Welcome to the UFC: Don Shainis

Don Shainis UFC Vegas 61
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - SEPTEMBER 30: Don Shainis poses on the scale during the UFC weigh-in at UFC APEX on September 30, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

At UFC Vegas 61, Don Shainis is making his debut on little notice against the 12th-ranked featherweight, Sodiq Yusuff. Shainis is a former Cage Titans featherweight champ and FAC lightweight champion. He has notable wins over Kevin Barberena, Cody Pfister, and Cris Lencioni. He also has a win over the well-known regional veteran Jay Ellis who was 16-104 when they fought.

Don Shainis
Standing at 5’6″
Fighting at 145 lbs (featherweight)
Fighting out of Soughton, Massachusetts, US
Training out of Citadel Martial Arts & Fitness
A pro record of 12-3
8 KO/TKOs, 2 Submission

How will Shainis fare in the UFC:

Shainis is a small featherweight at 5’6″ so closing the distance has been an issue. He’ll leap forward with wide hooks opened to being countered on the way in. Shainis does have good hands going to the body-head and has some deceptive power. He likes to mix it up with some heavy leg kicks as well. His size and ineffective footwork will limit his striking though.

Shainis is a slick grappler and someone I enjoy watching. He’s always working never being complacent in any position. Even off his back, he’s like a gnat peppering you with strikes. Also, you will see Shainis very often hit beautiful elevator sweeps off his back really becoming a master of that technique. Shainis is loose in positions and his takedown defense isn’t great. He’s at his best facing some adversity, gaining momentum, and taking over the fight.

Shainis is such an odd case that I don’t know what to expect from him in the UFC. His striking won’t take him far but his ground game could. I do believe he can outclass a few guys in the UFC with his aggressive ground game. I wouldn’t expect much but Shainis is no slouch and will put up a tough fight with whoever he fights.

How he matches up with Yusuff:

Shainis has a tough debut to make on short notice against Yusuff. Yusuff is able to be taken down being taken down a few times in his UFC career. There are questions if Shainis can even get close enough to try and take him down. Yusuff is far more athletic, faster, stronger, and has a massive advantage on the feet. Yusuff is a top featherweight whereas Shainis is borderline UFC level. I pick Yusuff to finish this fight catching Shainis in round one for the TKO.