Saturday, May 2nd, Brazilian bantamweight prospect Rickson Zenidim will be in action for Shooto Brasil, where he will be fighting opposite Alberto Pantoja. He will be looking to continue his current undefeated streak, as Zenidim continues to look to get closer to an eventual UFC contract. He represents Familia Zenidim, an unknown camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Offensive Submissions: Zenidim has shown that he is quite the submission fighter. Through ten pro bouts, the Brazilian prospect has tapped out nine opponents. His two go-to submissions thus far have been the armbar, which has earned him six tapouts, and the triangle choke, which has scored him three more. He can grapple from the top or off his back, something important in the sport that not every fighter is capable of. He is very active on the ground as well. He isn’t looking to lay-and-pray. Instead, Zenidim fires off submission attempts early and often, as he’d rather collect the scalp with a finish than let the judges decide the fate of his fights.
Kickboxing: Despite having such an extensive submission prowess on his pro record, Zenidim has very good muay Thai skills as well. He is rangy and has long limbs for a guy his size. He fights from distance well and likes to open up strikes with other strikes. He throws a lot of kicks, many of which are with whipping power. He is methodical and technical. He makes you think about what he’s going to do next. He could mix in some more body shots to go with head and leg strikes, but overall, he’s a lot to handle on the feet.
Level of Opposition/Inactivity: Zenidim has fought two opponents with winning records. That shows that he has been built up by fighting inexperienced and/or unskilled opponents in the early going of his MMA career. Obviously, he is trying to gain in-cage experience and build himself up while he’s young, but not taking on higher levels of opposition also hurts his stock in that scouts don’t know if he’s ready to take his game to the next level. In addition to that, he has not fought since October of 2018, a significant layoff from the cage. All of those put together are a real concern for Zenidim, even if he is just 21 years of age.
Unproven Wrestling: To date, I have yet to observe, in the limited amount of footage I have seen, a single fight where Zenidim has fought an opponent with even average wrestling. That is a real concern going forward, as the higher level you fight in MMA, the higher likelihood there is to fight a dominant wrestler. Sure, Zenidim has good enough striking and BJJ to withstand guys who are not primarily wrestlers at a respectable level. However, without any proof otherwise, one has to believe that a fighter with decent wrestling could possibly expose Zenidim, unless proven otherwise.
Sky is the Limit: At just 21 years old, the future is very bright for Rickson Zenidim if he can stay active and up his competition level. He has a good foundation and is only gonna get better at such a young age. Being well-rounded is especially important in this sport, as there are so many styles that fighters can master to use against your strength. One minute you are beating a world class striker, and the next minute you are getting exposed by a world class wrestler. That’s the way of the game. Zenidim has a chance with his rounded skill set to be an overall terror to any type of style in mixed martial arts.