Prospect in the Spotlight (Mar 20-21): Impa Kasanganay

Introduction

Friday, March 20th, American middleweight prospect Impa Kasanganay will be in action for LFA, where he will be fighting opposite Daniel Madrid. He will be looking to continue his current undefeated streak, as Kasanganay looks to get closer to an eventual UFC contract. He represents Gym-O, an underrated camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Grinder: Kasanganay is a pure grinder and if you watch his fights, you know this guy is in your face from the get-go. He is a fighter that likes to keep the pressure on his opponents, keeping them on the back of their feet. When he does that, he can close the distance and get to the clinch. He is very strong in the clinch, especially when he holds opponents against the cage. He wears on opponents and makes them carry his weight. Once he tires them a bit, Kasanganay looks for the takedown, where he is very heavy from top position. Again, once on top, he likes to wear guys out and look to advance as they gas. He has shown some submission ability, though he is still improving in that realm. It’s not always pretty, but it sure is effective.

Athleticism: Kasanganay is a freak athlete and there’s no argument otherwise. The long-limbed fighter has decent overall size for a middleweight. He has a collegiate football background, explaining why Kasanganay is so explosive, agile and physically strong. When he gets a hold of opponents, he can usually outmuscle them through brute force and little technique. He moves around the cage extremely well; he’s quite fluid. His strength and speed combine to be a great advantage for him over most he steps in the cage with.

Needs Improvement

Basic Striking: Kasanganay is still pretty young in his MMA journey, so it’s no surprise that he is still green in aspects of the game. That can be especially said for his striking, which is still under construction at this point. He is very basic with his combinations. He is able to keep distance on the feet because of his long arms, but he’s not an overwhelming threat to his opponents in terms of KO power at this point. Yes, he’s strong, but anybody with average striking defense is able to slip and slide Kasanganay when he wishes to throw a bomb. He can telegraph his strikes at times, too. At this point, he mostly uses his hands to close the distance, grab a hold of an opponent, make them uncomfortable and get in some sort of grappling exchange.

Decision Heavy Fighter: A legitimate criticism that I (and other scouts) have of Kasanganay is that he is a very heavy decision fighter. Of his six pro wins, four have come by the judge’s scorecards. Two of those decisions were split decisions, showing that the fights have been close, even against lower level regional talent. As he moves up the ladder against more credible opposition, those close split decision wins could go the other way and end up with Kasanganay on the losing end of the scorecards. The UFC and fans like guys who finish fights, so that needs to be in consideration too. Becoming a consistent finisher would do wonders for his stock.

Outlook

Sky is the Limit: Being 26 years old and just a greenhorn in this sport, Kasanganay has a long road ahead of him. However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. He’s developing quickly and has a style that has not seen him take a bunch of damage. If Kasanganay continues developing at the pace he’s at right now, the UFC is not only a certainty, it will be a home for him for a while. He needs to show more consistency and rancor in the cage, though, especially against increasing levels of talent. Until then, he will continue to develop in the regionals, though fighting a main event for LFA is a great honor this early in his career.

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