MMA Sun 2014 Prospect Spotlight: The Heavyweights – #3– Denis Smoldarev

Number 3 on our heavyweight prospect list is Denis Smoldarev. Smoldarev is a native of Estonia who trains with the Alexander Nevsky club Denis-Smoldarevin St. Petersburg, Russia. At only 23-years of age Smoldarev is one of a few young and exciting heavyweight prospects.  In Estonia they call him, “Brock Lesnar,” but his fighting style is nothing like Lesnar’s.

The first thing that stood out on Smoldaerv’s game was his powerful kicks. He has some of the hardest kicks out of any of our prospects and he uses them in high volume.  He uses very solid leg kicks to wear down his opponents.  He has some kickboxing and combat sambo background. He even fought the famed “Baby Fedor” Kiril Sidlinikov in a sambo match. He is a world combat sambo bronze medalist.  One of the things that I liked about Smoldarev’s striking was that he frequently goes to the body with his punches.  He does not have one punch knockout power, but he is a volume striker who lands with good accuracy.  Some may remember that following Smoldarev’s win over Ibragim Ibragimov that he was on the receiving end of a angry headbutt.  Smoldarev is huge for any heavyweight, as he is listed at 6’7″.  He is a big, strong and powerful heavyweight.  He moves pretty well on his feet and his footwork appears to be solid. As big as he is, I have seen a few fights where he was easily taken down.  He has always been able to get to his feet, but it is not a good thing for a guy his size to get rag dolled.  It is the lack of takedown defense that really kept Smoldarev out of our number one spot in the heavyweight division.  He has landed some solid takedowns of his own.  He landed a very nice throw against Ibragimov.  So, he looks much more comfortable when he is in the top position.  He showed a solid side control.  He is able to land good ground and pound and has some solid submissions ability as well.  His transitions are not as quick as I would like to see, but he is able to transition from side control to mount as needed.  He struggles a bit when he is pressured, but when he is the one pressing forward he is hard to handle.

Smoldarev is scheduled to fight our number 8 Heavyweight prospect, Ante Delija on February 28th at M-1 Challenge 45.  I would think that the winner of that fight would be high up on the UFC”s wish list.  Delija is a tough match up for Smoldarev, but that goes both ways.  The UFC desperately needs young heavyweight talent, and Smoldarev really fits that mold.  While he is also a student, 2014 could be the year he makes the move from M-1 to UFC.

Flyweights

1. Leandro Higo
2. Henry Cejudo
3. Pietro Menga
4. Alexandre Pantoja
5. Sean Santella
6. Marcin Lasota
7. Nick Urso
8. Mikihito Yamagami
9. Alex Sandoval
10. Louis Smolka

Bantamweights

1. Aljamain Sterling
2. Michinori Tanaka
3. Pedro Munhoz
4. Thomas Almeida
5. Sheymon Moraes
6. Julio Arce
7. Anthony Birchak
8. Tuerxun Jumabieke
9. Yuta Sasaki
10. Adi Alic

Featherweights

1. Mirsad Bektic
2. Gleristone Santos
3. Raoni Barcelos
4. Jim Alers
5. Chas Skelly
6. Martin Buschkamp
7. Bekbulat Magomedov
8. Chris Fishgold
9. Marat Gafurov
10. Brian Ortega

Lightweights

1. Gilbert Burns
2. Mansour Barnaoui
3. Carlos Diego Ferreira
4. Lowen Tynanes
5. Lukasz Sajewski
6. Islam Makhachev
7. Scott Holtzman
8. Frankie Perez
9. Magomed Alhasov
10. Musa Khamanaev

Welterweights

1. Nicolas Dalby
2. Marcin Bandel
3. Marif Piraev
4. Tom Breese
5. Warlley Alves de Andrade
6. Walter Gahadza
7. Chris Heatherly
8. Sergey Khandozhko
9. Vlad Popovskiy
10. Ryan Scope

Middleweights

1. Scott Askham
2. Sean Strickland
3. Chris Honeycutt
4. Ben Reiter
5. Ricardo Abreu
6. Andrew Sanchez
7. Jake Collier
8. Ramazan Emeev
9. Max Nunes
10. Miles Marshall

Light Heavyweights

1. Patrick Cummins
2. Jan Blachowicz
3. Viktor Nemkov
4. Brandon Ropati
5. Steve Bosse
6. Tomasz Narkun
7. Gideon Drotschie
8. Matej Batinic
9. Stephan Puetz
10. Maxim Grishin

Heavyweights

1.
2.
3. Denis Smoldarev
4. Dmitriy Sosnovskiy
5. Viktor Pesta
6. Ion Cutelaba
7. Magomed Malikov
8. Ante Delija
9. Cody East
10. Smealinho Rama

Women’s Bantamweight

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Women’s Strawweights

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12 Responses to MMA Sun 2014 Prospect Spotlight: The Heavyweights – #3– Denis Smoldarev

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