Prospect in the Spotlight (Sept 4-5): Nate Smith

Introduction

Tuesday, September 1st, American flyweight prospect Nate Smith will be in action on Dana White’s Contender Series, where he will be looking to continue his undefeated streak against Jimmy Flick. He will be looking for another win, as Smith looks to impress the UFC brass in an attempt to earn a contract. He represents Elevation Fight Team, a respected camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Wrestling: Smith hails from the famous Iowa Central, where he wrestled collegiately at a high level. It was there, he proved that his wrestling was very good. That has since translated to the cage, where he often uses takedowns and top pressure to overwhelm opponents. He’s a very gifted athlete, possessing power and speed, especially on the shot. He moves in and out well, and has done a better job setting up the takedown with his hands. When he gets a hold of an opponent, very rarely is he stuffed. He finishes his shots and then does work from top position.

Fighting on Opponent’s Back: If there is one thing for certain, it’s that you don’t want Smith taking your back. It’s likely that you will not make it out of the round. Smith is absolutely nasty from the back and he does a great job getting his opponent to give it up to him. He mixes strong ground-and-pound with sound positional mat skills. That allows him to cut through his opponent’s guard and get to this position. While on your back, Smith will hammer you with his hands. If he doesn’t get a referee stoppage from that, he will keep throwing hands until you lower the defenses around your neck and squeeze until he’s pulled off. His last four bouts have all ended with him on his opponent’s back, with three rear-naked chokes and one via ground-and-pound.

Needs Improvement

Submission Defensive: Something that Smith has addressed, but still needs to be vigilant of, is his submission defense. As an amateur, who has very inexperienced at the time, Smith was submitted SEVEN times. In fact, had you scouting Smith as an ammy, you may not be as high on him as I am. As a pro he’s yet to lose and even avenged a prior submission loss to fellow Contender Series competitor Jeffrey Molina, showing how quickly Smith has grown.

Outlook

UFC Flyweight Contender: Smith is definitely a strong prospect, and at just age 25, he’s got a very bright future. His physical gifts and mauling wrestling are going to take him a long way, especially in a division as thin as flyweight. With the UFC roster not having a thick roster at that weight class, Smith is only a few impressive performances from potentially being in the title picture. Will it be immediate? No, as there are some world class flyweights currently residing on the UFC roster. However, with his athleticism and knack for getting better from fight to fight, he’s a real threat, especially in a couple of years.

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