Prospect in the Spotlight (Sept 20-21): Kyle Daukaus

Introduction

Saturday, September 21st, American middleweight prospect Kyle Daukaus will be in action for CFFC, where he will be looking to stay undefeated against Stephen Regman. He will be looking to score yet another win, as Daukaus looks to continue building his resume with a CFFC title victory to get closer to a UFC contract. He represents Martinez BJJ, an underrated camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Rounded Ground Game: The most evident thing about Daukaus is that his bread and butter is his ground game, especially his Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He does have good wrestling and is best when he forces the clinch. From that clinch, he is good at dragging opponents down and gaining top position. From there, he tends to dominate with his great positional grappling, easy passes and strategic, damaging ground-and-pound. He does not lay and pray either. Daukaus is always looking for a way to finish, using his ground strikes to set up a way for him to score a submission. He is highly efficient with his submissions, especially his chokes. Six of his seven wins are by submission, three by D’Arce choke and three by rear-naked choke. His only decision, a Contender Series bout against Michael Lombardo, was dominated by Daukaus and mainly done on the ground. He’s also good off his back, making him an all-around threat on the ground. Basically, don’t go to the mat with him.

Deceptive Size/Length: Daukaus is 6’1″, which isn’t the tallest middleweight we’ve ever seen, but he has a long reach at 76 inches. That reach is huge when it comes to keeping opponents on the outside, when grappling in the clinch and when scoring chokes. He uses his long limbs to secure leverage on opponents as well. He uses his size and reach well, which is important when setting strikes up for takedowns and scoring ground-and-pound from a distant grappling position. He also is deceptively strong. He doesn’t have a body builder figure or a cosmetic beach body, but he’s very strong and balanced. These was most recently seen by many against Contender Series opponent Lombardo, who was more muscular looking but outmuscled by Daukaus.

Needs Improvement

Striking Intangibles: Daukaus is not a bad striker by any stretch of the imagination, but there are some intangibles he could tighten up going forward. He does tend to keep his hands low and make himself hittable on the feet. That helps add up damage on Daukaus, who simply could be playing a little more defense against head hunters and counter strikers. He also has subpar footwork and can be slow on his feet. He can be prodding and flat footed, though he does cut the cage off well when moving forward. If he can clear up those technical and defensive discrepancies, he will be a much bigger threat than he is now.

Outlook

UFC Midcarder: At just 26 years old, Daukaus has a long career ahead of him and that career looks bright. Daukaus was just 5-5 as an amateur, so his massive improvement in a short time as a pro shows he’s quick to learn, adapt and get better. That’s huge. Looking at matchups on the UFC roster, there are plenty of winnable fights for him. He may struggle to crack the top 15, though. He’ll need to keep improving his striking at a solid rate as well, as there are a lot of good wrestlers on the UFC roster that will resist his ground game. Should he beat the aforementioned Regman (a fellow Season 3 Contender Series vet) in the CFFC title fight, the UFC will have no choice but to ink Daukaus after the questionable Contender Series contract snub.

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