Prospect in the Spotight (Dec 4-5): Garry Tonon

Introduction

Friday, December 4th, American lightweight prospect Garry Tonon will be in action for ONE Championship, where he will be looking to continue his undefeated streak against Koyomi Matsushima. He will be looking for another win, as Tonon looks to inch closer to an eventual ONE title shot. He represents Team Renzo Gracie and Evolve MMA, two solid camps in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Jiu-Jitsu: Tonon may be one of the best BJJ practitioners in the world; MMA is his secondary sport. The guy does some absolutely breathtaking things on the ground because of how high level he is. His chokes are suffocating and he has gorilla grip strength. His leg locks are absolutely masterful and an extremely dangerous tool in his arsenal. In addition to the submissions, positional prowess and transitions, Tonon also has solid enough wrestling. His takedowns are very good for a BJJ player, as he has somewhat of a wrestling background. Basically put, anybody who goes to the ground with Tonon is going to be in over their heads.

Ground-and-Pound: Despite being a pure BJJ grappler, Tonon actually has some pretty nice ground-and-pound. You’d think a jiu-jitsu wizard would solely rely on his technical prowess to get to a submission position, but Tonon drops hammers. In fact, two of his five career wins have come via TKO on the mat when he unleashed a barrage of ground-and-pound. It also helps him get to an advantageous position to score his signature submissions.

Needs Improvement

Striking Level: Obviously, the big area of improvement for Tonon is going to be his overall striking. I will say that Tonon has some good, unorthodox movement on the feet and some solid kicks, but there is a lot missing. He doesn’t throw many combos or commit too heavily to his strikes. Obviously, he is using those strikes to set up takedowns so he can get to his outstanding grappling. Clearly, he hasn’t shown knockout power, so opponents are not going to respect him while he’s on the feet or fear getting put to sleep. Tonon’s ground is so masterful, he can afford to spend more time working simply on his kickboxing.

Outlook

ONE Title Challenger: Tonon will not lose on the ground against any fighter he faces in ONE. Seeing how good he is there, and the lack of world class depth a UFC would have, I have no doubt that Tonon will challenge for the title at some point. His striking will continue to be a concern when he fights, but because he’s a good enough wrestler and an amazing BJJ artist, even getting an opponent down once in a fight will be enough. Can he beat the ONE Champions? I am not sure, but he will certainly leave fighters in his wake on the way.

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