10 Heavyweights the UFC should sign in 2019

10 of the top Heavyweight prospects to look out for in the UFC in 2019

Cyril “Bon Gamin” Gane

28 | 6’5″ | Vincennes, France | 2-0 | 100% Finish rate |2 KO/TKO’s | Combined opponents record- 8-1 | Best win- Adam Dyczka (7-0)

Gane definitely has the least amount of experience compared to the other guys but may just be the most dangerous. 2018 put Gane on the map when he took the TKO title from a top prospect in Adam Dyczka who was on the UFC’s radar. Gane has experience in other combat sports such as Muay Thai and KO going 10-0 in both combined while winning two titles (Muay Thia) in France the process. Dana White has to be wanting Gane badly in the UFC as he brings power and athleticism. The Frenchmen is a scary fighter with an assault of power shots to put his opponent away. He’s isn’t just a power puncher as he is very diverse with an unorthodox striking attack at times. He’s still under contract with TKO so it could be mid-year to late to see him in the UFC.

Denis  “The Russian Bogatyr” Goltsov

28 | 6’6″ |  St. Petersburg, Russia | 22-5 | 18 Finishes | 9 KO/TKO’s, 9 Submissions (3 Armbar’s, 2 Triangle’s, D’Arce Choke, Ezekiel Choke, Kimura, Guillotine) | Combined opponents record- 253-123 | Best win- Brett Rogers (16-8)

As I think Goltsov is a fighter the UFC needs I do think it’s unlikely. Goltsov was supposed to fight on the PFL tournament in 2017 but VISA issues forced him to pull out. To my understanding, he still has a contract with PFL and the plan is for him to compete in the 2019 tournament if everything goes alright. Goltsov is a 3x Combat Sambo world champion. The Russian has already beaten a number of former UFC fighters such as Paul Buentello, Mike Kyle,  James McSweeney, and Konstantin Erokhin. He’s well rounded with methodical striking as his jab a key. Goltsov is also a big submission threat who uses his length very well and is dangerous every second of the fight. I would like to see him fight in the UFC but either way, this guy deserves to fight against fellow top competition.

Alexander Romanov

28 | 6’0″ | Comrat, Moldova | 10-0 | 100% Finish rate | 4 KO/TKO’s, 6 Submissions (2 Rear-naked chokes, 2 Neck Crank’s, Ezekiel Choke, Forearm Choke) | Combined opponents record- 63-56-1 |  Best win- Virgil Zwicker (16-7-1)

The Moldovan Romanov is a big dude who weighs around the max weight at 265 lbs for the heavyweight division. Romanov relies a lot on his weight advantage against his opponents in terms of controlling the pace. Romanov has a background in Sumo as he was the 2016 Champion of Romania. Romanov is still improving and has some upside at only 27 years old. On the feet, Romanov is still green as he likes to throw some high kicks and he seems to be improving a little in that area. The wrestling is solid when he gets the distance closed Romanov is super strong and in a few fights has had some pretty awesome WWE-like slams. In top position is where Romanov does the most damage as he is a heavy guy and when he gets in the mount which he usually does he’s not coming off and the ground and pound he throws is his best weapon. Romanov I think would do very well in the UFC right now and he still has yet to reach his potential.

Sergey “Polar Bear” Spivak

23 | 6’3″ | Ukraine| 9-0 | 100% Finish rate | 4 KO/TKO’s, 5 Submissions (2 Armbar’s, Rear-naked chokes, Neck Crank, Kimura) | Combined opponents record- 356-123 |  Best win- Tony Lopez (61-28)

Spivak is a promising 23-year-old out of Ukraine who is still green but with a few more fights I would like to see him sign with the UFC toward the end of the year. “Polar Bear” is a strong physical guy who will bully his way into the clinch. Primarily, Spivak is a fighter who wants to get the takedown. He’s shown the ability to get single legs but is really effective with his outside trip. For a bigger guy, Spivak moved well on the mat improving to better positions and can attack with a variety of submissions. The ground and pound would be his best weapon where the Ukraine native actively rains down on his foes. On the feet, he does struggle at range as he thrives more in the clinch where he can control the posture and unload with short shots including knees.

Amir Aliakbari

31 | 6’4″ | Phuket, Thailand | 9-1 | 6 Finishes | 6 KO/TKO’s | Combined opponents record- 122-50 |  Best win- Daniel Omielańczuk (20-8)

Aliakbari has only been fighting for four years but has still put together a great record over some solid wins. Amir has beaten UFC veterans in Heath Herring and Daniel Omielanczuk while beating other notable guys like Tyler East, Valentin Moldavsky, Geronimo Dos Santos, and Denis Smoldarev. His sole loss is to MMA legend Mikro Cro Cop. Aliakbari has a background as a Greco-Roman wrestler who has a gold medal and a two-time world champion. The Iranian native is a primary wrestler in his MMA career throwing foes around with ease. He has been so wrestling heavy he has gassed with the amount of energy he brings. He is a monster on top with big ground and pound and control. He started his MMA career in RIZIN and now with ACA. I’m thinking his contract will come to an end before years end and if so UFC should ink him.

Evgeny Goncharov

32 | 6’2″ | Novocherkassk, Russia | 13-2 | 7 Finishes | 5 KO/TKO’s, 2 Submissions (Rear-naked Choke, Guillotine) | Combined opponents record- 79-59 |  Best win- Zelimkhan Umiev (11-1)

Goncharov is a good prospect that really impressed me when he beat Zelimkhan Umiev last June as Umiev is a guy I had last year on this list. Goncharov is another solid heavyweight prospect out of Russia who is on a big 9-fight win streak and winning the WFCA title late last year. On the feet, he does have some power but on the mat is where he wants to be. Goncharov is an excellent wrestler who will get the body lock and get the huge power takedowns showing how strong he is. On top, he has some slick grappling for a big guy but his ground and pound is his best aspect where he throws at a high rate and can do that all fight. He is now signed with ACA since WFCA and ACB merged but his contract is unknown for the most part.

Roggers “The Tiger” Souza

29 | 6’4″ | Patos de Minas, Minas Gerais, Brazil | 8-0 | 100% Finish rate | 7 KO/TKO’s, 1 Submission (Guillotine) | Combined opponents record- 732-18 |  Best win- Vladimir Dayneko (9-3)

Brazil has many talented prospects ready to make the jump to the UFC but in the Heavyweight division, the talent is shallow as Souza stands out among the few. “The Tiger” hasn’t really fought good competition as I would like to see someone like LFA who has been signing Brazilians as of late pick Souza up. Souza is still growing but his progress is impressive getting better with each fight. He’s dangerous on the feet as the big man is athletic and powerful with good knees and kicks to add to his knockout power in his hands. Souza has been taken down which may be a problem in the future but has shown solid jiu-jitsu and defense. I believe he is at his best when on top where his ground and pound is nasty. I think Souza needs more time but the UFC goes to UFC many times every year and Souza should be on their radar for sure.

Dontale “Kong” Mayes

26 | 6’6″ | Jeffersonville, Indiana | 6-2 | 4 Finishes | 4 KO/TKO’s | Combined opponents record- 24-16 |  Best win- Mitchell Sipe (4-0)

Mayes had two huge chances to get into the UFC both on the Contender Series. Summer of 2017 Mayes lost to Allen Crowder in a bout where he didn’t look himself. Last years Mayes got another chance on the Contender Series and beat Mitchell Sipe. As he looked very good he was still not awarded a contract by Dana.  Mayes wants to keep the fight standing as he is a big threat with his knockout power. “Kong” is a mobile fighter using a lot of footwork and throwing flashy kicks with impressive dexterity in his kickboxing. Mayes is still very young and improving a lot so I have no doubt we see him in the UFC in 2019.

Shamil Abasov

31 | 6’0″ | Dagestan, Russia | 5-0 | 2 Finishes | 2 KO/TKO’s | Combined opponents record- 64-88 |  Best win- Charles Andrade (34-39)

Abasov is still very unknown at the time but I’m confident he’s good enough right now to do well in the UFC. Shamil trains with a solid camp out of Russia, Eagles MMA who he trains with Movlid Khaibulaev, Akhmet Aliev, and more. Shamil has a background in kickboxing being a world champion. In only five fights, he’s fought Yuri Gobenko and Charles Andrade that have a combined over 130 fights which is a good start for someone to start their career. Abasov has showcased his kickboxing skills throwing damaging leg kicks and even has a head kick knockout. He has also shown solid wrestling with heavy top position. He’s is definitely someone to watch for.

Shelton “The Gravedigger” Graves

33 | 6’2″ |  Baltimore, Maryland | 9-3 | 6 Finishes | 6 KO/TKO’s | Combined opponents record- 68-40 |  Best win- Azunna Anyanwu (4-1)

Graves is a bit old but in the heavyweight division, you got to dig deep and not consider age as much as you would in other weight classes. Graves fought on the first season of the Contender Series and as it was a lackluster fight he did get the finish in round 3 against Everett Sims but still didn’t get the contract. Since that bout, Graves won two more fights and is now on a 7-fight win streak. Graves may not be the most intriguing fighter to watch but he has boosted some solid wins in his career including winning the Ring of Combat title. Graves is a grinder who will put his opponents against the fence and work takedowns. As he doesn’t have much offensive output he has superior cardio.

My 2018 predictions:
Sergey Pavlovich
Amir Aliakbari
Ivan Shtyrkov
Denis Goltsov
Juan Adams
Shawn Teed
Sergei Spivac
Zelimkhan Umiev

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