Friday, November 8th, American welterweight prospect Kyle Crutchmer will be in action for Bellator, where he will look to make a successful promotional debut against Antonio Jones. He will look to continue his undefeated pro career, which has seen him collect four victories in four pro bouts. He represents American Kickboxing Academy, a top camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Wrestling: Crutchmer is a legitimate top wrestler that spent his amateur days at Oklahoma St., which is considered a powerhouse in that sport. It should come as no shock that his best quality is his grappling. Crutchmer is an absolute beast. His takedowns are brutally powerful and he attains those takedowns with ease. When he gets a guy down, he keeps them there. He is very heavy from top position. Like most wrestlers, he likes to get to a position (such as half guard) where he can pour on heavy ground-and-pound. That can be used to finish the fight or simply soften up his opponent. If he does soften them up, he has the skill to find a submission hold and crank on it. His grip strength is ridiculous and he can quickly choke out an opponent. In fact, two his four pro wins are by rear-naked choke and arm-triangle choke.
Natural Gifts: Anybody who is a Division I collegiate athlete should be considered quite the athlete. Crutchmer is no different, but he’s a standout athlete in a sport that provides the highest of athletic prospects. Crutchmer has brute strength. There are very few guys that are as big, strong and explosive as he is. All those things combined give him superior athleticism to most. For as thick as Crutchmer is, he’s still quite quick and agile. All of these things, in unison with his wrestling and quick development, make him a scary prospect.
Hard to Find Quality Fights: Since entering MMA, Crutchmer has had a hard time finding quality opponents to test himself against. There are plenty of guys in MMA who are aware of who Crutchmer is and don’t wish to cross him. It’s an unfortunate reality of fighting on the regional scene and being a big name in a small pool of talent. The combined records of Crutchmer’s four opponents thus far is 11-10, and one of those opponents was 0-0. A couple have been last minute replacement fighters. It’s clear that fighter are looking to avoid a bout with this top prospect. It’s unfortunate for him as he’s trying to gather top-level experience.
Developing Striking: Coming from the world of amateur wrestling, Crutchmer doesn’t have the most experience striking. Luckily for him, he trains with the world famous American Kickboxing Academy, where he gets high-level training. However, he’s still far from elite on the feet. He is naturally quick, but his on-the-feet movement can be prodding. He could be better at using his hands to set up takedowns. He has power in his strikes, but they can be telegraphed and avoided by his opponents. He will continue to develop in this area, but for now it’s something that needs to continually be developed.
Main Carder: Crutchmer is a blue chipper and there’s no doubt about it. He’s a protégé of Daniel Cormier, who is a great guy to have guiding your career as you develop. He’s only 26 and he’s developing very quickly. At that pace, he’ll be a top welterweight in no time. He has a quality camp in American Kickboxing Academy, a great mentor in Cormier and a solid base already. Bellator got a real prize in Crutchmer, as he should be a guy that greatly deepens that company’s welterweight division and be a contender in no time. In a few years, he really should be a guy that could contend for a title and be a guy that consistently graces main cards for whatever company he chooses.