Quick-rising finisher, Ryan Spann, will duel reverse longtime veteran, Anthony Smith, this Saturday (Sept. 18, 2021) at UFC Vegas 37 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Up to now, Spann is wanting like a fairly nice “Contender Sequence” pickup. “Superman” was not a whole product upon his signing (and nonetheless doubtless isn’t), and he did have some losses on his document. On the similar time, Spann has clearly bodily items and a very good group behind him. That mixture is very prone to payoff finally, and to this point, Spann has lived as much as his potential.
The prospect has gained repair of six bouts contained in the Octagon, superior into the rankings, and is now prepared for his first important occasion slot. Let’s take a better have a look at his ability set:
Spann has the attain and energy to be one of many nastiest strikers within the division. Because it stands, his kickboxing continues to be coming alongside, however he’s scored all however certainly one of his knockout wins within the second half of his professional profession — a clear-cut signal of enchancment.
“Superman” is a kind of fighters who actually needs to be a technical striker, even when he’d doubtless have scored extra knockout wins over the course of his profession had he merely bit down on his mouthpiece and threw actually onerous. Each time Spann initiates, he does so with quick combos, often ones that start with the jab. He’ll stick his lengthy jab a few times, observe up with a proper hand, and perhaps add on a left hook (his greatest punch).
It’s the usual combos of elementary boxing.
What makes Spann’s boxing a bit extra fascinating is his tempo. Typically, Spann is completely happy to stalk opponents in a fairly plodding method, initiating offense at an inconsistent tempo. His bout vs. Devin Clark was a fantastic instance. Spann repeatedly backed his foe into the fence then … didn’t actually do something exterior of a lazy jab for a lot of the struggle.
When Spann does flip it on, nevertheless, be careful! Towards Clark, he lastly realized the wrestler was scared of getting hit by him and was impressed to show up the warmth. Reverse different opponents, Spann has actually thrived in prolonged combos. Evidently getting punched within the face convinces Spann to fireplace again onerous, which is commonly all he must do to get his opponent out of there shortly (GIF).
Actually, Spann appears to wish to be a counter puncher. One other behavior that helps this concept is his frequent intuition to counter kicks. Spann truly solutions kicks fairly properly, not often permitting his opponent to freely blast him within the leg. Reverse Johnny Walker, Spann scored a critical knockdown by side-stepping Walker’s entrance kick earlier than blasting him with the left hook (GIF).
Now, right here’s the place issues get fascinating … and maybe a bit odd!
Regardless of his UFC fame as a knockout artist, Spann spent the vast majority of his profession on the regional scene scoring takedowns and wrapping up submissions. He doesn’t but appear absolutely snug with this transition, and in consequence, Spann usually winds up searching for the clinch/takedown virtually instantly after successful a kickboxing change!
Offensively, Spann does good work within the clinch, sometimes in search of alternatives to alter ranges into the double leg. Curiously sufficient, I’ve additionally stumbled upon a number of clips of Spann making use of the overhook throw to nice impact — a probable product of size and athleticism.
Although Spann appears to do a very good job of combating for head place from shut quarters, it does should be talked about that his two most up-to-date losses got here reverse opponents countering his wrestling makes an attempt. Fairly frankly, Spann was kicking Walker’s ass, however when the Tennessee-native tried to alter ranges to the hips, he positioned his head on Walker’s hips. The explosive Brazilian instantly responded by dropping a flurry of hammer fists and elbows, and Spann hit the canvas.
Equally, Spann was pressuring Karl Roberson into the cage on his first “Contenders Sequence” look. Roberson framed off his face and allowed Spann’s personal ahead stress to supply a lot of the drive behind the elbows that felled him.
Briefly, Spann might have to focus a bit extra on his protection whereas in pursuit of the grappling.
Spann might solely maintain the rank of blue belt, however he’s completed 11 foes by way of tapout as a professional.
Seven of these finishes got here by way of guillotine, and the remainder have been rear bare chokes. Spann’s guillotine sport undoubtedly has some depth to it, so let’s concentrate on that. Spann’s final aim is to transition to the facility guillotine, which includes sinking one arm totally across the neck then utilizing the non-choking arm to push down and into the strangle.
On each the regional scene and contained in the Octagon, nevertheless, Spann has gotten there in a wide range of methods. Within the clip above, he stuns his opponent then instantly assaults the neck. Nevertheless, he’s additionally made nice use of the guillotine to counter takedown makes an attempt, ensuring to fall to his hip on the appropriate angle. He’ll use the specter of the common guillotine to occupy his opponent’s arms, permitting him to scramble again up or readjust his grip to the facility grip.
Based mostly on how shortly his opponents faucet or nap, Spann has this guillotine mastered.
Spann continues to be a bit tough across the edges, a fighter determining how precisely it’s he needs to carry out on the highest degree. Thankfully, Spann’s measurement and bodily items permit him these alternatives to develop whereas nonetheless combating at a really high-level, which is indicative of a really excessive total ceiling for the 30-year-old professional.
Andrew Richardson, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, is knowledgeable fighter who trains at Crew Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. Along with studying alongside world-class expertise, Andrew has scouted opponents and developed successful methods for a number of of the game’s most elite fighters.