Prospects to Watch in 2021: World-class judoka Denis Lavrentyev ready for UFC call-up

Denis Lavrentyev wins a fight in Russia. Credit: RCC.

Far Eastern Modern Pankration Federation bantamweight champion Denis Lavrentyev (10-2) should be UFC-bound in 2021.

Lavrentyev, 32, has largely competed on the Russian regional scene since turning pro in 2017. Prior to competing in MMA, he was a world-class judoka — he holds gold medal victories at the national, Pan American, and World championship level.

“I am a representative of judo, a very beautiful and spectacular sport in the Octagon,” Lavrentyev told MMA-Prospects. “We, judoists, [have] very little [representatives in] MMA, but we show bright and beautiful fights, thanks to our technique of throws it is very diverse and not similar to other styles of wrestling! The fans love it!”

Lavrentyev has parlayed his grappling experience into a stellar MMA record thus far, which includes victories over the perenially underrated DEEP champion Victor Henry (20-5), TKO champion and UFC veteran Taylor Lapilus (16-3), and Ultimate Fighter Brazil: Season 4 tournament winner Reginaldo Vieira (13-6). His quality of opposition alone shows that Lavrentyev is ready for a step up to the Octagon.

“I won most of my fights thanks to judo,” said Lavrentyev. “Judo is a very good base for MMA, [I] just need a little time to adjust and enter a new game! Thanks to Judo, you can [put on] very bright shows!”

While Lavrentyev’s bread and butter remains his judo prowess, he also sports sizable knockout power in his hands — to date, the Archangel Michael gym product has notched five KO victories.

“Fans can expect only one thing from me-unforgettable and bright fights! Constant pressure [on] my opponents, domination, and a bloody end to the fight,” promised the twelve-fight veteran.

Despite the bantamweight division being one of the UFC’s deepest and most talented divisions, the addition of Denis Lavrentyev would be a terrific one. It is rare to see a prospect so well-rounded and with such world-class judo credentials, and there are endless entertaining matchups to be had with Lavrentyev in the UFC.