An Inside Look at Guram vs. Bennett, Stylistic Similarities Make This a Closer Fight Than Originally Thought

There is a reason why Guram Gugenishvili stands as the sports #1-ranked heavyweight prospect; since making his debut in July of 2009, the Georgian powerhouse has built up an impressive undefeated 11-0 record leaving a long list of opponents busted, bloodied or unconscious in his devastating wake. When this emotionless giant makes his first venture overseas on July 8th, standing opposite him under the championship spotlights at M-1 Challenge XXVI will be decorated American wrestler, Pat Bennett; the New Jersey native and Team Bombsquad fighter will need to deliver a career performance that shocks the crowd in order to stop the freight train headed directly in his path.

Fighting out of Makariv, Kiev Oblast in the Ukraine, Gugenishvili transitioned to the Aris Sport Club earlier this year, where a modern facility is set to provide him the tools to become an even more dominant force. Although in a new team, Guram remains under the instruction of Coach Ioseb Koberidze, who is dedicated to improving his pupil’s striking and jiu Jitsu.

As a key member of the Team Bombsquad contingent, Bennett’s manager, Ryan Ciotoli, has nothing but praise for the heavyweight’s performances to date. “Pat’s a three time All-American wrestler, so he possesses a great base and he’s an electrifying striker; hence the reason for his five first round wins. I definitely consider Bennett to be the top contender in the heavyweight division.”

It’s a given both coaches back up their fighters’ abilities but how do these men actually stack up against each other?

No one has been able to expose holes in Guram’s abilities to date. All but two of his victories have ended early in the first round and seven of these come by way of suffocating, anaconda-like rear naked chokes. Aspiring fighters often rely on one or two bases early in their career and Guram is no different; he has a sound freestyle wrestling base that he leverages to set up submissions but there is room to improve. Guram and his coach are actively improving his sambo and striking techniques while also working in boxing and Muay Thai sessions. He has the confidence, work ethic and determination to elevate his proficiency in all fighting styles and evolve into an even more fearsome, versatile fighter. Simply put: Gugenishvili is proving himself as the top-ranked heavyweight prospect in MMA and the global fan base has no choice other than to take notice.

As the winner of the inaugural 2010 M-1 Selection Eastern European tournament and Europe’s leading MMA promotion’s reigning heavyweight champion, what’s most notable about Guram is his agility; at 6’4” and 250lbs, he moves around the ring lightly, maintaining precise ring positioning. He’s methodical, calm and systematic in his movements.

Bennett sports an established 7-2 combined amateur and professional mixed martial arts record heavily weighted in the ‘win’ column with five first-round TKO’s. Although known for his proud wrestling pedigree, Bennett has thus proven he is a multidimensional fighter able to transition his skills to whatever is set in front of him; he’ll need his full arsenal in the face of Guram and isn’t shying away from the champ in any respect.

Bennett had recently set his wrestling on the back burner in favour of striking throughout his 2010 M-1 Selection Americas tournament run, displaying a wide array of talents. Opening up the brackets against Nick Smiley, the mild-mannered monster needed a total of 37 seconds to destroy Smiley by TKO and leave him in the ring busted and bloodied. His semi-final bout was a marathon war with Mehdi Hassan where he earned a unanimous decision victory. The run was halted in the finals however as Bennett fell victim to Kenny ‘Deuce’ Garner’s lead left hook; unable to answer Garner’s striking, Bennett notched the second loss of his career via TKO at the midway point of the opening frame.

At 6’ 3”, 240 pounds, Bennett has heavy hands that deliver unforgiving power; if he connects with his overhand right, there is a real possibility to see Guram fall. But Bennett will have to successfully defend takedown attempts and push the pace as he sees fit while being cautiously aware of Guram’s strength. These monsters matchup extremely well: both possesses strong wrestling bases, are incredibly strong and are mirror images physically, the only difference in their builds is a two-inch height advantage and 10 pounds in favour of the champ. The heavyweight title fight against Guram will likely send Bennett back to his fundamental and highly decorated base, which presents a perfect stylistic matchup; Bennett’s slightly more compact frame should enable him to defend the takedown attempts and maintain centered, balanced ring positioning.

With the American crowd in his corner on July 8th, Bennett controls his own destiny as the underdog in the biggest fight of his career, intent to dethrone the world’s #1 ranked heavyweight prospect and build some much deserved clout of his own.

As the reigning Heavyweight Champion, Guram is now climbing the next steps of his professional career where the level and calibre of competition gets tougher. Extremely successful to date and able to manhandle his opponents at will, try to envision the type of fighter that Guram will evolve into with exposure to elite-level coaching and training in striking and jiu jitsu; incorporating these elements into his already powerful arsenal will make Guram a force to be reckoned with anywhere on the planet; his first foray outside of Europe already has the hype-train rolling into the United States with Pat Bennett eagerly awaiting his arrival.

About William Smith

After watching the first Ultimate Fighting Championship I became instantly hooked. I've been a huge fan of the sport of MMA ever since. Haven't missed a UFC event & thanks to fight pass I've witnessed some of the all time greatest fighter & athletes the sport through Pride, Strikeforce, WEC, Glory, Pacrase, EliteXC.............. I resently joined & will use this site to continue to bring the latest news from the world of MMA to all our loyal followers.