt for knockouts, but he's shown destructive force in his kicking game. Front kicks, leg kicks, body kicks... you think of it, he's probably knocked someone out with it. His front kicks are especially impressive as he's adept at landing on the chin, and he's very good at masking his initial attack and blasting away at his opponent's legs. Think of Pezao as a much powerful version of Edson Barboza.

The biggest question is whether Pezao has been improving his ground game enough to deal with what he'll inevitably encounter stateside... wrestlers. If he hasn't, his move to Strikeforce may be short-lived, and his aspirations to fight in the UFC will likely die in the next six months. Hopefully, his time off has allowed him to improve in those areas enough to surprise us when he steps into the cage in the imminent future.

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