Tuesday, July 26th, American middleweight prospect Joe Pyfer will be in action for Dana White’s Contender Series, where he will be looking continue his winning ways against Ozzy Diaz. He will be looking for another win, as Pyfer looks to impress and earn a contract with the UFC. He represents Team Balance, a lesser-known camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Power Striking: Pyfer’s nickname is “Bodybagz”, which is an appropriate nickname given that his power striking is notorious for putting dudes down. Pyfer’s boxing is very good, as he has good head movement, takes good angles and lands well. He has dynamite in his hands. Before losing to Dustin Stoltzfus on his last Contender Series outing, Pyfer was hammering his opponent with big punches to the head and body. Five of his pro MMA wins come by way of knockout, including his most recent fight where he destroyed Austin Trotman with a massive fight hook. He has some submission abilities, but it’s his striking that needs to be recognized by whoever steps in the cage with him.
Strength: Pyfer is a physical animal with excellent explosiveness in his striking and the strength to manhandle people. Guys with technical wrestling can get around that, but Pyfer’s physical strength is hard to deal with for many guys, even in the 185-pound division. He can control guys in the clinch and his main takedown defense is just muscling guys off.
Defensive Grappling: While Pyfer’s physical prowess does lend him well to avoid extended grappling periods sometimes, other times, his defensive grappling has come back to haunt him. This is especially the case when somebody can match strength with him or use technique/determination to get past that strength. Also, part of this could be that his gas tank could use some work as well. Against Jhonovan Pati, he got caught in a standing grappling situation where Pati, who is similarly strong to Pyfer, grabbed onto a guillotine choke and took a tapout win over Pyfer. In his Contender Series loss to Stoltzfus, Pyfer started to slow down a bit after success on the feet and Stoltzfus landed a big slam on Pyfer. The slam ended in a freak elbow injury for Pyfer, but the fact is that he got taken down with prejudice and he was slowing down leading up to that.
Falls Against Steps Up in Competition: The other knock on Pyfer is that his wins come against low-level talent and the two losses he’s taken were in steps up in competition against Pati and Stoltzfus. Pyfer needs to prove himself against better talent, as he has no “keynote” wins. A win over Diaz would be a step in the right direction.
UFC Prelim Fighter: I think that Joe Pyfer will be in the UFC at some point and I think he can be a guy that can collect a couple wins and a couple bonus checks given his violent finishes and exciting style. However, I don’t think he can get past being a prelim fighter. Pyfer’s inability to win fights when stepping up in competition (at this point) shows there may be a ceiling to him. The one thing he has going for him is that he’s 25 years old, meaning he still has time before he hits his prime. He’s a dangerous guy, but the UFC is loaded with dangerous fighters. I would love to see Pyfer in 2-3 years, as if he continues progressing, he will be a very intriguing prospect. He could be better than my outlook predicts, though, which is encouraging.