Prospect in the Spotlight (June 12-13): Melissa Croden

Introduction

Saturday, June 13, Canadian bantamweight prospect Melissa Croden will be in action for Fight Night Promotions, where she will fight opposite Rusneane Galvao. She will be looking to continue her undefeated streak, as Croden looks to add to her young resume to eventually catch the UFC’s eye. She represents Warrior Path, an unknown camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Striker: Every fight I have ever seen of Croden has seen her strike for a mass majority of the time. It makes sense, as she clearly has a kickboxing/Thai background. She likes to strike from a distance and score points, which she does to lure opponents in. Once the opponent bites, she is an outstanding counterstriker. Once her opponent commits, she answers with combos and lands accurately. That was especially seen in her bout with Jolinne Maisonnueve. She’s also a great counterstriker when an opponent throws leg kicks. She times well and throws a big combo when she senses the low kick coming. In terms of her own kicks, she mixes them up well to legs, body and head, and throws kicks frequently. Her movement is a strong suit, as she has great in-and-out movement. From close, she is strong in the clinch where she lands beautiful knees and controls her opponent. Lastly, she is a very patient striker, which sometimes can be to her detriment, but allows her to be effective in the counter.

Size: At 5’10”, Croden is a tall, lean lightweight. Despite that, she is quite strong and often times handles her opponents physically. She has great leverage, especially in the clinch where she often gets the better of her counterpart. She has very long limbs, which is why she’s a good distance and counter striker. The long limbs especially help with her kicks, as she has very long legs that she uses very effectively.

Needs Improvement

Ground Question Marks: While Croden is a great striker, we have many questions about her ground game. I have seen instances of her on top, where she has dropped some solid ground-and-pound. Other than that, the footage is limited. We have not seen a lot. Also, she has yet to really take on somebody with above average wrestling/grappling, so we just don’t know how she’d handle herself in that scenario. Until that gets cleared up, it’s something we need to be wary of.

Experience: Going along with the ground question marks, she has limited experience as a pro, so it’s hard to really gauge her ceiling right now. She’s taken at least five amateur fights, all of which she won. She only has two pro fights as of right now, though. Those fights are against low-level regional talent, which makes sense because she is a young fighter getting cage time and experience. Croden will continue to benefit getting that experience, but will eventually need to get some quality seasoning in a top place like Invicta or the Bellator prelims. That experience will further continue to build her.

Outlook

UFC or Bellator Roster Member: Women’s MMA really has limited high level talent, so there are a good number of fighters who are average that make the big time. Croden could be above average with some time, so that leads me to believe she will be a part of a major organization like UFC or Bellator. There are still questions on Croden as a fighter, but she’s clearly a good 135-pound prospect. Croden is a person scouts need to keep an eye on.

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