Gregory Payan/Associated Press
Age: 27 Height: 5'7" Reach: 66.5"
Fight camp: Grindhouse MMA
Record: 10-5-1 (3 knockouts, 4 submissions)
Last Three Fights
Lost to Joseph Benavidez (Submission), UFC 172
Lost to Ali Bagautinov (Decision), UFC 167
Def. Louis Gaudinot (Decision), UFC 164
Takedown Average: 4.21, Takedown Accuracy: 56%, Takedown Defense: 66%
Every division has that one gatekeeper who serves as a measuring stick for everyone else's wrestling. For the UFC's flyweights, that fighter is Tim Elliott.
He has solid takedowns and a smothering top game, making him a tall order for anyone without strong grappling of his own. He regularly utilizes the single-leg takedown and the body lock from the clinch to drag his opponents to the mat, where he can smother them with his powerful top game.
This was on full display in his most recent outing against flyweight standout Joseph Benavidez, where Elliott successfully completed all three of his takedown attempts in the four-minute fight.
Few have been able to remain upright against him with ease. Once an opponent is down, he has the skills to keep him there for minutes on end. However, Elliott's clinch game is severely lacking in either striking or takedowns. Worse, his takedown defense is by no means immaculate, as other formidable wrestlers have been able to get him to the ground in the past.
These defensive deficiencies keep him from joining the sport's elite grapplers. When it comes to putting people on their backs, he's already there.
Submission Average: 1.6
Elliott has yet to submit an opponent in the UFC, but it isn't for lack of trying. He often searches for the guillotine during scrambles, using the position to control his opponent's head and to set up a pass or to secure a dominant position from the top.
He was able to put both Benavidez and Ali Bagautinov into very awkward positions, and his lanky frame, coupled with his raw physical strength, could lead to some impressive submission finishes in the future. He has the skills and physical tools to make it happen.
Unfortunately for Elliott, we aren't rating based on what might happen down the road. He remains a work in progress at this time. If he can make good on his potential, he could wind up being a legitimate submission threat. Right now, however, he's a grinder with aspirations.
Significant Strikes Landed per Minute: 4.60, Significant Strikes Absorbed per Minute: 3.06
Elliott's striking game is best described as "awkward." It's a description he embraces, and it's one that he honed early in his career while training with former UFC and WEC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (remember that guy?).
While Elliott's striking game is not quite as polished as Cruz's, the similarities are there. Elliott uses his unconventional footwork to cut angles and to set up a wide variety of strikes, keeping his opponents off balance at all times.
Unlike Cruz, an extremely disciplined fighter despite all the flash, Elliott is unafraid to throw wild spinning attacks, flying knees and even cartwheel kicks on occasion. That's not always to his advantage. He gets tagged a lot, which is a product of his wide-open, throw-anything style. While he usually dishes the punishment more than he receives it, his striking defense contains some holes that high-level opponents like John Dodson and Bagautinov have been able to exploit. Like his grappling game, Elliott's striking is very good but just not great.
Elliott's awkward style makes him impossibly difficult to prepare for, and no opponent has truly solved the puzzle thus far in his UFC career. While he has lost three times during his run with the promotion, he has never been dismantled from bell to bell, and even in his first-round submission defeat to Benavidez, Elliott found success early with his aggressive, powerful wrestling game.
To his credit, he knows that he is a wrestler more than anything else, and his “shoot first, ask questions later” style is well-suited to his skill set. When he isn't charging for a takedown or perched atop a physically weaker opponent, however, he is vulnerable.
The pieces are there for long-term success. He has a steely chin, general toughness and good cardio, all of which are must-have intangibles for anyone looking to survive against upper-level competition in the flyweight division. Elliott's aggression and relentless pace cannot be taught, and these qualities will always work in his favor. Even though the former high school wrestling champion may not win every bout, his opponent will have to dig deep and fight hard for three rounds to emerge victorious.