Prospect in the Spotlight (Sept 13-14): Mikhail Ragozin

Introduction

Saturday, September 14th, Russian middleweight prospect Mikhail Ragozin will be in action for RCC, where he will be looking to score a big win against Yasubey Enomoto. He will be looking to impress, as Ragozin continues building his resume in an attempt to get closer to a UFC contract. He represents Fighter Gym, a little-known camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Technical Striking: Ragozin’s best work is usually done on the feet with his striking. He’s very technical. He has good, fluid footwork and cuts off his opponents well. He uses feints and set ups well, which opens up his opponent to precision strikes and damage. He keeps his opponents guessing. He also uses effective low kicks, especially the inside leg kick. In terms of his hands, he has a very good jab he uses to gauge the distance and pepper his opponents. His best tool seems to be his straight right, which he throws with power and precision. On the mat, he has heavy and effective ground-and-pound when on top. His power isn’t going to be confused with that of Mark Hunt anytime soon, and he can be too patient on the feet at times, but overall, he’s definitely a striker.

Strength of Schedule: From almost the onset of Ragozin’s career, he has been taking challenges left and right. Those fights have given him quality experience, especially seeing as he’s been successful in most of those fights. He owns wins over top light heavyweight prospect Dovlet Yagshimuradov, TUF vet Joseph Henle, former Bellator champ Christian M’Pumbu and Wallyson Carvalho, which made up for a loss earlier in Ragozin’s career. That type of resume is hard to find with young up-and-comers, which makes him a proven commodity. That makes him even more valuable to big league MMA promotions, as he won’t take much time to develop.

Needs Improvement

Defensive Grappling: The biggest hole in Ragozin’s game appears to be his defensive grappling. His takedown defense definitely needs work. Watch his bout against Brandon Halsey. He was taken down and held down (for the most part) time and time again. When he is taken down, he tends to struggle off his back and does not get back up easily. Even when he’s been on offensive on top, he shown some defensive holes. He’s not the heaviest on top. He has shown susceptibility to submission attempts via armbars and other subs when his opponent works from his back. He is especially vulnerable to leaving his neck out in scrambles and takedown transitions. The right opponent will grab that neck and put him in a world of trouble. That said, he does have offensive submission skills and is tricky in scrambles.

Recent Decision Streak: In his last six bouts, Ragozin has not finished a fight (nor has he been finished). While it’s encouraging the one loss in that stretch was a split decision (against fellow prospect Valery Myasnikov), decision fighters tend not to gain as much favor with fans and the UFC bosses as finishers. That said, eight of his fourteen wins are finishes, with most coming early in his career. In fighting Enomoto this weekend, he needs a finish against this respected veteran to make more of a wave and get more attention from the top MMA promotions.

Outlook

UFC Midcarder: All things considered, Ragozin does look to be a solid fighter that has a future in the major leagues. The 27-year-old Russian has a wealth of experience already with impressive success. There are already a number of winnable fights on the UFC roster for him. My fear is his wrestling deficiencies will hurt him as he moves up the ladder in a division stacked with world-class grapplers. He could be a guy, though, that has an extended tenure with the company.

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