For those who don’t watch the UFC’s undercard fights, you don’t know what you’re missing. And for those that do, we often find that the prelims can be just as if not more entertaining bouts than those on the main card, and can provide valuable insight as to which fighters to keep an eye on in regards to potential future wave-makers in his respective weight division. “Panzer” Pascal Krauss (10-0) is one such fighter.
“Panzer”, a nickname meaning “tank” in his native German language, exemplifies exactly what Krauss has shown in his career – that he is a force to be reckoned with. The undefeated 25-year-old welterweight made his UFC debut at UFC 122 where he not only picked up his first win in the Zuffa promotion, he also earned “Fight of the Night” honors for his three-round war with fellow UFC newcomer “Scanno” Mark Scanlon (7-2). Krauss came into his UFC debut fight as the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship welterweight king toting an undefeated record with ten consecutive first- or second-round finishes, and looking to prove that he belonged in the world’s most prestigious MMA organization. Having shown a variety of skills against Scanlon and earning a fight bonus in his first effort, “Panzer” did not disappoint.
Krauss started his combat sports career at age 14, boxing amateur for five years and earning a German junior boxing title as well as second place in the International German Championships. Already armed with a solid wrestling and boxing background, Pascal started training BJJ, Judo, and MMA under the tutelage of Judo black belt Gregor Herb and less than a year later in January 2008, made the transition to professional MMA. The next year Pascal was taken under the wing of BJJ master “Gordo” Roberto Correa, training with the likes of UFC veterans Rafael Dos Anjos (15-6) and “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort (21-9). Krauss was awarded a BJJ blue belt just eight weeks into training. In 2010 Pascal furthered his education in the submission game, spending time with both Renzo and Cesar Gracie’s camps alongside former Elite XC and Strikeforce champ Jake Shields (27-6), current Strikeforce Lightweight Champion “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez (20-2), and the Diaz brothers Nate (15-7) and Nick (26-8) before landing at his current camp, Roufusport.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Roufusport is quickly becoming one of the most renowned MMA gyms in the world with former WEC lightweight champ “Showtime” Anthony Pettis (15-2) and current top contender in the UFC featherweight division “Newbreed” Erik Koch (13-1) headlining the cast of fighters that are under the expert coaching of former kickboxing star Duke Roufus. Pascal Krauss already appears to be a fairly well-rounded and intelligent fighter with seven of his wins by submission and two by TKO, so it should be interesting to see what kind of fighter he will become while at Roufusport being surrounded with young, hungry fighters that will help push the German native and elevate his game, as well as by having a coach like Roufus who takes striking to new levels.
On the May 5 UFC on FOX: Diaz vs. Miller undercard, Krauss faces his toughest opponent yet in “The Hitman” John Hathaway (15-1). With Hathaway’s sole loss coming from UFC veteran “Quicksand” Mike Pyle (22-8) by decision at UFC 120, the talented young gun looks to be a big challenge for the undefeated German. Both fighters have a well-rounded skillset and are trying to make their way up the welterweight division ladder, which will almost certainly make for an exciting fight. The match-up is set to take place at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey and will be aired live on Fuel TV before the main card kicks off on FOX. Don’t sleep on the undercard or you may miss out on some of the most exciting fights the UFC has to offer.