Breaking down the LFA 102 main event: Bruno Souza vs. Elijah Johns

An image split down the middle that shows both Bruno Souza and Elijah Johns getting their arms raised. Featherweight prospects Bruno Souza (left) and Elijah Johns (right) will battle at LFA 102. Photo Credit: UFC Fight Pass

While LFA 102 is hosting a lot of prospects such as Gregory Rodrigues, Steve Jones, Al Matavao, Brandon Lewis, Nikolay Veretennikov, and AJ Cunningham, the focus-point of the show is their featherweight main event.

Brazilian prospect and Lyoto Machida prodigy Bruno Silva (8-1) and Fortis MMA product Elijah Johns (7-1) – younger brother of UFC fighter Miles Johns will lock horns in the LFA 101 main event.

Tale of the Tape

Bruno Silva (8-1)
Age: 25 years old
Height: 5’7″
Fighting out of: Los Angeles, California, US but born in Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
Gym: Machida Academy
Karate World Champion/National and South American Champion
Combined Record of Opposition: 40-19

Elijah Johns (7-1)
Age: 25 years old
Height: 5’9″
Fighting out of: Dallas, Texas, US
Gym: Fortis MMA
Combined Record of Opposition: 23-28

Pros and Cons

Bruno Souza

Pros

  • Excellent footwork/Light on his feet
  • Fast hands
  • Nice straight punches
  • Very tricky/Hard to read
  • Uses a lot of feints
  • Throws in volume
  • Puts punches and kicks together well
  • Good counter striker
  • Continual combinations

Cons

  • Takedown defense needs work
  • Hands held low
  • Does get hit often
  • Grappling defense could be better

Elijah Johns

Pros

  • Excellent wrestling
  • Aggressive
  • Good knees in the clinch
  • Solid ground and pound
  • Strikes to close the distance very well
  • Scrambles well
  • Nice straight punches
  • A nice jab
  • Physically strong
  • Good cardio

Cons

  • Takedown defense could improve
  • Could move his head a little more

Who has the advantage?

Striking: Souza

Johns throws the long straight punches and throws with more power. However, on the feet Souza has way more qualities. Souza isn’t only a kicker, he’s a solid striker as well. Mixing in kicks and punches together in combinations is something Souza does extremely well. With credible movement, his counter striking is very much up to par. Fighting on the outside, the Brazilian has long straight very quick hands. Johns is probably more dangerous as Souza is more of a technical point-fighter. With that said, Souza is more skilled on the feet.

Speed: Johns

Output/Volume: Souza

This is a close one as both have a high output. Johns more so throws a lot to close the distance for a takedown or clinch scenario. Souza is always throwing in volume mixing it a bit of everything.  Souza’s work rate is just up one more notch.

Knockout power: Johns

Souza being the volume point fighter Johns brings more power. Johns’ punches have more fight-ending intentions. Also, in the clinch with his knees, he shows to be a heavy hitter.

Chin: Even

Kickboxing: Souza

Since Souza is a karate style fighter, his kicks are his most vital weapon, similar to how a boxer primarily uses their hands. Johns does have heavy kicks but Souza relies much more on his kickboxing than most fighters.

Footwork/Movement: Souza

Being a karate fighter, it’s important for Souza to have good movement as the stance has your hands low and chin high. His movement makes him the fighter he is today. His striking and kickboxing are so good and that’s because his footwork facilitates it. The angles he cuts off are important to his striking game as well. Johns is more of a guy that will walk guys down and explode forward.

Wrestling: Johns

By a large margin, Johns is clearly the much better wrestler. Souza isn’t a wrestler. He’s not someone that will shoot in on the legs or use body locks. He will land some trips and sweeps at times but it’s never been a weapon in his front pocket. Johns on the other hand is first and foremost a wrestler. He times and executes his shots and takedowns very well.

Grappling/Ground game: Johns

On paper, Souza has two submissions wins and Johns has none. In no way does that make Souza the better grappler by default – I’d argue that’s not the case at all. Johns may not have any submission victories, but he does attack subs and has some excellent ground and pound. In every aspect on the mat, Johns has a big advantage.

Cardio: Souza

Johns does slow slightly as a fight progresses, but he’s gone three rounds four times and his cardio has never been an issue. The advantage goes to Souza just because he gets stronger and better as the fight goes on. He’s always fresh.

Prediction:

I love this fight as it’s a battle between two young prospects with tons of potential. Both guys today could go to a bigger promotion and do very well.

The clearest path to victory is for Johns through his wrestling. The biggest knock on Souza’s career is his takedown defense. When you add that his grappling defense needs work too, it’s an extremely good spot for Johns.

For Souza to win this fight, he needs to keep Johns on the outside and pick him apart to a decision because I don’t see him having the ability to finish Johns.

If this was five rounds, I’d favor Souza. But since that’s not the case, I see Johns opposing his will. I see Johns being able to take Souza down and control Souza on the mat to a decision. The pick is Elijah Johns