Bellator Lightweight Prospect Watch: Look Out for ‘Leonidas’

gor-legio-13Gor “Leonidas” Harutunian was going to be the fighter featured in my second MMA Prospect Watch article, but upon looking into what he has been doing lately, I discovered he had already signed with Bellator. It came as a surprise to me, since I was under the impression that the lightweight was still flying under the radar. The signing quickly began to make sense, though, as I discovered that Harutunian is managed by fellow Frenchman and Bellator fighter Cheick Kongo. With a 10-1-1 professional record and currently riding a six-fight undefeated streak, the French-Armenian signed with the promotion last October, but has not seen action since last April, where he defeated Alejandro Solano Rodriguez via armbar just 45 seconds into the first round. That made it back-to-back armbar submission victories for Harutunian, who defeated his previous opponent in the same fashion, but even quicker, at only 40 seconds into the fight. “Leonidas” is a very talented grappler, owning seven French freestyle wrestling championship titles. His wrestling is top-notch, and I expect many lightweights to have trouble defending his takedowns. Not only is he a great wrestler, but he is also well-versed in the submission game, owning an impressive 60% of his professional mixed martial arts career victories by way of tapout. A native of Armenia and a current citizen of France, Harutunian has solid judo skills, which gives him the option of using tosses and throws to take the fight to the mat, rather than just having traditional wrestling takedowns in his arsenal. His background in judo greatly benefits his defensive grappling, too, as he is good at stopping the takedown attempts of his opponents. Starting out as a wrestler, the former Pancrase lightweight champion has developed into a noteworthy striker. While he has yet to finish a fight via T/KO in his 12 professional fight career, Harutunian owns a powerful right hand, and has hurt opponents on the feet, before securing a submission on the mat. If he opted to use his fists rather than go for submissions in those situations, I have no doubt he would have earned some TKO stoppages. “Leonidas” is an aggressive fighter who likes to move forward and always looks for the finish, often giving up superior position to score it. He is an exciting fighter to watch, even when he is grappling, so it would come as no surprise to see his popularity rise once he makes his debut. Now under contract with the second biggest promotion in mixed martial arts, the 25 year old awaits his first assignment. No longer an unknown prospect and fighting for Bellator, Harutunian is ready to make noise in the Bellator 155 pound division.

Written by Gabe Killian

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