Prospect in the Spotlight (Oct 4-5): Mariya Agapova

Introduction

Friday, October 4th, Kazakh flyweight prospect Mariya Agapova will be in action for Invicta FC, where she will be looking to stay in the win column against Marilia Santos. She will be looking to score yet another win, as Agapova looks to continue building her resume to get closer to a UFC contract. She represents American Top Team, a top camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Kickboxing: Agapova’s striking is a lot of fun to watch. The reason for that is because she’s very good. She’s been boxing since she was a kid, which is evident in that she throws good combinations, has solid footwork and keeps her head off the center line. She is very technical in everything she does. She’s aggressive and cuts off the cage well, which allows her to land in high volume. Perhaps her one-punch KO power isn’t the most threatening, but her bolume allows her to rack up damage in a hurry. She can especially add up damage with her effective body work. She will throw combos to the head and body, which not only keeps her opponents guessing, but takes the wind out of their sails via said body work. When she does get her opponent hurt from the onslaught, she moves in for the finish. She either continues to pummel them on the ground with her strikes, as seen in her destruction of Na Liang, or she submits them as they cover up from the strikes, as seen in her latest fight against Alexa Conners.

Length & Distance Fighting: Agapova is just 5’6″, which isn’t huge for a flyweight, but she fights much longer than that. Because she’s quick, she gets in and out quickly, making her an effective distance striker. She has long limbs as well, which helps with that distance striking. In fact, the way she strikes and uses her length/distance reminds me a bit of Joanna Jedrzejczyk. That’s a high compliment, but the posture, presence and manner which she uses length in her striking justifies that thought. Same level as Joanna? Not yet, but she could develop into it at some point.

Needs Improvement

Defensive Wrestling: Agapova hasn’t shown many weaknesses thus far, but we saw in her only loss to Tracy Cortez that her defensive wrestling was exposed a little bit. Cortez was able to control Agapova midway and later in the fight. She shot on Agapova, got her down and held her down (for the most part). Its consistency led to Agapova falling short on the scorecards. That said, Agapova is actually a pretty good grappler. She has submission skills, defense and technique., but she needs to avoid getting wrestled to the ground by opponents.

Outlook

Top-10 Flyweight: Agapova is just 22 years old and already this good. That’s a scary thought. Not only that, but she’s recently moved to American Top Team, which is going to make her even better at an accelerated pace. ATT has a strong cast of female fighters to train with and coaches to guide her. In the next couple years, I think Agapova will be in the UFC and establishing herself as a force. With her improvements, she will be very successful and pull into the top-10. She may even contend for a title one day. The sky is the limit.

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