Prospect in the Spotlight (Nov 23-24): Deron Winn

Introduction

Saturday, November 24th, American light heavyweight prospect Deron Winn will be in action in California, supporting the Golden Boy Promotions card headlined by Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. He will be competing against UFC veteran Tom Lawlor in what will be his biggest challenge to date. Winn represents the Dethrone Base Camp Fresno team, a respected camp in California headed by Josh Koscheck. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect in this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Wrestling: The most obvious strength of Deron Winn is his wrestling. He wrestled collegiately for Lindenwood University, and later, for the US National Team. That background has started him out strong in this sport. He doesn’t put up smoke and mirrors. He’s obvious in his approach that he wants to grab a hold of you and send you on a ride immediately. When he gets the fight to the ground, his ground-and-pound is absolutely brutal. Like many wrestlers in MMA, he likes to get into his opponent’s half guard when throwing ground strikes. When he gets to said half guard, the punches come in bunches and accumulate a lot of damage.

Power: Not only is his ground striking powerful and devastating, but his overall power game and athleticism is superior. Not only is he a skilled wrestler, but he has been known for his huge slams in the short time he’s been fighting. In his MMA debut against Mike Morales, he picked Morales up with ease and slammed him to the mat with great force. When he does get the fight down, he holds his opponent down with ease. It’s absolutely suffocating. Even with the limited amount of time we have of Winn on the feet, you can tell even though his striking is not advanced, his punches do have big-time KO power. Plus, all four of his wins come in the first round, with his longest fight being 2:32.

Needs Improvement

Competition Level: The biggest question mark with Winn is how he’ll look against a longtime veteran like Tom Lawlor. Winn’s competition level thus far has been abysmal at best. At the time of his four fights, his opponent’s combined records were 14-19-1, which is obviously sub-.500. That makes it a little harder to judge Winn as a prospect. Until we see him take on more skilled fighters, that will be the biggest question mark on Winn as a mixed martial artist.

Striking Variety: Obviously, Winn is an expert wrestler. He’s still not the most gifted striker yet, and that’s okay; it will come with time. However, as of right now, he’s only really shown that he can execute simple combinations on the feet. The point of those combinations is that he uses them to set up his takedowns. He’s not really proven to be a threat with the variety of strikes he throws, namely kicks. Yes, his punches are very powerful, but anybody who scouts him can see the simplicity of his combinations. A good counter striker with takedown defense could be a problem for Winn should he run into them.

Outlook

UFC Top-10: The UFC light heavyweight division is extremely shallow right now and in need of some immediate new blood to fill its ranks. It’s aging, and outside of Dominick Reyes and Anthony Smith, the division is devoid of new, young stars. The 29-year-old Winn is a guy that could easily be a top-10 light heavyweight in no time. His wrestling is too strong and his improvements too quick to not be a guy that would be top-10 in the UFC light heavyweight division. Once this fight for Golden Boy Promotions is had, if he wins, the UFC should ink him immediately. Lawlor is a huge test and if he passes, he will show he can be a threat with the world’s premiere MMA promotion.

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