Weekly MMA Prospect Report: Bellator 209, Invicta FC 32, LFA 54, and More!
Each week MMA prospect expert Shawn Bitter looks at the top up and coming fighters stepping in the cage around the globe. From the tiniest shows to Bellator prelims we give you the cream of the crop.
Bellator 209, Thursday. (Israel)
Light Heavyweight, Vadim Nemkov (9-2)
Nemkov is a three-time World Combat Sambo champion, with his only two losses to top MMA prospects Jiri Prochazka and Karl Albrektsson. Nemkov is very well-rounded, has solid wrestling and sound kickboxing on the feet. Nemkov uses the jab effectively and shows heavy hands with one-punch knockout power. He is growing with each fight and at only 26 he has a great future. He fights former UFC fighter and the well-known veteran Phil Davis (19-4) a win here for Nemkov would be huge.
Featherweight, Denis Palancica (6-0)
Palancica is a very nice prospect out of Moldova who is only 22 years of age. He hasn’t fought too good of competition but he has looked apart in his six professional bouts. On the feet, Palancica is talented as he is quick and really throws a good one-two. He does a great job striking and then changing level and getting the takedowns where his wrestling is solid. He’s at his best on the mat as he thrives in the scrambles but he does a great job at transitions and getting into dominant positions. Palancica has fight-ending ground and pound as well. Overall, at 22 he has a good future. He fights Kirill Medvedovski (11-6) who is coming off a loss.
Brave CF 18, Friday. (Bahrain)
Lightweight, Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady (9-1)
Al-Selwady is only 23-years-old and is really getting better and better each fight. He made the move up to Lightweight late last year and looked better than ever. Al-Selwady is a better wrestler than anything as he closes the distance very well but it’s his strength he posses being able to elevate his opponents and slam them to the mat. As I said A-Selwady is getting better and that showed with his striking where he’s really quick on the release along with showing accuracy and power. He fights former UFC fighter Lucas Martins (20-3) who is the champ and the favorite in this matchup.
Bantamweight, Felipe Efrain (13-3)
Efrain has a lot of experience fighting some solid competition and still shockingly is only 24-years-old. Efrain decided to move up to Bantamweight from Flyweight he has looked solid ever since. Efrain is very technical on his feet with his boxing and watching him fight you will notice his bodywork is outstanding. Being the technical fighter he is, Efrain is also a risk taker as he loves to use the flying knee but is so athletic it works very well for him. The takedowns from Efrain are solid as he mainly gets them from the clinch with trips. His jiu-jitsu is solid as well. He fights Brave champ Stephen Loman (11-2) who I’m not too high on.
WFCA 54, Friday. (Russia)
Featherweight, Akhmed Shervaniev (11-0-1)
Russia is booming with top-notch prospects and the 21-year-old from Grozny is a legit talent. Shervaniev is apart of Akhmat Fight Club with the likes of many top Russian prospects. Shervaniev has four submission wins but he really wants to keep the fight on the feet and his excellent takedown defense really helps that. On the feet, you can always see him switching stances and throwing more than one strike. As he can be too patient at times he is very accurate and quick. I really like everything Shervaniev does and I think the kid has a bright future. He fights Antonio Carlos Ribeira (16-3-1) who is solid but he has holes a good fighter should exploit.
Featherweight, Anzor Abdulkhozjaev (7-1)
Anzor is still young at only 21-years old and is a very promising prospect out of the well-known camp in Russia, Akhmat Fight Club. Usually, his opponents will try to take Anzor down because of his tall build but recently he has shown some great takedown defense and good instincts going after the neck. On the feet, Anzor is a problem as he doesn’t have a lot of power but is accurate and does an excellent job mixing in kicks from range. He fights Nikolay Kondratuk (10-3) who is on a 2-fight win streak but Anzor should win this.
Invicta FC 32, Friday. (Oklahoma)
Featherweight, Felicia Spencer (5-0)
Spencer has impressed in her five fights showing a well-rounded skillset. Spencer is primary a wrestler who is a good position grappler and really good at getting the back and getting dominant positions. On the feet, she is still improving but foundationally has good movement. Spencer has really good kickboxing as she is flashy but she does a great job throwing behind her punches. She fights Pam Sorenson(7-2).
Featherweight, Pam Sorenson (7-2)
A veteran of 9 fights, Sorenson has beat the likes of UFC flyweight contender Jessica-Rose Clark and the former UFC champion Nicco Montano. “Bam” has a list of accomplishments such as a BJJ Brown Belt, No-Gi 2013 and 2014 champion, and an amateur kickboxing/muay thai champion. Sorenson is a well-rounded fighter who is a better wrestler with high IQ on the mat. She fights Felicia Spencer (5-0).
Flyweight, Erin Blanchfield (2-0)
Blanchfield is very well-known in the jiu-jitsu world where she won the EBI 12 flyweight championship. Blanchfield is only 2-0 as she went 1-0 as an amateur as well but at only 19 years old she has a good future. She has shown good ability to get the fight to the mat where she can show off her legit grappling. Blanchfield is a problem on the mat where her aggressive submission attack but beautifully done transitions along with some nasty ground and pound. On the feet though she is very green where at times she seems lost if she wasn’t on the mat. She fights Kay Hansen (3-1)
Flyweight, Kay Hansen (3-1)
At only 19 years of age I really like the future of Hansen. She doesn’t have a lot to offer on the striking department but what she has is grit. Hansen from bell to bell in always pushing forward to close the distance and put you against the fence. She’s fine with controlling you against the fence but if she gets the takedown that is when she impresses. On the mat, Hansen is very strong and is always working to improve position to land ground and pound which is her best weapon. She fights Erin Blanchfield (2-0)
Bantamweight, Stephanie Geltmacher (3-0)
“Hold Fast” is a promising prospect out of Oklahoma but born in Hawaii. Geltmacher is a 4X All-American wrestler and as she don’t have much footage she looks solid of what I’ve seen. She obviously has good wrestling but its the work she does on top with her relentless ground and pound is what is so good. Overall it’s hard to get a good read on but she is for worth to watch out for. She fights Liz Tracy (5-2) who has only lost to Andrea Lee and Ashley Yoderso this is a big fight.
Ring of Combat 66, Friday. (New Jersey)
Lightweight, Sidney Outlaw (11-3)
Outlaw is always pressing forward and once he gets his hands together, he is most likely getting the fight down. He is a powerful guy and he also has very high grappling IQ as he knows when to level-change to complete the takedown. Once on the mat, he is good as he is a veteran of regional jiu-jitsu contests. He is the current Ring of Combat and Titan FC champion and has fought a very competitive fight with top UFC contender Gregor Gillespie. He’s not the most exciting but he is dominant. He fights Cameron VanCamp (11-4-1) where his takedown defense won’t hold up.
LFA 54, Friday. (California)
Flyweight, Sabina Mazo (5-0)
The bright star out of Colombia and at only 21 years old, Mazo might just be on the door of a UFC contract. Mazo has scored two nasty head kick knockouts in two of her bouts. Mazo is good at a distance with her kicks and her jab and has good footwork. Mazo has solid takedown defense and has an underrated ground game that hasn’t been shown yet. She is very technical and can mix all her weapons together perfectly and has solid cardio as well. She will defend her LFA title against Carol Yariwaki (7-2) who lacks on footage.
Bantamweight, Vincent Cachero (5-0)
Cachero is undefeated as a pro and also went 4-1 as an amateur. Cachero is a well-conditioned striker that likes to stand and let his hands go. Cachero has power but it’s his aggressive pace along with his constant output which makes him stand out. He is always throwing more than one punch and always throwing from different angles. He does have some holes in his takedown defense and cardio though so it could be an issue moving forward. He fights Joe Murphy (8-4) who is on a 3-fight skid.
Middleweight, Kailan Hill (3-0)
Hill is only 3-0 but he has also gone undefeated as an amateur 3-0. The Puerto Rico native is a very explosive fighter with a high finishing rate putting all but one of his opponents away. Hill has a powerful and very quick head kick he loves to throw. He does have a problem spamming the head kick and not setting it up enough. So far he has gotten through his fights with pure athleticism but he does have a good future. He fights Andre Walker (4-1) who Hill should put away.
One Championship, Saturday. (Indonesia)
Welterweight, Tyler McGuire (11-0)
McGuire really made an impact when he beat a very tough veteran in Luis Santos. McGuire on the feet brings a Tae Kwon Doe background but he is more of a wrestler. You will see McGuire spin often on the feet as he likes to throw with a lot of flashes mainly to maintain the pace. The American is very aggressive fighter who will push the pace the whole time. McGuire is a solid wrestler with good top control but is very light and excels in scrambles. He fights Zebaztian Kadestam (10-4) who is a test but I think McGuire is better.
M-1 Challenge 99, Saturday. (Russia)
Flyweight, Aleksander Doskalchuk (9-2)
The fighter out of Ukraine is on a current 6-fight win streak and is the defending M-1 champion. Doskalchuk is a 9X champion in pankration, 2007 karate champion, first place in the European pankration championship, winner of the world cup in pankration in 2011. On the feet, he has solid footwork and likes to stay long with his jab and is very accurate. Doskalchuk is more well versed on the mat as his top position is very strong. He fights Mikael Silander (18-6) which is a good test for both.
Light Heavyweight, Klidson Farias (13-2)
Farias is a solid BJJ guy that is very physically strong, but for a bigger guy he is really light on top and his transitions are so smooth. Farias does well on the feet, he at times lacks footwork but he is explosive and the way he strikes his way into the clinch is efficiently done. Farias has good wrestling which compliments his BJJ and overall he’s just a very good prospect. Still young at 25 so the future is bright for him. He fights Anton Vyazigin (11-2) who is coming off a draw but this is a tough fight for Farias.
Vendetta 16, Saturday. (Austria)
Featherweight, Hasan Chamzatov (5-0)
Hasan is a talented fighter all around and even though his competition hasn’t been so good he has still yet won all his fights and has finished four, all in the first round. Hasan is quick and explosive on the feet but he thrives on the mat and is excellent in scrambles. He has found himself on his back before but he has good movement off his back to create space and scramble. On the mat in top position, he moved freely and has pretty effective ground and pound. Overall someone to watch but he needs better competition. He fights Manuel Bilic (13-6) who is coming off a loss.
V3 Fights 71, Saturday. (Mississippi)
Heavyweight, Dontale Mayes (5-2)
Mayes is an excellent prospect at only 26-years-0ld and he has been really improving over the years. Mayes has struggled with takedown defense in the past but he has really tightened it up showing that in his last two bouts against good prospects. Mayes wants to keep the fight standing as he is a big threat with his knockout power. “Kong” is a moble fighter using a lot of footwork and throwing flashy kicks with impressive dexterity in his kickboxing. He fights Nkemdirim Oti (2-4) who is on a 4-fight skid.
*Also watch for lightweight, Mark Martin who is only 1-0 as a pro. He does train out of the MMA Lab and is a 4X national qualifier at Ohio State (wrestler).