World MMA Bantamweight Scouting Report: #8 – Tommy Vargas

At #8 on the 2011 World MMA Bantamweight Scouting Report, NCAA All-American wrestler Tommy Vargas chimes in on our countdown. Vargas, who trains out…

By: Leland Roling | 13 years ago
World MMA Bantamweight Scouting Report: #8 – Tommy Vargas
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

At #8 on the 2011 World MMA Bantamweight Scouting Report, NCAA All-American wrestler Tommy Vargas chimes in on our countdown. Vargas, who trains out of Millennia MMA in California, has transitioned his decorated wrestling skill successfully into the cage, amassing a 7-1 record over only two years in the sport. With continued improvement in his skills, Vargas could see himself inside the Octagon in the near future.

Offensive Skills: Vargas doesn’t hide the fact that he’s been an one-dimensional fighter for the majority of his career. With a strong base in wrestling, it makes perfect sense that Vargas would utilize those tactics inside the cage to succeed at the lower levels. In the meantime, he’s been honing his stand-up game to supplement his ground fighting ability, showing the fruits of his labor against Martin Sandoval in December. It wasn’t an enormous improvement by any means, but a far cry from his early days in the sport.

On the ground, Vargas is a disciplined top control fighter. He doesn’t stray too far out of his comfort zone for fear of the submission, and he likes to work from guard with short elbows and punches to damage his opponents. He has the conditioning to work from that position for most of the fight, lending some credence to the criticism that he doesn’t actively work for the finish.

Defensive Skills: As aforementioned above, Vargas’ striking is a skill that’s steadily improving, but it’s far from impressive. Defensively, the same could be said for his ability to evade and block shots from strikers looking to test his chin. Fortunately, Vargas’ wrestling is his best defensive skill for obvious reasons. Strikers must worry about the takedown, and it allows Vargas to shield himself from the better striking skills of opponents.

Progression: Check out Vargas’ second professional fight below the fold, then peep the battle with Martin Sandoval. Obviously, a couple of years will make a huge difference in a fighter’s skills. But Vargas had zero technical striking skill two bouts into his career. He stood toe-to-toe with Thomas Casarez, luckily blasting him on the chin before he suffered the same wrath.

Today, Vargas is more technical in his approach. The more significant improvement is his footwork. Gone are the days in which he stands flat footed in front of his opponents. If Vargas can continue to hone those skills and improve his punching, he’ll have a solid boxing game to supplement his wrestling skills.

Environment: Vargas currently trains out of Millennia MMA in California. The camp features a number of major promotion veterans such as Manny Tapia, Charlie Valencia, and Georgi Karakhanyan. Top prospect Brandon Bender and Tachi Palace Fights standout Darrell Montague also train regularly at the gym. A very solid stable of well-rounded athletes for Vargas to hone his craft.

Bantamweight Featherweight Lightweight
#10 – Denis Puric
#9 – Mike Easton
#8 – Tommy Vargas
#1 – Antonio Carvalho
#2 – Taiki Tsuchiya
#3 – Mark Adams
#4 – Alan Omer
#5 – Koichiro Matsumoto
#6 – Tom Niinimaki
#7 – Marcos Vinicius
#8 – Matt Fiordirosa
#9 – Isaac DeJesus
#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
Welterweight Middleweight Light Heavyweight
#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
#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

Potential: Vargas has the skill-set that is indicative of success in mixed martial arts. He has All-American credentials, and he’s transitioned those skills to the cage successful with a string of solid wins. The downside to Vargas’ game is his striking. It’s only improving slightly over time, but there is hope for him to make a breakthrough as he’s only 27 years of age.

He also needs to become a more active fighter from the top and work on a means to passing guard and submitting opponents. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts will feed on him if he simply sits in guard. If Vargas can improve those skills, he has a legitimate shot at breaking into the big time in the future.

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Leland Roling
Leland Roling

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