Heavyweight MMA is still a bit of a weird place. Prospects rarely seem to enter the sport at a young age, almost never seem to follow a traditional athletic career path, and are often almost indistinguishable from run of the mill regional talent in their first few years. That's sort of where we find Jack May, unheralded, out of his 20's, but not untalented. MMAJunkie has the report of his signing, May will make his debut at UFC on Fox 11 against fellow newcomer Derrick Lewis (who was originally slated to debut at UFC on Fox Sports 1 before an injury took him off the card.)
The 32 year old May trains out of Combat Submission Wrestling under the guidance of former Shooto champion Erik Paulson and alongside Josh Barnett. However, despite the grappling credentials of his camp, May is a Thai-styled kickboxer first and foremost. He's competed a bit on the K-1 circuit and started his athletic career as a college basketball player. As one would expect out of a former basketball player he's tall, standing all of 6' 8" and 250 lbs. May will enter the UFC with a 7-0 record with six wins coming by first round KO. He hasn't faced much in the way of high level competition, so Lewis will be a big step up for his resume.
Watching May fight, his striking skill is obvious. He throws combinations with solid power and accuracy and with a good rhythm. He kicks extremely well and mixes between leg, head, and body kicks with ease. He's a bit of a headhunter as a boxer, but that's not terribly surprising, considering that he has to punch down to hit the head of most of his opponents. The surprising aspect of May's game, and this may be a credit to his time with Barnett & Co. is his strong takedown defense. He sprawls well, gets underhooks, and uses his really decent clinch game to regain control and create damage as he defends.
All told May is a big, hard hitting sprawl and brawl fighter with some surprisingly technical skills... but, and there is a caveat, I have some real concerns about his gas tank. He has always looked a little soft around the middle, and while he generally hasn't been in the cage long enough to need a lot of endurance, he lost his K-1 bout against Jarrell Miller almost entirely due to how bad he faded inside of one round. If he hasn't taken serious steps to up his cardio his time in the UFC could be short lived. Derrick Lewis isn't as technical as May, but he's not chinny and he's shown the ability to outwork opponents and stop them late in fights. That could be all the difference he needs in this bout.
To get us better acquainted with May, here's his most recent fight against Carl Seumanutafa at Tachi Palace Fights 18. (The fight starts at about two hours in)
- Fetitta offers full financial cooperation to NSAC for extensive testing of UFC fighters
- Searching for Future Champions: MMA's Top 25 Prospects, Recap and Analysis
- For Thiago Silva, a guilty verdict might mean deportation
- Anthony Johnson: Either pay us like MLB stars or let us do PEDs
- The 20 Greatest Wrestling Matches Between Future MMA Stars, Part V: 11-10