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2015 Bloody Elbow MMA Scouting Report #5 Welterweight: Ryan Scope

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T.P. Grant and Zane Simon reveal their pick for #5 Welterweight prospect: English born submission fighter Ryan Scope.

The Bloody Elbow MMA Scouting Report is getting into their Top 5 Welterweight prospects currently in MMA. The first half of the top ten was covered in a single articleHow fighters were selected, graded, and ranked was covered in the Methodology post.

The Top 5 of a weight class will get stand alone articles where Zane Simon and I share our thoughts on the fighters strengths, developmental needs, and then what we expect from that prospect moving forward.

So with all that said, let us introduce our next prospect:

#5 - Ryan Scope

Record: 8-0 Height: 5'10" Age: 22 Years Pro: 4

Country: England Team: Fitness 2000/Alliance Base: Judo/No Gi Grappling

Ryan Scope hails from Northeast England and started fighting very young. While Scope grew up boxing and kickboxing, he tends a bit more towards his Judo and grappling background when he fights. He fought amateur and semi-professional before taking his first professional fight at age 17.  While Scope lives and fights in England, he splits his time between there and traveling to San Diego to train with Alliance.

Scope currently fights for BAMMA, but has spent time in a variety of other, smaller UK promotions. While Scope's record has its fair share of weak wins, he beat very tough English regional fighter Ali Arish and got a tough submission win over Luke Newman of American Top Team, would have been in serious consideration for this list if not for the fact that he has been inactive for over a year.

Strengths

T.P. Grant: Scope is so casually able to do athletic things that it demands attention. His wrestling is smooth and natural, and while he'll likely struggle to get down upper crust wrestlers he is already an above average wrestler for MMA. Scope's wrestling game is at its best against the cage both offensively and defensively. His clinch game is strong in terms avoiding being controlled against the cage and is difficult to move in the clinch.

Scope has a solid, aggressive ground game where he actively seeks a finishing position. He strikes well on the ground in addition to having a good submission game. He keeps consistent pressure on opponents both on the ground and on the feet and he has the cardio to keep up that pressure. He has quick hands that form the basis of his striking game, which is largely boxing based.

Zane Simon: Scope's striking reminds me a lot of Raphael Assuncao's. He switches stances a lot, throws quick, snapping kicks, and boxes really really well out of his left lead. He also feints quite a bit to set up his strikes. At times this can make him a bit low output, but the speed and pop he gets on his strikes when he finds his comfort range, shows a lot of promise to continue developing into a very well rounded technical style. To accompany that striking, his footwork is generally really solid. He keeps a nice base and puts together good combinations when he sits on his punches.

To accompany what he does well on his feet, Scope has really surprisingly solid offensive wrestling. Not just for a UK fighter, but his ability to switch between doubles and singles and to turn angles on a shot attempt, especially up against the cage, creates a great bridge between his striking and his grappling. And it's his grappling finally, where Scope really shines. Not only does he have the acumen to survive rough positions, and gut his way through submission attempts, but he uses his speed and athletic ability to find opportunities with ease in scrambles. And once he finds those opportunities, he has the power to lock in fight-ending submissions with shocking efficiency. Overall, he's the epitome of a three-dimensional offensive fighter.

Points of Development

T.P. Grant: Defensive striking is a big concern for Scope, because that is where he has shown the biggest weaknesses, thus far in his career. Specifically in the clinch when his first take down has failed and Scope is looking to start chain wrestling he get hits with knees and elbows, and has been hurt to the body.

The Newman fight was very informative, Scope is a great athlete and scrambler, but when faced with a similarly gifted athlete he wasn't able to overwhelm with those aspects. Scope's game is very open because he is used to being the better athlete and has he progresses he will need to just tighten everything up and remove chances for strikes, scrambles, and escapes. The fact that he was challenged like that in the Newman fight and was able to still pull out a win is a good sign though.

Zane Simon: So, I talked a lot about Scope's offense above, and that's because his defense is where a lot of his problems lie. He tends to back straight away from oncoming strikers, and when pressing forward with his own offense, often leaves his feet behind him, taking a lot of the power off his strikes.The latter isn't much of a problem, but he needs to use his footwork and upper body movement better if he wants to be a truly elite striker.

The other part of his defensive gaps is his defensive wrestling. Because he's a really fantastic athlete, Scope often seems to rely more on his ability to stand up or slip out of things than great technical counter wrestling. A lot of this comes down to footwork again, and his ability to create good angles to prevent shots. His scrambling ability will see him through a lot of problems, but he could make fighting a lot easier on himself with better movement.

Overall Projection

Scope is clearly an exciting athlete and grappler, to the point where he was medaling in adult grappling tournaments as a teenager. His striking, while not a strength against higher level fighters, also isn't a glaring weakness and can be a functional tool depending on the matchup. His game is going to give very good fighters real problems, he has enough wrestling to force better strikers to the ground and enough of a submission and striking game to give better wrestlers match up problems.

Scope's athletic talents and current grappling skills could allow him to become something of a Judo/Wrestling version of Charles Oliveira, a technical and scrappy athlete who struggles when a stronger or more skilled fighter can stifle the dynamic nature of his game.

If Scope is able to develop and tighten up his game in the coming years his game is very reminiscent of Benson Henderson early in his development. Scope could combine his athletic gifts, technical skill, and hard-nosed attitude int he cage to become a top level fighter at Welterweight or Lightweight.

2015 Bloody Elbow Scouting Report

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Stay tuned for #4, to look up other articles in this series click on the Stream link up and to the right. For comments, questions, or suggestions head down to the comment line or reach out to T.P. and Zane on Twitter: @TP_Grant and @TheZaneSimon