Prospect in the Spotlight (Jan 15-16): Arthur Estrazulas

Introduction

Friday, January 15th, Brazilian lightweight prospect Arthur Estrazulas will be in action for LFA, where he will be looking to continue his winning streak against fellow top prospect Nick Browne. He will be looking for another win, as Estrazulas looks to impress the UFC brass in an attempt to earn a contract. He represents Kings MMA, a respected camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Submission Grappling: Estrazulas is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, and it shows in many of his fights. He grapples in high-level tournaments when he’s not stepping in the cage, and has solid success. Of his 12 wins, eight come by way of submission and he can do it from top position or his back. His favorite is the rear-naked choke, as he loves transitioning to the point of getting his opponents back and using his tight squeeze to secure a tapout. However, when he’s been put on the mat, he also is dangerous from guard, as he also has multiple triangle choke victories, including one over UFC vet Chris Tickle.

Kickboxing: Estrazulas is an intense fighter from his demeanor and it really shows in his striking game. First off, Estrazulas has pro kickboxing experience under the Glory banner, one of the premiere kickboxing companies in the world. He has whipping kicks from the outside and is strong in the clinch, where he throws a barrage of knees and elbows. Though he has just two knockout wins, he has shown KO power, as seen in his destruction of the respected Dave Courchaine. He definitely gets better in this category every time we see him because he trains with Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA, a great camp for striking. It has rounded him off and made him a more complete fighter.

Needs Improvement

Counter-Wrestling: The big improvement that Estrazulas will need to make, especially when he moves up the major leagues, is his counter-wrestling, especially in a division like lightweight which is littered with wrestlers at the high levels of the sport. Estrazulas has shown he can be taken down and challenged in the wrestling department in multiple fights, including in his losses. His most recent fight saw him defending on Dominic Clark, whose wrestling isn’t even on par with many in the UFC. While Estrazulas eventually fended it off and reversed to a dominant position, it showed it is something he will need to continue to focus on in the gym.

Outlook

UFC Midcarder: Estrazulas being as well-rounded as he is proves to me that he will be in the UFC in due time. The man has a mean intensity about him and he always brings it in the cage. He’s an impressive finisher that continues to get better and is approaching his prime at age 31. His current opponent, Nick Browne, seems to be a matchup that should favor the Brazilian, as Browne’s wrestling may not be good enough to overcome Estrazulas despite Arthur’s need to tighten up in that area. He has an advantage in the striking department over Browne and is likely as good, if not better, than his fellow BJJ black belt. Seeing as this is a LFA main event, we could see Estrazulas in the UFC within the first half of the year if he scores a win over Browne, especially in impressive fashion.

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