Friday, May 7th, American middleweight prospect Johnny Eblen will be in action for Bellator, where he will be looking to continue his winning ways against veteran Daniel Madrid. He will be looking for another win, as Eblen looks to impress the Bellator brass in an attempt to earn an eventual title shot. 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.”
Wrestling: Eblen’s background is in wrestling, as he competed at the University of Missouri like fellow alums Ben Askren and Tyron Woodley. That shows he has top-level wrestling. In the cage, he’s as tough as it gets when it comes to takedowns. He puts his opponent on the mat with ease. Once he’s on the ground, he has great control and the ability to finish fights. He has big-time ground-and-pound, which he’s used to finish three of his fights. He has also shown submission ability in his pro and ammy career, so obviously he’s well-versed.
Power: Eblen is a physical specimen and extremely explosive. A lot of guys he will share the cage with, he will have the power advantage. He has big power in his strikes and can physically move guys with seeming ease. That’s what makes Eblen more of a threat.
Striking Defense: Eblen’s striking has improved from fight to fight, but he still has a couple holes that could be filled in his defense on the feet. Sometimes he doesn’t react as well to strikes from his opponent. He needs to get his head off the line better and can get flat footed sometimes. A lot of that is because he is setting up his takedowns. This also can affect his movement on the feet, which can make him more hittable. As stated, his striking intangibles are getting better from fight to fight, but closing this hole will make Eblen even more a threat.
Bellator Title Contender: Eblen has been very impressive thus far and he can only get better. The 29-year-old trains with one of the best teams in the world and has shown he can step up in competition with his win over Taylor Johnson. Eblen’s wrestling is good enough to fill in the holes while he continues to develop his striking game. In the next year or two, I expect Eblen to move into title contention. It starts with this fight against a very experienced fighter in Daniel Madrid. A win in this bout would definitely move Eblen into a top-10 fight for his next outing, in my estimation.