Prospect in the Spotlight (Dec 29-30): Seika Izawa

Introduction

Sunday, December 31st, Japanese atomweight prospect Seika Izawa will be in action for Rizin, where she will be looking to keep her undefeated record intact against Si Woo Park. She will be looking for another win, as Izawa looks to impress and eventually score a contract with the UFC. She represents Takamoto Dojo, a smaller camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Submission Grappling: Izawa comes from a wrestling background and also has judo background, which makes sense when it comes to her fighting style. She is a good standing grappler and has good takedowns. Once she gets the fight down, she has solid ground-and-pound. However, it’s her submissions which are the crown jewel of her game. She has a variety of submissions in her arsenal. She also has professional grappling experience and has looked very good in that realm as well.

Strength of Schedule: If there’s one thing you can’t knock Izawa for, it’s her strength of schedule. She owns two wins over former number one atomweight Ayaka Hamasaki and Miki Motono, as well as individual victories over Laura Fontoura, Si Woo Park (her current opponent) and Anastasiya Svetkivska. She has prepared herself well to eventually move to bigger ponds.

Needs Improvement

Striker: Given Izawa’s background and style, her striking is the one thing she will have to continue to focus on improving. On the mat, there aren’t a lot of fighters that are going to dominate Izawa. Izawa has been dominant on the ground. Her striking is a tad basic and if she takes on a person with equal or better wrestling, she could be a sitting duck and struggle. She’s not bad, but she needs to keep working on it.

Outlook

World Champion: Izawa is just 25 years old and has been incredibly impressive thus far in her career. With how good she already is, it would be shocking if she wasn’t a world champion in the next year or two. She will do that at atomweight in whatever organization she competes in. At some point, though, she will have to move up to strawweight in an effort to compete on the UFC roster. When she moves up to 115, she may have more difficulty because there is more talent in that weight class, but I think Izawa could certainly be a UFC staple once she makes the roster.

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