B/R Prospect Watch: Joe Soto

Ken FossAnalyst IJanuary 14, 2010

About as well-rounded a prospect as you'll find, the unbelievably young Joe Soto burst onto the scene via Bellator's first-season featherweight tournament—defeating Ben Greer, Wilson Reis, and Yahir Reyes to become Bellator's Featherweight Champion.


The forgotten member of the Iowa Central Community College wrestling team (which helped produce Cain Velesquez, and Jon Jones), Soto's foray into mixed martial arts began when a local Gladiator Challenge veteran named Paul Estrada agreed to help train him in his garage.


Though his striking is still very raw, he has shown in his decimation of Yahir Reyes that when he wants to get someone to the ground he will.


From there he can either overwhelm his opponent with relentless ground-and-pound, or submit him with his emerging submissions game—which he showcased in his last fight at Tatchi Palace Fights, when he put away an over-matched Mike Christensen with a stunning Gogoplata.


While not the best at any one skill in the featherweight division, when you put his skills together, and account for continued development, he's a mortal lock for bigger things in the future.


Because Bellator has slumbered, Joe Soto's stock has stagnated. Even so, he's still arguably the top prospect at 145 pounds, and it's only a matter of time before we see this 22-year-old beating up on WEC featherweights.


For those looking for a potential foils for the incredible Jose Aldo, look no further than Soto.