Legacy Fighting Championship 20, taking place this Friday night at American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas, features a historic main event, pitting an 11-year veteran of professional MMA against a younger competitor who has been a pro for barely over two years.  The catch?  Both men are world-class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu players, and both men were born in Brazil.  The biggest difference is that the elder has a lot to lose and the youngster has everything to win.

In the main event of the evening, 31-year-old Carlo Prater, a veteran of UFC, WEC, MFC, LFC and a bunch of regional initialisms, will step into the ring with Carlos Diego Ferreira, a 28-year-old Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace who trains out of the great state of Texas.  Although they may be close in age, Prater has had 45 professional bouts to Ferreira’s six.  However, while Prater was defeating guys like Carlos Condit, Melvin Guillard, Spencer Fisher and Pat Healy, Ferreira was making his mark in the highly competitive world of BJJ.

Ferreira’s love of BJJ is so great that even with his seventh MMA fight of his undefeated career scheduled for May 31, the black belt will not miss the opportunity to compete in the IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Long Beach, Calif., the very next day.  Prater, who is also a BJJ black belt, has not competed in BJJ at the highest levels in quite some time, but he has been using his MMA applications of the martial art for over a decade, earning an amazing 17 wins by submission.

Legacy FC did a great job of matching up these two fighters, because regardless of their respective MMA records, both men are skilled at one-on-one combat sports and are very motivated to earn a win.

Let’s take a deeper look at the match-up. And as a reminder, this is a side-by-side comparison of how the fighters’ skills match up against one another using similar scoring to the unified rules.

Striking: Prater – 10, Ferreira – 9

The striking department will be really tough for Ferreira for nothing more than a lack of training in stand-up fighting.  He has only won by submission, and his fights have only been against submission-heavy fighters.  Prater got into boxing at a young age, then Muay Thai, which led to him training in Thailand. Prater eventually returned home to start a Muay Thai club, before returning to Thailand again.  Ferreira has no such experience.

Of Ferreira’s six previous opponents, they only combine for five total knockout wins.  Granted, Prater has only two knockout wins on his record, but he has also taken out some world-class strikers in Condit, Fisher and Guillard, and has only been knocked out once.  Prater is a hard-banging competitor with a solid chin.  He is not afraid to press forward on his feet, and he has quick shots.  Prater has that rare combination of striking, BJJ and wrestling that only the best fighters possess.

It’s no surprise that if the fight stays standing, Prater should take this one, even if by decision.  In fact, 35 percent of his wins are by decision, as are 69 percent of his losses, which is a testament to how strong that chin really is.  He can be battered on his feet, but he’s extremely tough to knock out.  Ferreira has no experience standing with a competitor like this.

Submission Grappling: Prater – 9, Ferreira – 10

What Ferreira lacks in stand-up experience, he more than makes up for in his competitive BJJ history.  Ferreira moved to the United States from Brazil at the ripe young age of 18.  He had already earned his black belt.  Prater may also have a black belt, but they are not even on the same level when it comes to submission grappling.  In fact, Prater’s well-roundedness may actually put him at a bit of a disadvantage on the ground.

Prater trains MMA-specific BJJ, and has for a decade.  Ferreira, on the other hand, is a current, traditional BJJ competitor at a very high level.  He has won nearly every BJJ tournament he has been in and continues to steamroll his opponents.  Each of his six MMA fights have ended with him winning by submission, and, as alluded to earlier, they were all against opponents who lean toward the BJJ side of the sport.

Not to discount Prater’s skills in the submission game, because he has way more wins by submission in MMA, but Ferreira is a current competitor in BJJ as a standalone sport.  Much in the same way nobody expects Olympic wrestler Sara McMann to out hip-toss Olympic judoka Ronda Rousey, nobody should expect Prater to beat Ferreira on the ground, striking aside.

Wrestling: Prater – 10, Ferreira – 9

BJJ black belt and 17 submissions or not, Prater may be at a disadvantage in the pure submission grappling game. But in wrestling, the veteran has a huge advantage.  In addition to his BJJ black belt, Prater did some wrestling in high school, and between his Muay Thai training trips in Thailand, the native Brazilian also wrestled.  After he returned from Thailand, he trained at Paradigm Wrestling Center in Houston, in between stints at Metro Fight Club, which is more striking oriented.

In addition to his incredible wrestling resume, Prater is a bigger guy with a four-inch height advantage.  In traditional wrestling, length hasn’t always been as important as bulk, but when a cage is incorporated into the equation, it’s a whole different ballgame.  Using the leverage of a strong, lanky frame (for a lightweight) to press the shorter Ferreira against the cage is a big advantage.  On the ground, if Prater is on top, he can use his length to mute the effectiveness of Ferreira’s ground game with long, hard striking, which is not a variable in the straight BJJ game.

Prater absolutely trumps Ferreira’s BJJ skills when he incorporates wrestling into the ground game.  Even if Ferreira’s shorter, stockier frame does end up being an advantage, there is one major variable left that cannot be ignored.

X-factor

The X-factor in this match-up is not Prater’s experience by sheer volume as much as it is his greater level of experience by versatility.

Ferreira is a one-trick pony.  If it wasn’t for facing subpar stand-up opponents thus far, his record might look a lot different.  Ferreira is very much like Demian Maia, in the sense that everyone thinks you’re unbeatable until Nate Marquardt sends you flying through the air onto your rump.  Even if the fight doesn’t end in under 20 seconds, Ferreira has bitten off a great deal more than he can chew in this fight.

Prater is a top-level MMA professional.  No matter where the fight goes, he has not only trained there, but he has been there several times before.  The combination of training and experience that the only slightly older fighter possesses will certainly have an answer for whatever the BJJ ace has to offer.

Total: Prater – 29, Ferreira – 28

Verdict: This is not a difficult fight to predict.  Whether Legacy FC felt this would be a good stepping-stone match for Ferreira or not, Prater is nobody’s stepping stone. Of course he has lost in his 45-fight career, but look at who he’s lost to. Between Marcus LeVesseur, Richard Crunkilton, Brock Larson, Reza Madadi and Carlos Condit (in their second meeting) Prater has mostly only lost to guys that are eons ahead of where Ferreira may ever be in the sport of pro MMA.

Prater may or may not finish the younger Ferreira, but should this fight go the distance, Prater will take it 30-27 across the board.

Photo: Carlo Prater (Jeff Sherwood/Sherdog)

  • Carlos

    I guess you wrong bro total opposite u don’t know Diego don’t talk

    • DK

      Right or wrong, the assessment was fair going into the fight. Nobody can predict the future, including you, especially when it’s an MMA fight. Whether or not we know the outcome ahead of time, we will continue to make our predictions. Thank you for reading our article, bro.