Prospect in the Spotlight (Sept 6-7): Max Rohskopf

Introduction

Thursday, September 5th, American lightweight prospect Max Rohskopf will be in action for Final FC, where he is looking to stay undefeated against Zach Zane. He is looking to score yet another win, as Rohskopf looks to continue building his resume to get closer to an eventual UFC contract. He represents Xtreme Couture, a well-known camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Wrestling: In terms of offensive and defensive wrestling, Rohskopf is top notce due to his many years on the wrestling mat. He was a top collegiate wrestler at NC State, and probably would have accomplished more in the sport if not for tearing his labrum at the tail end of his college career. In the cage, he uses his athleticism, strength and explosiveness to move into takedowns and get the fight to the mat. He sets up those takedowns decently, though he’s so good at wrestling that he doesn’t need to set up much to get the fight down. There aren’t many fighters who are going to outwrestle this kid.

Jiu-Jitsu: In addition to his great wrestling, he’s an outstanding submission grappler. He rolls with top American BJJ competitor/trainer Robert Drysdale, which explains how he’s come along so quickly in that area of fighting. He’s competed at a high level in the world of BJJ, even scoring an ADCC title in the process (2016). In the cage, Max is 3-0, with all three of those wins coming by way of submission. The most impressive part of those wins came in his most recent outing, where he scored a Submission of the Year candidate over Jonathon Morris. Rohskopf used a combination of a twister and rear-naked choke to force the tap from Morris, which had commentator Frank Mir, no slouch on the ground, beyond impressed. A ground battle with Rohskopf is not advised to his opponents.

Needs Improvement

Experience: The 24-year-old prospect has only been a pro since 2018 and has just three fights. Most of his experience in combat sports comes on the BJJ mat and the wrestling room. The MMA cage is a completely different environment. In his three pro bouts, his opponents combined record is 7-1, which actually isn’t bad compared to many up-and-coming regional fighters. However, nobody he’s fought is “major league” level. That’s totally okay, though. He will continue to develop experience and build himself up in the meanwhile. That said, until he takes on a notable opponent, it’ll be hard to gauge his talent level completely. He’s a raw talent that is a guy who will be a name a couple years down the road, for sure.

Striking Unknowns: With the lack of experience in MMA thus far, Max has question marks when it comes to his on-the-feet striking. He does train and spar at Xtreme Couture, where he gets good training and reps, so that’s a big help. Unfortunately, there isn’t much tape or footage of him striking for an extended period of time. He has good ground-and-pound, but on the feet, we have not seen enough. However, he’s still young and has time to build those skills up.

Outlook

Sky’s the Limit: As of now, I don’t see a ceiling on Rohskopf. This kid is a blue chip prospect that could be a player in the not-so-distant future. Wrestling is always the best base in MMA and as explained, Rohskopf is a high-level athlete in that regard. Add to that a lethal ground game with the aforementioned Drysdale showing him the tricks of the trade and you have a guy who looks like he could be a younger, more rounded Ben Askren. Askren was a world champion and had a higher wrestling pedigree, but Rohskopf looks further developed at this stage in terms of rounded ability. Living up to the Askren comparison will be tough, but with this guy’s work ethic, it’s definitely possible.

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