Saturday, January 19th, American lightweight prospect Nate Andrews will be in action in Rhode Island, where he will be defending his CES Lightweight Championship. He will be competing against fellow prospect Bryce Logan in the main event, as Andrews looks to cash in on a UFC contract. Andrews represents New England Combat, a camp in the northeast that does not get much attention. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Submissions: If you look at Andrews’ resume, you will see it’s filled with submissions; nine in total to be exact. The dude is an absolute python on the mat, as he has a crushing grip when he grabs hold of his opponent’s neck. In fact, all of his submission wins are by choke. When opponents attempt to get Andrews on his back, he shows off impressive counter wrestling using leverage and strength. If he is put on the mat, he’s very effective and active off his back. In fact, his triangle choke is something that needs to be scouted out and respected. Mat-wise, he’s positionally sound as well, as he quickly finds openings and advances through his opponent’s defenses. That’s why he’s able to tap guys out so proficiently.
Well-Rounded: I could have probably absorbed submissions into this paragraph, but I want to separate how strong Andrews is on the ground with how overall solid of a fighter he is. He really doesn’t have a glaring weakness. The dude is plain well-rounded. His striking is good, as it’s powerful, diverse and precise. He moves well on the feet, using footwork and quickness to set up his strikes. He also has underrated wrestling. In addition to his counter wrestling, he is actually very good offensively with his takedowns. This is especially the case against the cage. He even owns a slam knockout victory earlier in his career. His power definitely helps that.
Father Time?: Let’s be honest; Andrews is no rookie. At 34 years old and with almost nine years of MMA experience between his pro and amateur career, Andrews has accumulated some mileage, especially considering how fast mileage is put on the body in a sport like MMA. What he does have going for him is that he grapples a lot in his fights, so he’s not getting his bell rung as much. He is also a proficient at finishing fights and staying away from decisions, which helps keep mileage off his body. He needs to get to the big show sooner rather than later, considering his age.
UFC Top-25 Lightweight: Andrews’ well-roundedness and overall skill set could set him up as a top-25 lightweight in the UFC. It’s a tough division to gain headroom, but his exciting, aggressive, finishing style is the type that the company loves and will give him success at the next level. They need to act quickly though. As mentioned, the biological clock is ticking and who knows when his prime will be over.