World MMA Featherweight Scouting Report: #10 – Michel Gagnon

As a measure to keep our minds excited about the prospect of finding great up-and-coming fighters, we've chosen to skip over the heavyweight division…

By: Leland Roling | 13 years ago
World MMA Featherweight Scouting Report: #10 – Michel Gagnon
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As a measure to keep our minds excited about the prospect of finding great up-and-coming fighters, we’ve chosen to skip over the heavyweight division for the time being. The decision was based on a number of factors, but mostly because the talent pool is deeply lacking. We will still bring you our top ten prospects within the division following the featherweight and bantamweight divisions. For now, let’s take a look at some of the best prospects who could find their way into the UFC’s newly created featherweight division.

Hailing out of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada, Michel Gagnon (6-1) ranks at #10 on our countdown, bringing an impressive submission game to the table stemming from a deep background in wrestling that is complimented well by training in Judo and Sambo. The Ringside MMA and XMMA veteran has won a total of six professional bouts, all by way of submission in the first round. His lone blemish came in February of 2009 against Bellator standout William Romero, but even in defeat – Gagnon proved he has the chops to be a top-notch featherweight who has potential to be in the world’s premier promotion.

Offensive Skills: One glance at Gagnon’s record should tell the story. Six wins, six submissions, all coming by way of guillotine or rear naked choke. Gagnon’s heavy background in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling is a mainstay in his arsenal of weapons, and it takes only a few seconds of action to realize that it is one of his greatest strengths against any opponent. Furthermore, he’s shown the ability to control his opponents from top control and posture up to deliver damage often.

From a stand-up perspective, Gagnon could use some work in terms of his technique, but his aggression and propensity to go after opponents is good to see from a young fighter. He isn’t fearful of being hit, and he’s willing to go toe-to-toe with better strikers if the need arises. He has a huge overhand left that will knock most opponents out, but he struggles to land it consistently.

Overall, his quick transition game is his means to winning fights, and opponents will need to be fully aware that he can latch on a choke instantly in the scramble. It’s a skill that is highly underrated in today’s sport.

Defensive Skills: On the ground, Gagnon has solid skills in defending against damage from top control. He uses his legs to entangle his opponent’s arms and transition to submissions. The only problem I see is that he tries to get a bit too creative. Against William Romero, he gassed himself out trying to perform a various choke submissions that had low percentages of being pulled off from his back. It was a judgment call, and Gagnon, unfortunately, made the wrong decision in how he was going to pace himself in the fight.

On the feet, his chin is open to damage, but his aggression and quickness works well in neutralizing his opponent’s ability to counter. It will take a far better striker with precision accuracy to expose Gagnon at this point in his career, but there is a greater chance of that happening if he makes his way into the UFC. He’ll need to shore up that defense if he wants to compete at the next level.

Progression: From what we’ve seen from Gagnon inside the cage, it’s difficult to assess how he’s progressing. He’s used a standard formula of wrestling opponents to the ground and submitting them. Right now, he’s had great success, and it’s hard to knock down that type of success with meticulous critiquing of his form. He’ll need to improve defensively, but we need to see him in front of better competition to see where he’s weakest.

Featherweight Lightweight Welterweight
#10 – Michel Gagnon #1 – Thiago Michel
#2 – Ricardo Tirloni
#3 – Magno Almeida
#4 – Ui Cheol Nam
#5 – Henrique Mello
#6 – Reza Madadi
#7 – Alexander Sarnavskiy
#8 – Ole Laursen
#9 – Guillaume DeLorenzi
#10 – Al Iaquinta
#1 – Yuri Villefort
#2 – Alex Garcia
#3 – Erick Silva
#4 – Douglas Lima
#5 – Luis “Sapo” Santos
#6 – Jesse Juarez
#7 – Gunnar Nelson
#8 – Quinn Mulhern
#9 – Alberto Mina
#10 – Joe Ray

Middleweight Light Heavyweight
#1 – Papy Abedi
#2 – Chris Weidman
#3 – Vitor Vianna
#4 – Vyacheslav Vasilevsky
#5 – Bruno Santos
#6 – Costantinos Philippou
#7 – Jordan Smith
#8 – Uriah Hall
#9 – Victor O’Donnell
#10 – Assan Njie
#1 – Marcos Pezao
#2 – Gian Villante
#3 – Jimi Manuwa
#4 – Glover Teixeira
#5 – Jan Blachowicz
#6 – Yoel Romero
#7 – Ryan Jimmo
#8 – Nik Fekete
#9 – Marcus Vanttinen
#10 – Ronny Markes

Environment: Gagnon currently trains out of Team Shredder in Sudbury, Ontario. The gym, a two-car garage at Gagnon’s home, has provided enough of an environment to prepare Gagnon for his battles with some of Canada’s better 145 pound prospects, but it may be time for an upgrade if Gagnon intends to blast his way through the ranks of the UFC’s featherweight division in the future. That may not happen, however, as Team Shredder has a family atmosphere under Yves Charette. Hopefully, Gagnon can continue to improve under the tutelage of Charette.

Potential: After watching a couple of hours of footage on Gagnon and breaking down what he brings to the table, a #10 ranking might be a bit low for him. He is only seven fights into his career, and he doesn’t have extensive experience in being pushed to the brink of his abilities. But he does have a skill-set that is tailor-made to finish fights quickly and effectively.

It’s only a matter of time before his stand-up begins to end fights as well, and he’s been very close to knocking out a few opponents in the past. If Gagnon can improve his stand-up, close the minor holes in his defense, and improve his conditioning, he could be a solid mid-echelon talent in the UFC’s featherweight division in the future. At only 25 years of age, the sky is the limit.

Catch Gagnon in action on April 9th at Ringside 10 in Montreal, Canada as he battles Rejean Groulx for the Ringside MMA Featherweight title.


William Romero vs. Michel Gagnon
Guillaume Lamarche vs. Michel Gagnon

Mitch Gagnon vs. Stephane Bernadel

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Leland Roling
Leland Roling

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