UFC on ESPN 11 this weekend (Sat., June 20, 2020) was set to exclusively feature Octagon veterans, but Joe Solecki’s unexpected exit made room for a top Lightweight prospect. On this edition of “New Blood” — the series where I occasionally run into unexpected gems — we look at a standout wrestler with elite submission skills who could be a real problem at 155 pounds.
Weight Class: Lightweight
Record: 5-0 (5 SUB)
Notable Victories: Omar Hussein
Rohskopf enjoyed considerable success as a North Carolina State University wrestler, winning an ACC championship and earning a Top 10 national ranking from FloWrestling, before transitioning to Brazilian jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts (MMA). He has won all of his professional bouts in less than two rounds, including an anaconda choke finish in his February Titan FC debut.
He steps in for Joe Solecki, who withdrew for undisclosed reasons, on six days’ notice.
Wrestling and submissions are, unsurprisingly, the star attractions of Rohskopf’s game. His proclivity for quick finishes means there’s not much footage to work from, but he’s shown a powerful double-leg and the ability to snatch up a front headlock at the drop of a hat. Once on the mat, he passes guard extremely well, is very adept at latching onto the back for the rear-naked choke and boasts a dangerous front choke series.
Plus, if he does end up on his back from a missed submission attempt or other bit of misfortune, he’s more than capable of standing up in a hurry.
His stand up seems to be developing in an interesting direction. Against Team Alpha Male prospect Omar Hussein — who still hasn’t lost to anyone besides Rohskopf — he took a fairly conventional stance and floored Hussein with the classic wrestler overhand right in the opening seconds. In his most recent fight, he took a more side-on, karate-esque stance reminiscent of Stephen Thompson or, if you’re feeling pessimistic, Justin Scoggins. He fired jabs and straights from a low-hands stance, tried some fancy kicks, did the “dart” right hand that Eddie Alvarez famously relies on, and did terrible things to Paulo Silva’s neck the second he leaned forward.
With an excellent background, a 6’1” frame and quality training at Xtreme Couture, Rohskopf is absolutely one of the top prospects to join the organization so far this year. It’s just a matter of getting more experience at this point.
Opponent: Rohskopf has what looks like a favorable match up against Austin Hubbard. “Thud” is highly experienced and well-rounded, but fell short against other grappling specialists in Davi Ramos and Mark O. Madsen. Neither of them managed to finish Hubbard, though, so don’t be surprised to see Rohskopf taken the distance for the first time. And if that cardio isn’t up to snuff, he’s in trouble.
Tape: His Titan FC appearance is on Fight Pass.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC on ESPN 11 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET.
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