This month’s MMA Prospect of the Month is South African bantamweight Demarte Pena, an undefeated fighter with a variety of upside.
From: Sunninghill, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
Weight class: Bantamweight
Report: 11-0 (2 NC)
Who’s Demarte Pena?
Born on September 29, 1989, Demarte Pena has been in martial arts ever since a younger age. He educated Shaolin Kung Fu and Muay-thai as an newbie going 6-Zero earlier than transitioning to MMA. He additionally competed in Judo and Karate in addition to grappling, accumulating a number of newbie titles.
Pena received into MMA whereas he was in highschool, messing round within the sport with a couple of of his buddies. Wanting to check his abilities, he was overwhelmed by a comparatively weaker man. Pena was fascinated that he was submitted by a “weaker” opponent and determined to pursue MMA. He captured an newbie file of 4-1 earlier than going professional in 2011. He’s fought for EFC Worldwide his whole profession and gained their featherweight title. He was their first EFC featherweight champion and their youngest champion in promotion historical past. Pena later moved all the way down to bantamweight and gained the title in that weight class in 2014.
In his final two fights, Pena defended his title towards a really gifted Irshaad Sayed however each fights had been overturned to a no-contest. The reason is Pena, testing constructive for testosterone and indicators of anabolic steroid use. After his second offense in December 2017, Pena could be banned for 4 years and would later relinquish his title. Being away from the game for fairly some time he will probably be eligible to return quickly, between November and someday subsequent 12 months (Pena was given credit score for time served throughout his provisional suspension, and had his wins overturned relationship again to 2016).
From in comparison with how his hanging was when he first began combating it’s come a great distance. His attain is just 64.2″ (163 cm) so it’s onerous for him to seek out his vary a variety of the instances. Together with his restricted wingspan, he tends to have to achieve loads. Regardless of that he has dropped opponents together with his arms. On the toes Pena depends on his pace to burst out and in or counter his opponents coming in. He throws a superb left hook to the physique and throws at a reasonably good price. He’s technically improved and has energy in his arms regardless of not having a knockout win. Grade: C+
Although primarily a wrestler, Pena has all the time had good kickboxing. Pena will throw sidekicks, change kicks, ax kicks and hook kicks. He’s loads higher staying technical simply touchdown kicks to the lead leg going to the inside and outside. He’ll combine it up going to the leg a lot after which going to the top. He’s scored a couple of knockdowns in his profession from a head kick. You’ll be able to see in his battle with Wentzel Nel, Nel was tremendous aggressive early on by the continual leg kicks to the lead leg slowed him down utterly. Grade: B-
Within the clinch Pena will at instances get takedowns utilizing journeys and dropping ranges. He throws good elbows and muay thai plum knees. He’s higher as soon as he separates and throws combos on the break. Quite a lot of instances he’s pressed towards the cage and has bother circling out. Grade: C+
Pena is gentle on his toes and has a superb bounce to his step. He doesn’t transfer round a lot except he’s stepping out and in throwing flurries. Nothing particular stands out together with his motion/footwork however he’s fast sufficient to bounce proper out of the way in which. Grade: C+
The wrestling of Pena is his greatest weapon by far. Whereas he’s getting extra comfy on the toes the wrestling is all the time a pure fallback he has. Pena is actually good at exploding ahead with the double leg. Virtually all the time finishing the primary shot, he’s all the time there to chain-wrestle which he does so properly. Within the clinch, he’s good at simply utilizing inside and outdoors journeys and dropping ranges for the double leg. As he likes to battle off his again foot that’s when he instances his double legs excellent when his opponents are coming ahead. Grade: A
With such a superb wrestling base, Pena finds himself on the mat very often. His submission sport isn’t too sturdy: he does have two subs but it surely’s nothing he goes for. He’s heavy on high with sturdy head positioning and higher physique stress. As soon as he lets up on the stress giving area he unloads with ferocious floor and pound. Pena will rain down hammer fist staying lively, actively on the lookout for the bottom and pound stoppage. Grade: B-
Pena has gone the gap seven instances. He has been a champion since 2011 and has defended his EFC title ten instances. He has gone into the championship rounds 9 instances. His output might decelerate a bit however he nonetheless fights the identical all through 5 rounds. Pena does a superb job pacing himself by no means placing an excessive amount of power in early on. Grade: A
Pena has been taken down earlier than and has been dropped however general has a wonderful protection throughout. Within the final couple of fights, he hasn’t actually discovered himself in any hazard on the toes. His pace permits him to maneuver excellent out of the way in which defensively. Pena although will maintain his arms low being a matter of time earlier than he will get cracked. His takedown protection is fairly darn good, as he has solely been taken down a handful of instances in his profession. Pena fights so low it’s simple for him to get out of the way in which. Grade: A
Fighter comparability: Hunter Azure
General ideas: Coming again quickly from an extended layoff and from a doping violation it’s unknown how Demarte Pena will look. Nonetheless, on the time he was lively he was one of many hottest prospects on the market. Talking on what he’s proven, he’s a fighter that may do very properly within the UFC. His competitors isn’t nice however beating guys like Nkazimulo Zulu and Irshaad Sayed (twice, albeit they had been overturned) is respectable. Over time Pena has steadily improved and with this break day he might have actually put within the work and might be much more of a beast than what he was. Since Pena moved all the way down to bantamweight he’s sooner, stronger, and holds extra energy.