2012 World MMA Light Heavyweight Scouting Report: #3 - Tom DeBlass

Photo by Keith Mills, Sherdog

Name: 22px-flag_of_the_united_states Tom DeBlass
Nickname: --
Age: 29
Height: 6'0"
Forked River, New Jersey

Tom DeBlass (6-0) is no stranger to the sweaty mats that fill every mixed martial arts gym in America. But that isn't because he's been part of the booming population of athletes in their twenties making the transition to the sport. He's taken a slightly different approach.

During his college years at Monmouth University in West Long Beach, New Jersey, DeBlass became enamored with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, so much, in fact, that he eventually found his way to UFC veteran Ricardo Almeida's academy. There, he forged what became a lifelong friendship with Almeida, training and eventually attaining a black belt under his guidance.

By 2006, DeBlass was the co-captain of Almeida's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition team. In the three years leading up the captaincy, he had won a number of NAGA and Grapplers' Quest championships, but grander accomplishments came later when DeBlass took home the 2009 East Coast ADCC North American Trials championship and a bronze medal at the 2009 No-Gi Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championships.

Naturally, DeBlass transitioned from pure grappling to full-fledged fighting in 2010, debuting professionally at Ring of Combat 30 last June against J.A. Dudley. He won by unanimous decision. A little over three months later, he stopped Tom Velasquez twenty seconds into the second round. Wins over Mitch Whitesel, Mike Stewart, and UFC veteran Sean Salmon increased his unblemished mark to five wins, and he capped off 2011 with a victory over Georgian M-1 veteran Davit Tkeshelashvili at Ring of Combat 38.

Much of DeBlass' success stems from the obvious advantage he possesses on the ground. He wields an effective top control game, using it to transition to dominant positions in which he can threaten by either submission or a prolonged beating.

What separates DeBlass from grappling-heavy prospects is his well-balanced skill-set. He isn't the most proficient striker by any means, but he's proven that he can beat opponents if the fight remains standing. With more training and focus on the technical aspects of striking, DeBlass could see more wins produced by knockout, especially if opponents disrespect the deceptive power he possesses.

DeBlass is also one of the hardest working prospects on the entire 2012 Scouting Report, training, at the very least, six days a week, two to three times a day, and traveling over 1000 miles in that time. He trains with Ricardo Almeida on all things MMA, fine tunes his boxing with Mark Henry, Frankie Edgar's boxing coach, and gets his strength and conditioning in with Brian Blue at All-Star Sports Academy. To say that DeBlass is prepared is an understatement.

I fully expect to see significant improvements in DeBlass' overall game when he steps into the cage against Tiger Schulmann's Carlos Brooks on February 2 at Ring of Combat 39. Depending how the title defense goes, it isn't unfathomable that DeBlass' phone will be ringing quickly afterward. He has all the tools to succeed at the highest levels. The only thing left is to prove it.

Check out a highlight reel of Tom's after the jump. Get a subscription at GFL.tv to view Tom's fights and upcoming cards such as all Ring of Combat events.

Flyweight Bantamweight Featherweight Lightweight
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#1 - Rony Mariano
#2 - Aljamain Sterling
#3 - Chris Holdsworth
#4 - Josh Hill
#5 - Fabiano Fernandes
#6 - Claudio Ledesma
#7 - Sirwan Kakai
#8 - Kyoji Horiguchi
#9 - Leandro Hygo
#10 - Pedro Munhoz
#1 - Hacran Dias
#2 - Joey Gambino
#3 - Brandon Bender
#4 - Lance Palmer
#5 - Jim Alers
#6 - Anthony Gutierrez
#7 - Max Holloway
#8 - John Teixeira
#9 - Cody Bollinger
#10 - Bubba Jenkins
#1 - Fabricio Guerreiro
#2 - Alessandro Ferreira
#3 - Adriano Martins
#4 - Justin Salas
#5 - Neilson Gomes
#6 - Eduard Folayang
#7 - Zorobabel Moreira
#8 - Anton Kuivanen
#9 - Jordan Rinaldi
#10 - J.P. Vainikainen
Welterweight Middleweight Light Heavyweight Heavyweight
#1 - Andrey Koreshkov
#2 - Dhiego Lima
#3 - Brandon Thatch
#4 - Nordine Taleb
#5 - Hernani Perpetuo
#6 - Brock Jardine
#7 - Alan Jouban
#8 - Mohsen Bahari
#9 - Andre Santos
#10 - Stephen Thompson
#1 - Antonio Braga Neto
#2 - Marcelo Guimaraes
#3 - Claudio Silva
#4 - Bojan Velickovic
#5 - Ildemar Alcantara
#6 - Michal Materla
#7 - Elvis Mutapcic
#8 - Tor Troeng
#9 - Jack Hermansson
#10 - Tim Ruberg
#1 -
#2 -
#3 - Tom DeBlass
#4 - Misha Cirkunov
#5 - Kyle Cerminara
#6 - Robert Drysdale
#7 - Artur Alibulatov
#8 - Thiago Perpetuo
#9 - Steve Bosse
#10 - Juha Saarinen
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Tom DeBlass HL

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