Prospect in the Spotlight (Nov 27-28): Rafal Haratyk

Introduction

Thursday, November 26th, Polish middleweight prospect Rafal Haratyk will be in action for Absolute Championship Akhmat, where he will be looking to continue his wining streak against Nikola Dipchikov. He will be looking for another win, as Haratyk looks to impress the bosses of ACA and UFC. He represents Berserker’s Team, an underrated camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Striking: Haratyk is a striker that sort of reminds me of Keith Jardine. He can be herky jerky and unorthodox in his movements and techniques. One thing he does extremely well is throw combinations to keep the defensive fighter guessing. You won’t see to many single strikes from Haratyk. He also has very strong leg kicks which he whips with not a lot of wind up. They do the damage they need to in limiting his opponents movement as the fight wares on. His best shot is definitely the right hand. It has all sorts of power and does good damage when it lands. Sometimes he telegraphs it and wings it a bit much, but it’s nevertheless effective. When he hurts somebody, he follows up with good ground-and-pound on that mat in an attempt to finish the fight.

Counter Wrestling: Take a look at Haratyk physically. He is a brute. He has some solid technical counter wrestling, but many times he’s able to shuck off takedown attempts with physical strength alone. He’s also shown strong hips on the sprawl, pushing aside takedowns that aren’t perfect or with absolute explosiveness. Once he defends the takedown, he’s tough in the clinch. He’s not going to light you up like a muay Thai fighter with knees and elbows, but he will hold you there to get the upper hand and break it off to continue the striking portion of the fight. That counter-wrestling allows him to stick with his bread and butter.

Needs Improvement

Can Get Wild: Part of what makes Haratyk an exciting fighter is that he engages and doesn’t mind getting into dog fights. However, it can be to his detriment at times as well. Though it was a while ago, he did that in a losing effort to Omari Akhmedov and paid for it with a TKO loss. Though he’s improved greatly since then, he still fights like the man that took that TKO loss. When he is winging punches, he leaves himself open to counters. A strong counter striker who is comfortable of their back foot will tag Haratyk when he gets careless.

Off His Back: It doesn’t happen often because he has such effective counter-wrestling, but when Haratyk is put on his back, he can be exposed. He’s been pounded out by Marcin Naruszczka, though that fight has been avenged since then. He was also choked out by Dricus du Plessis, who has since gone on to the UFC. He has to use his strength and increased technical ability to get back to his feet more quickly. Part of that would be getting to the cage and cage walking back to this feet.

Outlook

UFC Prelim Fighter: The fact that Haratyk is in an ACA co-main event shows you how highly the company thinks of this 33-year-old middleweight. He brings a combination of exciting style and talent to the cage. He has proven himself with a strong strength of schedule in his career, scoring wins over guys like Piotr Strus and sharing the cage against UFC middleweight Omari Akhmedov and UFC vet Oskar Piechota. Haratyk is experienced as well, having been a pro since 2010. Given his skills, style and toughness, there is no reason why Haratyk can’t be a UFC roster member by the end of his career. He has the style that Dana likes and is definitely capable of beating guys on the roster right now. He has a tough test in Dipchikov, but a win over the Bulgarian should be enough to get the UFC’s attention.

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