Prospect in the Spotlight (June 3-4): Don Shainis

Introduction

Saturday, June 4th, American lightweight prospect Don Shainis will be in action for Cage Titans, where he will be looking continue his winning ways against Brice Picaud. He will be looking for another win, as Shainis looks to impress and score the attention from the UFC. He represents Citadel Martial Arts & Fitness, a smaller camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Aggressive Wrestling: If you watch any tape of Shainis, you see that he features a heavy wrestling approach that is generally pretty successful. He closes the distance well and is explosive in securing the takedown. He’s also good at bullying his opponent against the cage if he resorts to the clinch. His takedown percentage has to be high given how frequently he gets guys down, so he’s not wasting energy on takedowns that go nowhere.

Ground-and-Pound: Shainis is also very good at dropping hammers on the mat. While he does have submission offense, as seen in his three tapout wins, Shainis does his best work when he’s uncoiling big punches and elbows from top position. He has stoppages from on-the-feet strikes, but most of his wins come on the ground when he’s unleashing a fury.

Needs Improvement

Defensive Grappling: Right off the bat, it should be noted that Shainis is a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, so he’s obviously a capable grappler on the whole. That said, it has been seen that Shainis can give up position when grappling. Check out his decision loss to Nate Williams in 2021. Shanis was able to control the wrestling game, but he was reversed on the ground numerous times by Williams, which caused Shainis to end up on his back after working to get the takedown. Also, Williams was able to get his back multiple times and threaten to finish the fight with rear-naked chokes. As Shainis steps up in competition, this needs to be addressed, especially considering he relies so heavily on his ground game.

Outlook

UFC Curtain Jerker: Shainis has really come on recently with some good wins under his belt including a TKO stoppage of Kevin Barberena (brother of UFC fighter Bryan), a decision over prospect Cris Lencioni and a TKO over UFC veteran Cody Pfister on May 6th. So, he has a quick turnaround fight here. He has the talent to get past the regional scene and could compete in the UFC. The problem I see is that he would enter a division stacked with top wrestlers and grapplers, which would make it tough for him to employ his style. He could surprise us, though, as he has looked to improve, so we will see where he goes after his next fight, which is definitely a winnable fight for him.

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