Elite grappler and MMA prospect Robert Drysdale at 4-0 still has time to be a star in the cage
July 16, 2012
What does it look like when a world class grappler takes on a MMA journeyman? Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Robert Drysdale (4-0) continued his flirtation with cage fighting in a brief one round fight with Texan Isaac Villanueva (7-7). The Drysdale-Villanueva light heavyweight bout was the co-main event of Texas promotion Legacy Fighting Championship's 12th event.
Drysdale's grappling skill set has had MMA talent scouts drooling with anticipation since the Las Vegas resident was rumored for season 10 of the Ultimate Fighter. Medical issues prevented Drysdale from joining the cast but the former ADCC World Champion would make his pro MMA debut in 2010 and has competed sporadically ever since.
The jaw dropping ground game of the 30 year old Drysdale was on full display versus an overmatched Villanueva. Drysdale opened the fight with a single leg takedown when both men hit the center of the cage. 89 seconds after the fight hit the floor Drysdale had his hand raised.
On the ground Drysdale quickly took Villanueva's back and threatened the Houston native with a choke attempt. With one submission blocked Drysdale latched on to Villanueva's arm and scored the tap out win shortly thereafter. Since turning pro in July 2010 Drysdale has gotten submission wins out all of his opponents inside of the first round.
With a name that still holds a certain cache within the grappling community Drysdale has not avoided serious contenders in his professional MMA endeavor. Drysdale's four pro opponents have a more than respectable mark of 3-19 combined. In the same vein of notable BJJ players who have come into MMA, Drysdale has similar potential to hit levels of success that rival Ronaldo Souza and Demain Maia. As a 6'3 legit light heavyweight Drysdale's grappling prowess makes him a intriguing prospect for the UFC.
In 2012 the higher weight classes in MMA (185 pounds and above) are also the thinnest in terms of divisional depth. A BJJ black belt, who has already been on the UFC radar once before, could potentially have a long and successful career in a major league MMA promotion. Now north of 30 years of age Drysdale's run to the big show may include only one or two more regional fights before he gets his crack at the lower rungs of the UFC's 205 pound division.
If Drysdale signs with the UFC before the end of 2012 or at the start of the 2013 it would fit with his current progression as a MMA prospect. At four stars Drysdale is ranked as the number eight light heavyweight prospect in MMA according to ULTMMA.com. Drysdale also has a home in the ULTMMA50, a pound for pound prospect top 50, at number 31.
Legacy Fighting Championship 12 results
Jay Hieron def. Romario Da Silva via technical submission arm triangle choke 2:04 R2
*Robert Drysdale def. Isaac Villanueva via submission armbar 1:29 R1
Noel Ligon def. Artenas Young via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
D.J. Linderman def. Dale Mitchell via TKO (punches) 3:29 R2
Alan Nascimento def. Terry Acker via submission kneebar 3:19 R3
*Prospect to watch