Saturday, January 5th, Nigerian-American heavyweight prospect Mohammed Usman will be in action in Ohio, where he will be looking to get back into the win column. He will be competing against Matthew Comer in the main event, as Usman looks to inch back closer to a UFC contract. Usman represents Rise Combat Sports, a camp in the Arizona that is on the rise (no pun attended). Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
UPDATE (1/1/19): Mohammed Usman is no longer fighting this Saturday, as his fight with Comer has been cancelled.
Wrestling: Like his brother and UFC title contender Kamaru, Mohammed has a strong wrestling background. In fact, he wrestled Division I at the University of Arizona, which is a great feather in his cap. That is seen in his fights. He closes the distance quickly for a man his size and grabs a hold of his opponent. He takes his time, but when he gets his opportunity, he puts them on the mat. The athletic big man than takes his time on the mat, using ground strikes to the head and body to open up positions. He likes half guard and looking for mounted crucifix. He especially likes looking for the kimura from top position, which has finished two of his three wins and he looked to lock one in when he beat Van Palacio (by TKO).
Power: Like his brother Kamaru, and even more so because he’s a heavyweight, Mohammed is immensely powerful. He has a ton of muscle on his frame and he uses it to bully opponents, especially on the mat. His takedowns are extremely explosive, as are all of his ground strikes. He’s able to do that because he is so naturally powerful. Plus, if you know how much strength a kimura lock takes, you will realize how absolutely overwhelming Usman’s power can be, especially seeing as he’s pulled those kimuras off in under 90 seconds when his opponent is still fresh.
Experience: Obviously, Usman does not have a lot of experience at just 3-1 in his pro career. But that’s something he will continue to build as he keeps fighting. We saw that the first time he took on a reputable opponent in Dontale Mayes. Mayes bested Usman pretty convincingly by unanimous decision, proving Usman still has plenty of work to do. He’s fought mostly busters at this point, and his current upcoming opponent is no different. That’s fine; he build experience before he ventures back to top-level opponents like Mayes again.
Boom or Bust UFC Fighter: One thing the 29-year-old has going for him is that the UFC heavyweight division is ungodly thin. That will make his eventual spot on the roster easier than if he were, say, a welterweight like his brother. That said, Usman is really going to be a boom-or-bust type heavyweight. With his wrestling background, athleticism and developing skills, he will either be a top-10 heavyweight that could contend at some point, or he will be a bust that fights 2-4 times in the UFC before getting his walking papers. Time will tell, but he seems to be on a good path right now.