The Runner Sports

UFC’s Lando Vannata Has A Weight Issue

Lando Vannata is one of the more exciting prospects in the UFC right now. In his short but electric UFC career, “Groovy” is 1-2 with two fight of the night bonuses and one performance bonus award. His skill and heart are not in question, his weight class is the issue. Greg Jackson, Mike Winklejohn, and or the UFC need to sit down with him and develop a plan to help this young man succeed in the UFC.

The lightweight prospect has undeniable flash once he steps inside the octagon. Lando took “El Cucuy” into deep waters and almost shocked the world before getting choked out in the second round in his UFC debut. A submission that only occurred because Tony Ferguson possessed a lopsided height and reach advantage over Vannata. Groovy’s second MMA loss came to David Teymur, a solid striker that again was noticeably larger than Vannata on fight night. The young prospect’s pure talent and will took him through the first two rounds. Round three saw Vannata wilt under the size and strength of Teymur. The co-main event earned fight of the night honors and rightfully so.

Losses in the UFC happen, they almost can’t be avoided. Groovy hasn’t lost to tomato cans and has gifted fight fans with a highlight reel knockout of pitbull John Makdessi, a lightweight smaller than Vannata. This begs the question, why is Lando Vannata not fighting at featherweight? He has shown dominance on the smaller promotions at featherweight. In a top flight promotion like the UFC, where competition is high, every inch and every pound make the difference on fight night.

The UFC has a diamond in Lando Vannata, they should be polishing him up, not putting him at the end of a drill bit and grinding him into 155lb stones. The brain trust over at Jackson-Wink MMA should be cultivating and protecting their prospect. In this climate of the fight game where prospects are limited because the talent pools are broadening, Lando Vannata needs to rethink his lightweight ambitions. Vannata can go from an undersized lightweight to a contending featherweight by the end of 2017. The Groovy little engine that could is chugging down tracks that are too big for him right now. The featherweight top ten has only two fighters over 5’10” currently. This is the sandbox Lando should be playing at this stage in his career.

At just 24 years of age, Groovy has a bright future. Does the UFC really want to see him fade into obscurity because they let him fight in the wrong weight class? The UFC is in need of fighters with the power to attract viewers. Landon has shown that elusive quality in spades. Most fighters would be happy with three fight of the night bonuses in their careers, Vannata has three in three fights.

The writing is on the wall, put him in with gentlemen closer to his size and stature. He won’t have to reach that leg so high to find the chin of a featherweight. A move down in weight would also allow the wrestling aspect of his game to shine. Featherweights should be easier for him to take down, which would open up his striking capability tenfold.

The month of March has just begun, there is still time to get on the right track. Groovy should be headlining non-pay-per-view events against ranked featherweight opponents like Mirsad Bektic or Renan Barao. The young New Jersey-born fighter has made a lot of money in the UFC already. It is time to realize just what a bright future he can have in this sport. The detour has been fun, it has shown us what he is capable of. Groovy can’t get lost down the winding road of 155lbs. The road to gold for Lando Vannata leads down the featherweight highway.

Chris Grabowski

Chris Grabowski

Content Contributor at The Runner Sports
Former Division 1 athlete turned combat sports enthusiast. Combat sports can be described as human problem solving with dire physical consequences.
Chris Grabowski

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