Prospect in the Spotlight (Nov 13-14): Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz

Introduction

Tuesday, November 10th, Canadian middleweight prospect Mariusz Ksiazkiewicz will be in action on Dana White’s Contender Series, where he will be looking to continue his undefeated streak against Mario Sousa. He will be looking for another win, as Mariusz looks to impress the UFC brass in an attempt to earn a contract. He represents Winnipeg Academy of MMA, an underrated camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Top Grappling: When it comes to his offensive grappling, Ksiazkiewicz is very effective on the mat. He has pretty good wrestling, which he’s able to use from a distance. Because of his long frame, he can effectively shoot from the outside and drag opponents to the mat. Once on top, he applies a ton of pressure and is very aggressive. He is constantly attacking with submissions and looking for ways to finish the fight. He has very effective ground and pound, especially from half guard and from the back. In fact, he’s quite dangerous from the back. Five of his eight wins come by way of rear-naked choke. He has long limbs, which are great for when he applies chokes. It gives him great leverage. Plus, he is excellent position-wise, as he rarely lets opponents up and does not get reversed.

Distance Striking: As mentioned, Mariusz has long limbs, so his striking from the outside has proven to be a good tool as well. He throws jabs and straight punches very well, as it is his go-to weapon on the feet. He lands more in volume than power, though as seen in his finish of Jo Vallee that he can definitely hurt people with his hands. Boxing seems to be his main point of attack on the feet, so I would definitely prefer to see some more kicks, especially from a guy with his long reach. It would help him keep opponents at a distance even more.

Needs Improvement

Takedown Defense: Though there isn’t much footage of Mariusz finding himself in trouble in the pro fights he’s been in, his takedown defense looks like a part of his game that could use some refining. If you watch his bout against Micah Brakefield, he was taken down twice by Brakefield, despite the fact that he was dominating Brakefield. Not only that, but Brakefield not the freshest fighter at the time of those two takedowns. Mariusz didn’t really give anything up while on his back and was able to eventually get up, but the fact that he was taken down with somewhat ease is concerning. What will happen when he starts taking on more competent and top-level wrestlers when he moves to the big leagues? Fortunately, that Brakefield fight was 2016, so likely he’s been working on that and made improvements since.

Schedule: There are two things about Mariusz’s resume/schedule that concern me. One is the overall strength of schedule he’s faced and the other is the amount of activity. He’s been a pro since 2011 and has only taken 8 fights. That is less than one fight a year. He’s fought twice in the last three years, though they have been against his two most credible opponents. Outside of his wins over 18-6 Guilherme Miranda and 7-2 Jo Vallee, his opponents combined records were 15-16, showing he was fighting low-level regional competition. That could be because he was taking fights in Alaska FC, which has entertaining brawls but is not exactly top-level competition. That said, he’s shown himself in wins over Miranda and Vallee, giving us an example of his ability to beat credible opponents.

Outlook

UFC Curtain Jerker: There is still something to be seen with Mariusz, especially things such as fighting on a consistent level and fighting competition at a consistent level. But this 31-year-old Winnipeg resident has shown some very good skills and potential, which is why he’s earned an opportunity to prove himself in front of Dana White, Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard. He’s undefeated because he sticks to his guns and does the things he’s best at. He’s pretty well-rounded, but even knowing that, still needs to improve. It’s obvious he’d done that, though. On his plate now is Mario Sousa in the main event of the Contender Series. Sousa is a finisher that also needs to prove himself outside of crushing regional nobodies. If Mariusz is able to defeat Sousa, especially in impressive fashion, his 10th career fight may be on a UFC card.

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