Saturday, February 15th, Moldovan featherweight prospect Valeriu Mircea will be in action for Eagles MMA, where he will be fighting opposite Martun Mezhlumyan. He will be looking to continue his current winning streak, as Mircea looks to get closer to an eventual UFC contract. He represents Gloria Fight Center, a little-known camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Well-Rounded: Mircea has established himself as a jack of all trades in the cage. He’s a very solid, rounded fighter. He possesses 21 finishes in 25 wins, nine of which have come by knockout and 12 by submission. He’s got pretty good wrestling ability that pairs up well with his striking. He is a powerful guy, possessing knockout power in his hands. He can finish you in the first or the last round, showing he’s in good shape. On the mat, he’s a tough guy from top position that throw big ground strikes and has an arsenal of submissions to finish you. He’s also exciting and aggressive, which also helps him take care of business.
Experience: Mircea is a very experienced fighter, with over 30 pro fights. The man stays busy, and although he’s fought some cans, he has also fought some good competition. According to Tapology, he is the #2 ranked featherweight fighter in Western European regional MMA. Not only that, but he’s headlined many regional events and scored title belts in various organizations. He’s also fought for reputable and top-notch organizations, such as Bellator, M-1 Challenge and Venator FC. This kid isn’t a rookie and he’s quickly establishing himself as a guy that likes to fight often.
Defensive Grappling: Mircea is a very good offensive grappler, as mentioned earlier with his 12 submission victories. However, when it comes to the defensive, Mircea has some holes that need to be patched up. Mircea is the type of grappler that needs to be on top. He’s shown he can be taken down, and when he does end up on bottom, he struggles. He can eat some big ground-and-pound. He’s also been submitted multiple times. He can tend to keep his neck out there when searching for an offensive takedown, which is why you saw him get tapped by Cody McKenzie. Defense on the ground is important, especially as you move up in competition level when facing world class wrestlers and BJJ practitioners. This needs to be addressed by Mircea.
Struggles with Step Up in Competition: Mircea’s career has seen him take on a mix of no-names and solid veterans. He’s won the fights he’s needed to win, but in the fights that he has stepped up in competition, Mircea has either struggled or eeked out a close victory. The two biggest names on his record are Goiti Yamauichi and Cody McKenzie. In both of those fights, he was submitted. Yamauichi is a legit fighter, but McKenzie was a untechnical brawler known for his devastating guillotine…and that was about it. His best win comes against TUF veteran Djmail Chan, but even in that win, it was a majority decision. On his current six-fight win streak, he’s mostly taken on decent competition, but he needs to prove he can fight against major promotional talent.
Regional Champ/Major MMA Curtain Jerker: I really like Mircea and his fighting style, which is why he has established himself as a promising, popular fighter in Europe. That alone will get him some extra attention, as nobody likes a boring fighter. Mircea is exciting and he’s a finisher. That will be a boost to his overall stock. In terms of ceiling, Mircea seems to be a guy that will be a top regional fighter that would fight on the prelims of a major MMA organization (UFC, Bellator, etc). That said, the fact that he’s still just 26 years old and is already this experienced against seasoned talent is encouraging. He’s still young, still getting better and still somebody that could possibly break through the ceiling I have projected him at.