Prospect in the Spotlight (Apr 8-9): Aaron McKenzie

Introduction

Friday, April 8th, American lightweight prospect Aaron McKenzie will be in action for LFA, where he will be looking continue his winning ways against Lucas Clay. He will be looking for another win, as McKenzie looks to strike gold as he angles to eventually get signed by the UFC. He represents Lovato’s BJJ & MMA, a solid camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Submission Wrestling: McKenzie’s biggest weapon is his ground game, which he employs in many of his bouts. He has solid offensive wrestling (and to be fair, defensive wrestling) and is able to get opponents down effectively. Once there, he gets to work quickly. His jiu-jitsu is also very good, which makes sense given that his jiu-jitsu coach is Rafael Lovato. He owns four submission victories, but also has ground-and-pound stoppages, showing that he is effective with punches and submissions on the mat.

Durability: McKenzie is two-dollar steak tough, in the words of the legendary Jim Ross. He is able to absorb damage pretty well and knowing that, is more aggressive knowing he can eat punishment. He’s never been finished as an amateur or a pro. That is largely helpful, as he’s always in the fight.

Needs Improvement

Mild Inconsistency: McKenzie can be sort of hard to figure out given some of the inconsistency on his resume. He has some very impressive victories over the likes UFC vet Joe Giannetti and solid regional talent Brandon Phillips. However, he has a loss to journeyman Dawond Pickney and a draw vs. unknown AJ Nichols, which is weird considering those strong wins. His split decision loss to Chris Gonzalez was a tough fought bout and Gonzalez is a top prospect, so it’s hard to hold that one against him, though.

Outlook

UFC Prelim Fighter: McKenzie looks to be on track to make the UFC at some point, perhaps after he scores LFA gold. The organization is obviously a feeder to the UFC, so McKenzie is knocking at the door right now. Also consider the fact that McKenzie is 33 years old, so he’s starting to get up there in age. The time to get to the world’s largest MMA promotion is now. He has a tough fight on his hands in the form of Lucas Clay, so it will not be easy. However, McKenzie’s recent track record shows he is more than capable of scoring this win and possibly being on Dana White’s speed dial.

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