Prospect in the Spotlight (Apr 19-20): Luiz Gustavo

Introduction

Sunday, April 21st, Brazilian lightweight prospect Luiz Gustavo will be in action in Japan, where he will be looking to continue his impressive undefeated streak against Mikuru Asakura. He will be looking to score yet another win, as Gustavo looks to become a player with the Rizin organization. Gutsavo represents Evolucao Thai MMA, an underrated camp out of Brazil. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Striking: Gustavo is an absolutely entertaining fighter, especially when he’s in his most comfortable world: the striking department. In terms of output, he has very good whipping kicks that he switches up high and downstairs. He also will throw knees, especially flying knees from the outside. In terms of punches, he’s like his coach Wanderlei Silva in that he throws a high capacity of hooks and overhands. If he does get on the ground, he throws effective hammer fists as well. In terms of intangibles, he has very good lateral movement on the feet. He also has surprising power for a guy is skinny as himself.

Killer Instinct: Gustavo is like an old school Chute Boxe guy (no surprise) in that he’s an absolute killer. He’s a straight finisher, especially early in the fight, where he looks to stop his opponent. All of his wins are finishes, whether they are by knockout or submission. Gustavo is very aggressive and is constantly pressing the action. Quite honestly, the reason he’s able to score submission is because his aggressive striking usually hurts his opponent and he scores the submission on the mat. This guy is not a guy that fights to the judge’s admiration.

Needs Improvement

Takedown Defense/Positional Grappling: While Gustavo is certainly a competent grappler and can engage on the ground, it’s his takedown defense and positional grappling that needs some work. Watch his most recent outing against Yusuke Yachi. Not only did Yachi score a somewhat easy takedown on him and control an overzealous Gustavo, but when Gustavo had the upper hand, he gave up position. How? Gustavo got too over-aggressive and gave up position over being more methodical on the mat. That could come back to bite him, and at this point in his career, a superior wrestler could get the better of Gustavo.

Outlook

UFC Midcarder+: At just 22 years old, Gustavo has a very bright future in the sport of MMA. He is only going to get better, and under the tutelage of the legendary Wanderlei Silva, he’s going to be a name to know in the lightweight division. As mentioned, he needs to work on his wrestling because the lightweight division has a plethora of top-level wrestlers. Again, plenty of time to work on that. However, given his exciting style, brutal striking ability and strong 9-0 start to his career, there’s no doubt we should see him in the UFC at some point in his career, where he will make a name for himself.

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