Prospect in the Spotlight (Aug 16-17): Karl Reed


Tuesday, August 13th, American light heavyweight prospect Karl Reed will be in action for Dana White’s Contender Series, where he will be looking to earn a win over Julius Anglickas. He will be looking to redeem himself after a failed first attempt at the Contender Series, as Reed looks to potentially earn a UFC contract. He represents Upstate Karate, home to former UFC title Challenger Stephen Thompson. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”


Kickboxing: When the fight is on the feet, Reed is clearly in his world. He gets top-notch striking reps with Stephen Thompson and his father, as they both train Reed. Watch Reed’s fight. He has very good movement on the feet, creating angles to set up attacks. He has quick hands when he throws combos, racking up damage quickly. He mixes up his attacks well, as he also throws very heavy kicks with his hand combos. He can finish things quickly as well, as his power striking puts opponents down. His most recent finish saw him put away TUF veteran Adrian Miles in just 2:40, showing he may be ready for his second chance at a higher level. He put down Miles with said devastating strikes.

Athleticism: In addition to his striking, Reed is an outstanding athlete with all the intangibles and physical tools to be successful. He has good speed and quickness, which do him well on the feet and when he evades defensively. In addition to that, he is very powerful and explosive. He throws his strikes with reckless intent and inflicts much damage. Also, when he’s fresh, he uses his power and explosiveness to handle his opponents physically (he does have a good wrestling base). All of these natural gifts give Reed the advantage in acquiring skills more quickly and being more dynamic in the cage.

Needs Improvement

Defensive Grappling: As we saw in Reed’s first Contender Series outing, his defensive grappling could use some work. When taking on Cameron Olson, his takedown defense and clinch against the cage was tested frequently. Unfortunately for him, it failed him. He has good wrestling, but defensively he was exposed by Olson. When he got taken down, he had a hard time getting back up or stopping Olson’s offense. This will be a focal points again in this fight with Anglickas. Anglickas has no problem shooting and looking for a grappling match. We will see if time and effort has gotten Reed’s grappling where it needs to be.

Cardio Questions: Another thing that affected Reed in his fight with Olson was his cardio; it let him down as the fight went on. There is a possibility he had an adrenaline dump as he was just 2-0 at the time and had never fought under the gigantic circumstances he was under. However, other fights have shown Reed definitely slows the longer the bout carries on. That affects his power, movement and defensive capabilities, which hurt him down the stretch. There is evidence that he could have addressed this issue, so his bout with Anglickas will be interesting if it goes past round one.


UFC Prelim Fighter: Reed definitely has a bunch of potential, but he has to figure out his weaknesses ASAP. To be fair, he could have grown in those areas since his first appearance on the Contender Series. His power, athleticism and ability to end fights should definitely be enough for him to get into the UFC. His wrestling is definitely good enough to get him there as well. However, he has to put it all together against the top talent in the world. There are definitely winnable fights for him in the promotion, so he could stick around for more than a cup of coffee. I just don’t see him being more than a curtain jerker or exciting guy that helps open cards.

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