Prospect in the Spotlight (Jan 6-7): Felipe Bunes

Introduction

Friday, January 6th, Brazilian flyweight prospect Felipe Bunes will be in action for LFA, where he will be looking continue his winning ways against Yuma Horiuchi. He will be looking for another win, as Bunes looks to inch closer to a contract with the UFC by scoring LFA championship gold. He represents Pitbull Brothers, a solid camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Jiu-Jitsu: Bunes is a strong grappler, which is his best route to victory when he fights. It does need to be from top position, though, as he’s best when he’s on offense. While he isn’t a dominant wrestler, he has creative ways to get to the ground, and when he does, he gets to work quickly. Eight of his wins come by way of submission, most of which are a variation of armbar or triangle choke/armbars. He does have a solid guard, though he needs to be wary of wrestling-heavy opponents (see under “Needs Improvement”).

Strength of Schedule: Not only is Bunes a successful professional mixed martial artist, he has stepped in the cage with some very tough opposition. While he has fallen when stepping up in competition to the likes of guys such as Jussier Formiga, Murad Magomedov and Imran Bukuev, Bunes has proven he will take on tough guys and not just cans. His biggest win to date comes over TUF veteran and formerly undefeated prospect Yoni Sherbatov, which was the fight that really put Bunes on the map.

Needs Improvement

Counter-Wrestling: Bunes’ biggest Achilles heel has to be his counter-wrestling, as his four most recent losses all come against guys who wrestled him to the mat and dominated from top position. His most recent loss he was put on the mat by the aforementioned Formiga, who chopped through Bunes’ defenses and choked him out via rear-naked choke. His three losses in Russia’s ACA organization all came against wrestlers Magomedov, Bukuev and Mansur Khatuev. As he steps up to the big leagues, potentially, he will see more wrestlers, so he’ll need to tighten that up.

Outlook

UFC Prelim Fighter: Bunes has shown that he can be competitive with top-level fighters, and being a flyweight, there’s an easier in to the UFC roster seeing as that division has among the least amount of fighters currently rostered. Bunes is a step away if he wins the LFA Flyweight Championship, especially against an LFA veteran and a Road to UFC veteran in Horiuchi, who is no pushover. Bunes will need to outlast Horiuchi’s striking, which he is capable of, and dominate him on the mat.

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