Weekly MMA Prospect Report: Blagoi Ivanov, Logan Storley, and More
This week sees a stacked calendar full of events. Check out MMA Wizzard’s prospect report on who to look out for this week.
Tachi PF 33, Thursday. (California)
-HW, Chris Lewis(2-0): Only 2-0 as a pro, Lewis had a successful amateur career going 6-0. Lewis has a background in wrestling being a high school wrestler. Lewis wrestling background shows in his fights, he is able to explode forward with the double leg or just using his strength and throwing his opponents to the mat. Also, Lewis counter wrestling is very good. On top, Lewis will stay there he is very heavy, very powerful with his ground and pound and has also shown a chain of submission grabbing the neck or the arm for a kimura/key lock. Lewis is still a green fighter but he is on the right path to be a relevant fighter. He fights Mitchell Sipe (2-0) who maybe is another good prospect but footage lacks.
-HW, Mohammed Usman(2-0): Usman is only 2-0 as a pro but he has dominated both his fights getting easy takedowns and using his natural strength winning both by kimura. Usman is very athletic, he played defensive lineman for Arizona and was and was the number 1 high school wrestler in 2008. He is actually the younger brother of UFC star Kamaru Usman. He fights Van Palacio (4-2) who is coming off a loss.
PFL, Thursday (Washington D.C.)
Heavyweight – Blagoi Ivanov (15-1)
The only blemish on Ivanov’s record is to former Bellator Heavyweight champion and current #7 ranked UFC fighter, Alexander Volkov. Ivanov competed in Bellator for five years before making the move to WSOF — now PFL — in 2015 where he won their Heavyweight title. Ivanov is a brilliant Heavyweight who has beat top guys throughout his career. In all honesty you could argue he’s not really considered a prospect anymore. He fights Caio Alencar (11-1) who is on a four- fight win streak, but I’m confident in Ivanov here.
Heavyweight – Daniel Gallemore (7-3)
Gallemore is a new addition to the PFL Heavyweight roster. The big Kansan is the current reigning and defending Victory FC Heavyweight champion. With a boxing background, Gallemore has good hands and packs a lot of power but he really excels with his dirty boxing in the clinch. Gallemore has a strong forward presence that tries to break his opponent and if he sees an opportunity for a guillotine he will take it. His opponent, Mike Kyle (22-15-1), is coming off of a loss, but he’s a well known veteran that has fought for just about every top promotion there is.
Bantamweight – Timur Valiev (11-2)
After losing a controversial decision to Chris Gutierrez in February of last year, Valiev got his rematch last October, this time getting the nod in the decision. Aside from competing in Freestyle Wrestling, BJJ, Grappling, and Kickboxing, Valiev is and a three-time Russian style Unifight champion, as well as a Russian Pankration Champion, European Pankration Champion, and a Dagestan/New Jersey Grappling Champion. His accolades speak for themselves. The Jackson/Wink product is a top prospect to watch for. He fights Josenaldo Silva (25-5) who is coming off of a loss.
GTC 1, Thursday (Russia)
Light Heavyweight – Rashid Yusupov (8-0)
Yusupov is a legitimate threat everywhere. On the feet Yusupov is very versatile. He has solid kicks, showing an adept ability to use spinning attacks. He has strong muay thai with solid knees. He uses smart boxing and is just a very efficient striker all around. Yusupov does have decent wrestling but he has better jiu-Jitsu, with solid submission skills off his back or on top. In terms of current talent and potential, Yusupov is one of the best Light Heavyweights outside of the UFC. He fights Stjepan Bekavac (19-7) who is coming off a loss.
Bellator 186, Friday (Pennsylvania)
Featherweight – Mike Trizano (5-0)
The Tiger Schulmann, Trizano, product is undefeated as a pro having already gone undefeated as an amateur, where he went 6-0. Trizano is the current Maverick MMA Lightweight champ and the Ring of Combat Featherweight champ. Now though he gets a huge opportunity under the big lights of Bellator. Trizano has done Boxing and Kickboxing, rounding out his overall game. Trizano is someone to watch for. He fights Mike Otwell (4-1) who is coming off a win, but this is a big step up for him.
Welterweight – Logan Storley (6-0)
Storley is a four-time All American wrestler, who has been dominating in his MMA career thus far. Storley makes takedowns look easy, has heavy pressure and lands big ground and pound, finishing all his fights by TKO. Storley is a great wrestler, though on the feet he hasn’t shown too much. He has a powerful right hand and does a good job throwing straight punches as he moves forward. Storley fights Matt Secor (9-4) who is coming off of a win and should be Storley’s toughest fight to date.
Middleweight – Ed Ruth (3-0)
Ruth is a very accomplished wrestler. His accolades include 2012, 2013, 2014 NCAA D1 Wrestling Champion, a 4x All-American, and a 4x Big Ten Champion. With his wrestling background and training with top camp Jackson-Wink MMA, Ruth has really developed into a promising prospect in only three fights. He has dominated in all three of those fights as well, getting the easy takedown and the mount along with controlling the back position, showing off his BJJ background. Ruth has also shown finishing ability with heavy ground and pound and even a knee in the clinch from his last bout. He fights Chris Dempsey (11-5) who is an ex-UFC fighter who is on a three-fight skid.
LFA 26, Friday (Texas)
Heavyweight – Jeff Hughes (7-1)
Hughes has had only one loss in his career, to the Contender Series’, Daniel Spohn. Hughes generally likes to keep the fight standing. He is athletic for a big man but also has good cardio, going the distance three times in his professional career. He fights Richard Odoms (13-3) who is on a two-fight win streak.
Heavyweight – Juan Adams (1-0)
Although only 1-0 as a pro, Adams also went undefeated as an amateur, going 4-0. Adams is a behemoth Heavyweight, standing at 6’5 and at 265 pounds. Adams is a pure wrestler so you know once he’s on top he’s not coming off. Adams has finished all his career fights by TKO showing his ground and pound is fight ending. He fights former Boxer, Brice Ritani-Coe (4-3) who is coming off a loss.
ONE Championship, Friday (Asia)
Strawweight – Pongsiri Mitsatit (8-0)
Pongsiri has an accomplished background in Muay Thai, where he went 72-12, including a Loi Kruh stadium championship, and since transitioning to MMA he has looked solid. Pongsiri is a quick finisher, finishing all eight of his fights in the first round. Pongsiri has shown solid takedown defense, good top position with good ground and pound and of course his stand up is really impressive given his Muay Thai background. He fights Jeremy Miado (6-1) who is coming off a loss.
EFC Worldwide 65, Saturday (South Africa)
Light Heavyweight – Stuart Austin (12-3)
Austin is the former BAMMA Heavyweight champion but now he looks to capture the EFC Light Heavyweight title. Austin has a background is Judo and he has hit tosses consistently throughout his career. On the feet he’s functional as well as he throws a lot of volume and is relentless. On the mat with his ground and pound is where he is best, though. He fights Dalcha Lungiambula (7-1).
Light Heavyweight – Dalcha Lungiambula (7-1)
Lungiambula may be 32 but he is young in terms of fight mileage, and he’s the current EFC Light Heavyweight champion. Lungiambula is an accomplished Judoka himself and is all explosive power. His strikes come in huge bursts of energy, lunging forward with bombs, and his takedowns are the same- in a hard straight line, but so strong and powerful he gets the fight to the mat. Lungiambula has knockout power but he wants to be on the mat where he has nasty ground and pound and a pretty good submission game. He fights Stuart Austin (12-3).
Featherweight – Boyd Allen (14-3)
Allen’s ground game is super savvy, his trip takedowns are excellent and when he is on the mat being on top or bottom he is very slick with his submissions. Being very tall really helps him on the mat and also with his striking. Allen’s defense is resolute as he generally keeps his hands up, and he has some good leg kicks and an accurate jab but is still learning on the feet. He fights Callum Murrie (3-0).
Featherweight – Calum Murrie (3-0)
Murrie is mainly a grappler and a submission artist. In his career Mirror has hit a triangle, a flying triangle, keylock, d’arce choke, and a brabo choke. I haven’t got to see too much of Murrie but he is fun to watch on the mat,and on the feet he seems to have some decent kickboxing but looks better once inside where he can get the takedown. He fights Boyd Allen (14-3)
*Also watch for an undefeated Flyweight(3-0) Bokang Masunyane, the Fight Fit Militia product has some hype behind him.
Wieczor Walk R8 2, Saturday (Poland)
Lightweight – Sebastian Kotwica (10-2)
Kotwica is very dangerous everywhere. On the feet he has an impressive head kick knockout and is a heavy handed striker. Kotwica also has solid wrestling and the ground and pound he throws is great, where he employs a relentless pace, especially with elbows. Kotwica is on a six-fight win streak with four finishes, all by knockout and all in the first round. He fights Elison Goncalves (7-3) who is coming off of a loss.
Raged UK 7, Saturday (UK)
Light Heavyweight – Kent Kauppinen (9-2)
An impressive Light Heavyweight that has flown under the radar. Kauppinen has a good record and is on a five-fight win streak. Kauppinen has a 100% finish rate and with a background in boxing, this guy is very dangerous on the feet. Kauppinen has power in everything he throws. From the outside he has fight ending leg kicks and once the distance is closed he has the power to put you out with one punch. He fights top UK journeyman Shaun Lomas (22-71) who is on a six-fight skid.
Aspera FC, Saturday (Brazil)
Featherweight – Mike Grundy (10-1)
Grundy is a former England freestyle wrestling champion and man, is his wrestling good. Grundy has transitioned that wrestling acumen effortlessly. Grundy can boast having some of the best wrestling in MMA outside of the big leagues as his explosiveness, timing, and strength is unreal. I would consider Grundy a side control expert. He gets into side control easily, he is perfect at keeping that position and all of his submissions mainly has come from side control, where he uses anaconda chokes and arm triangles. Grundy hasn’t really fought on the feet, but with his wrestling he doesn’t have to ever. He fights Fernando Bruno (16-4) who is an ex-UFC fighter who is coming off a win since his departure.
Bantamweight – Gustavo Erak (15-3)
On the feet, Erak’s hands aren’t great but he has outstanding kickboxing, going high and low and mixing it well when coming in. Erak does have good wrestling as well with solid ground and pound, where he’s very active and always raining down punches. I haven’t got to see much of him but from what I’ve seen I like. He fights Pedro Henrique (6-3) who is on a three-fight win streak.
Bantamweight – Luis Rafael (32-1)
The record of Rafael is super impressive, consisting of 33 total fights with only one loss, which could be regarded as a fluke. Rafael has decent stand-up, he is athletic and explosive but everything is set up to get on the inside and get the takedown. With good wrestling, Rafael has an excellent ground game with a huge submission base, including 19 submissions. On top or bottom, Rafael is very dangerous, especially at taking the back as he is so flexible and able to put his opponents in a pretzel. He fights Leonardo Goncalves (7-3) who is coming off a loss.
Proelium MMA 2, Saturday (South Carolina)
Flyweight – Jared Scoggins (7-1)
Jared is the younger brother of UFC fighter, Justin Scoggins. Jared has similarities as well as he has a background in karate, he is light on his feet and throws a lot of kicks at range well. I’m more impressed with Jared’s wrestling, though. He changes levels well and is near perfect on his takedowns and on the mat he moves well on top and throws a lot of ground and pound. Scoggins a promising fighter. He fights Varon Webb (9-3) who is coming off a win.
Global Knockout 11, Saturday (California)
Featherweight – Tyler Diamond (8-0)
Tyler is a solid wrestler and he’s very strong, being able to slam his opponents to the mat with relative ease. On top, Diamond has very effective ground and pound and solid top control, being a perfect position grappler. On the feet, Diamond has the speed and power but everything he does is to set up the takedown. For a better description of Diamond, read my prospect of the week piece on him
He fights Emilio Chavez (13-9) who is coming off a win.
Featherweight – Sam Toomer (11-1)
Toomer’s only loss is to former UFC fighter, Justin Lawrence. Toomer is very technical and knows how to use his reach from a distance. He uses long straight punches but loves to stay tricky, throwing from different angles. Toomer still has room to develop but he is only getting better. He fights Julian Erosa (19-5) who is a former UFC fighter who is coming off a loss.
Welterweight – Sinjen Smith (3-0)
Undefeated as a pro, Smith also went undefeated as an amateur going 4-0 and capturing a regional title. In August of this year, Sinjen made his come back after just over a three year lay off and would still get the finish in the first round. Sinjen is dynamic on the feet, he has a solid karate base with excellent kickboxing and movement. Smith is still learning but I really like his future. He fights Aaron Hamilton (1-3) who is coming off a loss.
*Also watch for a BW battle as two promising prospects in Nohelin Hernandez and Christian Giovanni.