World MMA Heavyweight Scouting Report: #1 – Guram Gugenishvili

Before we get down to business, I would just like to thank all of the readers who emailed me or reached me via Twitter…

By: Leland Roling | 12 years ago
World MMA Heavyweight Scouting Report: #1 – Guram Gugenishvili
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Before we get down to business, I would just like to thank all of the readers who emailed me or reached me via Twitter for all the thoughts, opinions, and support for the report. It was a daunting task that took a lot of my time to write and research, and my hope was that it would bring a spotlight to many of the great prospects in the regional scene. Give smoogy some props in the comments as well, he was pivotal in helping me decipher footage, find worthy prospects, and analyze where wanted to rank each fighter.

Closing out the 2011 World MMA Scouting Report, M-1 veteran Guram Gugenishvili tops our list as the #1 prospect on the heavyweight countdown. The Georgian wrestler/grappler remains undefeated at 11-0, attaining the M-1 Heavyweight crown in October with a submission win over Kenny Garner and defending it against Maxim Grishin in March. While Gugenishvili has shown some glaring weaknesses in his skill-set, we believe the 24-year-old prospects holds the potential to become a world class heavyweight in the future if he can progress down the right path.

Offensive Skills: Gugenishvili’s wrestling is by far his greatest strength. Combined with a relentless top position grappling game, brutal ground and pound, and size, it creates an overwhelming obstacle for his opponents to overcome. He also possesses a diverse arsenal of submissions, moving from one to the other to keep opponents guessing and on the defensive.

His striking is his weakest attribute. He simply doesn’t have the training to be effective in that area of his game yet, but at 24 years of age — he has plenty of time to progress those skills to a higher level.

Defensive Skills: Like Abdurahimov, Gugenishvili is difficult to control on the ground. He utilizes his 6’5″ frame well, throwing up his legs and threatening with submissions from his back. Furthermore, he’s hustles relentlessly to escape bad positions, creating a chaotic environment for opponents to wade through in order to control him. When Gugenishvili is caught in a submission, his strength usually prevails, adding another layer to his defense.

On the feet, his defense to incoming strikes is non-existent, almost to the point in which it’s nerve-racking to watch him approach his opponents. That one of the main reasons why Guram shoots from distance and powers through his opponents.

Progression: One of the concerns regarding Gugenishvili is his progression, most specifically in his stand-up game. One-dimensional fighters have to be incredibly effective in the one skill they are great at in order to make it to the big leagues, and even in those instances — those fighters begin improving those weak points when they’ve tasted defeat. Guram has yet to taste defeat, but it may take exactly that for him to realize that his stand-up skills and takedown defense need major work.

Environment: Gugenishvili trains out of MakFight in Makariv, Kiev, Ukraine. He trains mostly in Sambo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and wrestling.

Bantamweight Featherweight Lightweight
#1 – Eduardo Dantas
#2 – Farkhad Sharipov
#3 – Jimmie Rivera
#4 – Yusup Saadulaev
#5 – John Lineker
#6 – Adrian Wooley
#7 – Rodrigo Lima
#8 – Tommy Vargas
#9 – Mike Easton
#10 – Denis Puric
#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 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
#1 – Guram Gugenishvili
#2 – Shamil Abdurahimov
#3 – Tony Johnson Jr.
#4 – Gerald Turek
#5 – Stipe Miocic
#6 – Jared Rosholt
#7 – Vitaly Minakov
#8 – Konstantin Gluhov
#9 – Nick Gaston
#10 – Mark Potter

Potential: I suppose the question that will be asked the most by readers is why we are picking Gugenishvili as our #1 pick when he has such a glaring weakness in his stand-up game. The answer: Potential. He’s a 6’5″, 250 lb. fighter who is only 24 years old and has won eleven consecutive fights. He has an incredible takedown game, a relentless work rate from the top, brutal ground and pound, and the classic Soviet intangible of survivability. All of those skills combined make him one of the most dangerous ground fighters in the division.

On the downside, Guram’s stand-up game is one of the worst on the countdown. Understandably, some fans will see this as detrimental to his placement atop our list. Our placement, however, is weighed heavily on what we think he can become with the right training. M-1 needs to leverage some of the connections they’ve made in Holland to get him in the kickboxing gym. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for Gugenishvili to seek out some of the great wrestlers in his homeland of Georgia to continue progressing his takedown game. If he can fill out his frame a bit more, there is no reason why Guram can’t become an absolute monster in the weight class.


Guram Gugenishvili vs Kenny Garner

Guram Gugenishvili vs. Alexander Romaschenko

Guram Gugenishvili vs Dymytriy Poberezhec

Guram Gugenishvili vs. Valery Scherbakov

Guram Gugenishvili vs. Mikhail Rutskiv

Guram Gugenishvili vs. Evgeni Babich

Guram Gugenishvili vs. Dmitry Poberezhets

Guram Gugenishvili vs. Maxim Grishin

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Leland Roling
Leland Roling

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