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World MMA Featherweight Scouting Report: #9 - Isaac DeJesus

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At #9 on our 2011 World MMA Featherweight Scouting Report, Stockton, California-born Isaac DeJesus (9-3) lands on our countdown, bringing a plethora of kickboxing experience and speed to our list of featherweight prospects. Despite a 1-3 record in his last four fights, the Strikeforce and Tachi Palace Fights veteran has shown potential over the course of his three-year career in the sport.

He defeated The Ultimate Fighter 12 alumnist Nam Phan in February of last year, but turned around and lost two straight bouts in the latter part of 2010. He was knocked out by former WEC lightweight champion "Razor" Rob McCullough in a 160 pound catchweight bout he took on short notice in July, and he was submitted by Micah Miller in December after Miller missed weight. DeJesus was also a late replacement when he battled Brandon Visher in September of 2009, leading to questions as to whether DeJesus would be making his mark in the UFC today if he hadn't taken on stiffer competition with the crutch of a limited training camp. He'll hope to prove the latter as he faces Russ Miura at Tachi Palace Fights 9 on May 5th.

Offensive Skills: DeJesus' offensive abilities are mostly centered around his extensive kickboxing background. Speedy footwork, consistent inside and outside movement, and a steady diet of leg and body kicks accurately describes the gameplan he brings to every fight. He isn't prone to bringing fights to the ground and damaging opponents from top control, but he has shown the ability to do so if the opportunity presents itself. For the most part, DeJesus' game is as advertised, and it explains the reasoning behind his inability to finish off opponents consistently.

Defensive Skills: As you would expect, DeJesus lacks the grappling acumen to fend off better jiu-jitsu players or wrestlers as evident in his four minute and eleven second loss to Micah Miller at Tachi Palace Fights 7 in December. While he does possess some submission ability in the scramble, he isn't strong off his back. It's an area that desperately needs to improve if DeJesus wants to find success in a major promotion, and he can't rely solely on his footwork to keep him out of danger.

Progression: Most of the strikers we've ranked on our Scouting Report progress similarly. Tactical striking and thoughtful gameplans are standard attributes of a seasoned veteran puncher, and DeJesus seems to be progressing into that type of fighter. He is prone to burying kicks into his opponents' thighs regularly, but he is putting together solid combinations with those kicks.

We haven't seen an abundance of grappling or wrestling from DeJesus for most of his career, so it's tough to gauge exactly where he is in terms of shoring up his defenses off his back or using those skills as a means to ending fights on the ground. Russ Miura should provide the perfect litmus test.

Environment: DeJesus trains out of Thrive MMA in Madera, California, a gym that he partially owns. Most fans would probably expect to see DeJesus under the Cesar Gracie banner as he is a native of Stockton, California, but he has yet to make the transition there as Micah Miller was supposedly training there in the lead-up to their Tachi Palace Fights 7 showdown. That left somewhat of a sour taste in everyone's mouth, but DeJesus hasn't ruled out the possibility of training with the Diaz brothers. For now, he works on his grappling game at Cen Cal Gracie Academy.

Potential: At only 24 years old, DeJesus has many years in front of him to prove he's one of the better 145 pound fighters in the world. Despite some of the setbacks over the course of the last two years, it's difficult to look past the fact that he was battling bigger fighters and coming in on short notice in those bouts. DeJesus did comment that he wasn't mentally ready for his battle with Micah Miller in December, and the fact that Miller missed weight was also discouraging. He'll need to work on his mental game in the future to have the right mindset to succeed.

As far as his skill-set goes, DeJesus' ground game needs the most work. If he can tighten up his defenses and work on improving his ability to escape from dominant control off his back, he has a bright future ahead of him as he's bested every single opponent he's faced in the stand-up department. A little more zing in his punching could do wonders in helping him finish fights quicker as well, and that would likely put him on the shortlist of potential UFC signees.

Featherweight Lightweight Welterweight

#9 - Isaac DeJesus
#10 - Michel Gagnon

#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

Middleweight Light Heavyweight
#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
#1 - Marcos Pezao
#2 - Gian Villante
#3 - Jimi Manuwa
#4 - Glover Teixeira
#5 - Jan Blachowicz
#6 - Yoel Romero
#7 - Ryan Jimmo
#8 - Nik Fekete
#9 - Marcus Vanttinen
#10 - Ronny Markes


Razor Rob McCullough vs Isaac De Jesus

Nam Phan vs Isaac De Jesus

Brandon Visher vs Isaac DeJesus