Friday, July 2nd, American flyweight prospect Charles Johnson will be in action for LFA, where he will be looking to strike gold against Yuma Horiuichi. He will be looking for another win, as Johnson looks to win the LFA title and potentially score a contract with the UFC. He represents Tiger Muay Thai, a top camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Kickboxing: Johnson trains with some of the best muay Thai fighters in the world at Tiger Muay Thai, and has taken Thai and boxing bouts, so it’s no surprise that Johnson is a strong striker. Johnson is a tall flyweight at 5’9″ and fights long, as he should. He utilizes a strong jab and good footwork to stay on the outside, where he racks up points and sets the pace. He also uses strong low kicks from the outside, utilizing round kicks to the legs/body, as well as the occasional side/oblique kicks. He switches stances frequently to keep his opponent guessing and to give them different looks. Four of his wins come by way of striking finishes, which shows he also can pack some power as well. The one thing he could improve on the feet is his striking defense, as he can eat some shots, but overall, Johnson is a good striker.
Submissions: While Johnson is not the strongest wrestler (as we’ll discuss), he’s got some good offensive submission ability that has allowed him to score wins on the mat. Three of his eight wins have come by way of tapout, scoring an anaconda choke over Karlee Pangilinan, a D’Arce choke over Marc Tong Van and a kimura over Ray Allard. A lot of times, he uses submission attacks as a defense against takedowns or advancements off his back. However, when he’s using them offensively, he can definitely secure the hold and end the fight.
Counter Wrestler: In Johnson’s two pro losses, he has been outwrestled by his opponents. To be fair, the two guys Johnson has lost to (Sean Santella and Brandon Royval) are top flyweights that are both experienced and skilled. That said, he was taken down and controlled in both the clinch and on the mat. While in the clinch he can be dangerous with knees and short strikes, he can be controlled by his opponent and downed. He will defend with submissions, but if he’s unable to really threaten with a finish, he has to give up on that and play defense. He is continuing to improve his wrestling, but continue to look for opponents to try and expose that.
UFC Prelim Fighter: Johnson is an exciting fighter that does have the skills to hang with tough opponents. I think if he’s able to put down Horiuichi to capture the LFA title, he will find his way to the UFC. From there, I think he will be a UFC prelim fighter that participates in good fights, but never through to the next level of that UFC division. When you are a finisher like Johnson with good athleticism and making improvements, you give yourself a chance for success in this sport. Johnson certainly has a chance to do that.