Friday, February 12th, American bantamweight prospect Danny Sabatello will be in action for Titan FC, where he will be looking to continue his winning ways against veteran Da’Mon Blackshear. He will be looking for another win, as Sabatello looks to impress the UFC brass in an attempt to earn a contract. He represents American Top Team, a top camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Overall Ground Game: Sabatello’s background is that he was an All-American wrestler at Purdue University, and it shows in all of his fights. He doesn’t make bones about it, he is going to wrestle you til the cows come home. Sabatello is relentless in his pressure. He pushes forward and looks for set ups to shoot a takedown, which he scores at a high percentage. He is very explosive on that takedown, and rumor is that Sabatello is one of the best wrestlers at American Top Team, a high compliment given the talent at that gym. When he gets his opponent down, he is an absolute wet blanket. His control is top notch and he rarely lets his opponent squirm from out under him. While his ground-and-pound can use some more work, as well as his activity as he moves up in competition, his submission skills are also high quality. Four of his wins come by way of submission, as he has great grip strength and choking power.
Personality: I don’t often include non-fight related strengths in these scouting reports, but Sabatello has the type of personality that is going to help him get bigger fights and draw attention to himself. When he fought Taylor Moore on the Contender Series, he was talking a lot of trash both while fighting and in between rounds. He also seemed sharp on the mic in his interview. Some people don’t like the obnoxious personalities in MMA, but the sport needs villains, and Sabatello surely has the ability to draw interest in a fight against an opponent that fans can rally behind.
Striking: While Sabatello continues to improve in the striking category, he still has work to do. A lot of his strikes are for setting up takedowns, which are effective to this point. However, if he is unable to score takedowns and left to handle things on the feet, he could see some trouble as he moves up in level of competition. His lone loss came via knockout at the hands of UFC vet Irwin Rivera, who caught him on the feet in the fourth round of their fight. Luckily, ATT has world class coaches that will continue to help Sabatello improve.
Top-25 UFC BW: Sabatello’s skills and personality mean that he will be in the UFC someday, no doubt. What will help speed that up is striking gold under the Titan FC promotion against Blackshear, a credible opponent. Titan FC has provided a lot of talents to the UFC, and holding the belt almost certainly means he will be with the UFC quickly. When he arrives, there are a lot of matchups that favor Sabatello. I certainly think he can reach the top-15 rankings, but to be conservative, Sabatello is certainly a guy with top-25 written all over him. At 27 years old, he still has some time to reach his prime.