Weekly MMA Prospect Report: Ed Ruth, Chris Curtis, Jason Soares, and More
Phoenix FC 6, Thursday. (4/5) – Abu Dhabi
Middleweight, Mohammad Karaki (8-0)
Lebanon native and undefeated Karaki is a nice prospect out of the 185-pound weight class. Karaki doesn’t usually decide to stand and trade as he is an exceptional wrestler but the work on the mat is where he is best. He holds four submissions to his name but his ground and pound is very dangerous with big power. A lot is still to be shown by Karaki but he has some good potential. He fights Sallah-Eddine Dekhissi (5-2) who is on a three-fight win streak and will give a good test for Karaki.
Welterweight, Pavel Kusch (22-4)
Kusch has been around for a while but hasn’t fought at a high level since M-1 back in 2009-2010 where he went 5-1 for the promotion. The Ukraine native has 22 wins and has a miraculous 100% finish rate with wins over former UFC fighter Luiz Dutra and current UFC fighter John Phillips. As his last three wins are by KO/TKO the other 19 wins are by submissions with a variety of different submissions. He fights Hayder Hassan (6-4) who is a former UFC fighter and on a current two-fight skid.
Light-Heavyweight, Osama ElSeady (7-1)
With only one hiccup on his record to Mostafa Rashed Neda in March of 2016 by a very close split-decision loss. ElSeady would get his revenge in December of 2016 and bear Neda via TKO in round 2. ElSeady is a very good wrestler and grappler, he is very strong and he can get the takedowns with ease. What is very impressive from him is his ability to scramble very well for a big man. When on top he can stop it with ground and pound or a choke. On the feet, he isn’t much he is very sloppy and if he can’t find the takedown he will be in some trouble. He fights Sami Antar (3-0) who hasn’t fought in five years.
Welterweight, Han Seul Kim (9-3)
Kim is at the peak of his career currently on a five-fight win streak with wins over former UFC fighter Takenori Sato and current UFC fighter Frank Camacho actually finishing Frank in the first round which is hard to do. Kim is an excellent striker that will stand and trade with anyone. The South Korean fighter is first and foremost a striker and a good one at that. Kim has stopping power in his hands with a few TKO wins and a few with just one punch. The long straight punches are what really shines when watching Kim, he uses his length at 6’1″ throwing jabs and one-twos and setting up the bigger strikes. He also has some solid takedown defense and as his only weakness would be is he is a bit chinny. He fights Claudio Cesario (11-4) who Kim should beat.
Bellator 196, Friday. (4/6) – Hungary
Featherweight Adam Borics (10-0)
The kid from Hungary is still green but is a solid prospect. Borics stays on the feet at times, only throwing a shot here and there, but makes up for it with his accuracy and his great ability to counter strike. He has a background in thai boxing and karate so there’s tons of potential on the feet. On the mat, he has solid jiu-jitsu. His takedown defense isn’t where it needs to be but he is excellent at locking up the triangle with 3 of his 5 submission wins by a triangle. Overall he needs work but can develop over time to become an even better fighter. He fights Teodor Nikolov (11-1) who is on a six-fight win streak. He’s a wrestler so he is the opponent Borics likes.
Middleweight, Ed Ruth (4-0)
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 four fights. He has dominated in all four 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 the wrestler has even scored a knockout by a punch and by a knee. He fights Ion Pascu (17-7) who is on a two-fight win streak and a good test for Ruth.
Middleweight, Norbert Novenyi (2-0)
Novenyi is only 2-0 as a pro but had some experience as well as an amateur at 3-0. Hungary native but he trains out of a top camp in the UK, London Shootfighters. Novenyi is a primary wrestler that has slick jiu-jitsu with three career submissions. He hasn’t stayed on the feet too much but has some nice footwork and a good kicking attack along with nicely cut angles showing his training with the London Shootfighters. He fights Mehmet Yueksel (2-3) who is on a two-fight skid.
CES 49, Friday. (4/6) – New England
Welterweight, Chris Curtis (17-5)
In the last four years, Curtis has two losses: one to ex-UFC vet Nah-Shon Burrell (whom he beat in 2010) and surging UFC welterweight, Belal Muhammad. Curtis is on a four-fight win streak including a title defense for the CES promotion and winning a title on the Canadian scene for the Fight Night Medicine Hat promotion. When you talk about a technical striker, Curtis fits that to a tee as his boxing is outstanding. The way he uses head movement is so good and the way he mixes in body shots in with combinations is superb. He fights Jason Norwood (18-4) who is on a three-fight win streak but Curtis is on another level.
Lightweight, Nate Andrews (12-1)
Being 33-years-old in the lightweight division, he’s not really considered a prospect to many, but Andrews’ record and his abilities can be ignored. Andrews’ best weapon is his choke as he holds seven submission wins finding the neck. Nearly all his fights include Andrews threatening the choke at some point. Andrews is able to be taken down but he has good defense off of his back and solid jiu-jitsu threatening submissions from the bottom. On the feet, Andrews has long punches he uses at range and mixing in solid kicks. Andrews even holds a head kick knockout. Overall a really fun fighter to watch with a 100% finish rate. He fights Chris Padilla (9-3) who is coming off a loss.
Welterweight, Gary Balletto (5-1)
Balletto has a background in wrestling and jiu-jitsu since a young age and a Boxing background with a 11-1 amateur record with 9 knockouts. After losing his first professional fight, Balletto has won his next five with a 100% finish rate. He has some small holes defensively as he gets hit ofer and his takedown defense could be better. Off his back he is very good at attacking the leg as he does have both his submission wins via leglock. Balletto has some impressive boxing skill with the shot selection, body work, and the constant jab as well as a lot of power behind his hands. At only 23 he has a lot of time to grow and get even better. He fights Jeremiah Wells (3-1-1) who is coming off a loss.
Titan FC 49, Friday. (4/6) – Florida
Featherweight, Jason Soares (10-0)
Soares was a competitor on season 22 of The Ultimate Fighter where he lost his entry fight to Julian Erosa. Soares is a really talented fighter with stellar skills on the mat. He has solid chokes, winning five by rear-naked-choke. He dominates on the mat, maintaining control when his opponent tries to scramble and generally living up to his status as a jiu-jitsu black belt. He fights Luis Gomez (6-1) who is the Titan FC champion and on a two-fight win streak but personally I’m not too impressed with him.
Welterweight, Rami Hamed (6-1)
The Russian-born and American Top Team-product Hamed is a nice MMA prospect but still needs some work. Hamed has grown through his career with good footwork, kickboxing, and boxing fundamentals. The flaws shown early in his career included takedown defense along with his ground game as a whole. He can be sloppy at times, especially in scrambles but has seemed to improve in his defense all around. Hamed though is a feared striker with excellent bodywork and power in his hands. He fights Jose Caceres (13-7), the younger brother of UFC’s Alex Caceres, who is on a two-fight winning streak and a tough test for Hamed.
Heavyweight, Steve Mowry (3-0)
Still green at only 3-0, this giant, standing a 6’9″, has all the tools to be a dangerous guy at Heavyweight. Training out of Combat Club the twenty-five year old Mowry has plenty of time to develop into a more complete fighter. Though he’s only 3-0 as a pro, Mowry went 7-0 as an amateur with five wins by submission. He has some things to work on like his striking which is improving, but overall he does a good job and stays long, but he throws no combinations and little output but has showed vast improvements. He has solid wrestling, being at his best once on the mat. And once there he has good jiu jitsu for a big guy. He fights Said Sowma (0-0).
Middleweight, Punahele Soriano (2-0)
Still young in his mma career as the Hawaiian native is 2-0 as a pro and an amateur but he has been running through guys. Soriano has a background in wrestling and has shown that in his mma career thus far. He has heavy hands but has wasted no time getting his fights to the mat and pounding away with very sound ground and pound beating all his opponents in round one. He fights George Frangie (2-0) who is decent but Soriano should be able to use his wrestling.
ACB 84, Saturday. (4/7) – Slovakia
Welterweight, Arbi Aguev (31-7):
Bantamweight, Trent Girdham(6-0):
Girdham is someone to watch for in the future being only 20 and endless upsides. His striking is good, he likes to throw straight-crosses feature traditional kickboxing technique. Girdham attacks all the limbs of his opponent while not telegraphing anything at all. His muay-thai may be where he excels most with knees and elbows. I haven’t got to see much of his ground game but I believe he has competed in some grappling competitions in the past. He fights Rany Saadeh (9-2) who is coming off a loss but is a massive step up for Trent.
Elite 1 MMA, Saturday. (4/7) – Canada
Middleweight, Julien Leblanc (5-0)
Leblanc is well rounded as he just needs a little polished in his footwork and he will be even much better. Leblanc likes to strike and really the key for him is the distance. He uses hight and range at 6’1″ with long kicks to the body and many jabs putting the two together very nicely. Leblanc doesn’t really shoot for takedowns but is effective in the clinch using trips. He is good in scrambles and he does have three submissions to his name. The ground and pound is good along with some smooth jiu-jitsu. He fights Christien Savoie (5-0) who is the champ and seems promising but footage lacks.