Weekly MMA Prospect Report: Featuring Torres, Menifield, Nikaev + More!
ACB 80, Friday (2/16) – Russia
Lightweight, Ali Bagov (24-10)
Bagov is a well-experienced fighter at only 27 years of age with 34 combined fights. In those 24 wins, Bagov has beat guys like Heredsson Batista, Bubba Jenkins, Eduard Vartanyan, and current UFC-fighter Ramazan Emeev. Bagov is fully a grappler/wrestler, he doesn’t have much on the feet but his ability to close the distance and level-change to get the fight to the mat is quite smooth. His nickname is “the hulk” and it suits him well he is very strong he has great control when he gets ahold of his opponents. Bagov’s jiu-jitsu is slick as displayed by his 22 wins by submission. His submission threats are complimented by heavy ground-and-pound. He fights former UFC fighter, Leandro Silva (21-6-1) who is coming off a win.
Lightweight, Shamil Nikaev (8-0)
Nikaev is mainly an aggressive wrestler, often shooting for double-leg takedowns to set up powerful slams. On top, Nikaev is as heavy and as skilled as they come. He passes guard very easily and is able to get dominant positions in every fight. His stand-up isn’t bad since he can kick, has good hands, and has shown some good power. He does get wild at times as shown in his war against former UFC fighter, Christos Giagos. He fights Alexander Sarnavskiy (35-6) who is coming off a loss but the biggest challenge to date for Nikaev.
-Bantamweight, Khusein Sheikhaev (6-0)
Sheikaev doesn’t have much on the feet but did knock his latest opponent out in just 50 seconds in addition to showing decent power previously. The wrestling, on the other hand, is solid but the work he does on the mat is fantastic. His ground-and-pound is effective but the jiu-jitsu is superior where he does hold four submission wins. He fights Evgeniy Lazukov (10-4) who is on a two-fight skid.
Flyweight, Daniel Santos (7-0)
“Willycat” will make his ACB debut out of Brazil and will compete at Flyweight for only the second time in his career. Santos is a striker who has good power and speed along with some precision. Santos likes to spin, he’s quick on the release and does a great job at drawing back when the opening isn’t there. In his last fight, Santos displayed a spinning kick to the body showing he can be very dangerous with that attack. What stands out when watching Santos is his counter-striking. He waits till his opponent comes in and will fire combinations with his lightning-quick speed. He fights Dukvakha Astamirov (4-1) who is on a two-fight win streak.
Fury FC 22 (2/16) – Texas
Bantamweight, Peter Stanonik (5-2)
Stanonik is a knockout artist with all five wins going the way of KO/TKO. His one-punch power can put his opponents’ lights out. Everything he throws is with bad intentions, and the man isn’t just power, he’s a good counter-striker and mixes a variety of kicks and body shots well. Stanonik has a background in muay thai making him very fun to watch. He fights Rey Trujillo (22-20) who is riding a three-fight skid.
Titan FC 48, Friday (2/16) – Florida
Flyweight, Jose Torres (6-0)
Torres should be long past this list as he has done everything possible to get into the UFC but still yet to make the jump. Torres is defending his flyweight title but also at the same time, currently holds the bantamweight title. All six of his wins come with a combined 57-21 opponents’ record. Torres has improved a lot, his hand speed is crazy good but his accuracy is great, often hurting on his opponent with huge power in his hands. Torres’ ability to slam opponents down to the mat and maintain control is top-notch. He gets into mount easily and usually throws heavy ground-and-pound while looking for submissions. Torres also has the cardio to go the distance. He fights Alberto Orellano (6-2) who is on a two-fight win streak but is a huge underdog.
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.
Bellator 194, Friday (2/16) – Connecticut
Light Heavyweight, Vadim Nemkov (8-2)
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 fights Liam McGeary (12-2) who is coming off a win and a great test for Nemkov.
LFA 33, Friday. (12/16) – Texas
Welterweight, Jaleel Willis (8-0)
Willis is quite athletic and a top-notch wrestler. On top, he has the control, the transitions, and the ground-and-pound to excel. Willis is everything you want in a fighter, especially in terms of wrestling. On the feet, he does hold a lot of power in his hands. Willis still has some things to learn but is a bright prospect overall. He fights Kyle Stewart (8-0).
Welterweight, Kyle Stewart (8-0)
Stewart is an accomplished guy on the regional scene winning titles in the amateur scene and winning 2 titles in his pro career. Stewart was also seen last summer on the Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series where he beat Jason Jackson by TKO in round two but wasn’t awarded a UFC contract. Stewart is solid as expected from the experienced grappler that he is. He has slick jiu-jitsu, he goes for submissions but his passes and transitions are what’s best. Also on the mat, Stewart has shown huge ground-and-pound putting opponents away with it in the past. Striking-wise, he favors his right hand. He has the one-punch power and stays active. He fights Jaleel Willis (8-0).
Light Heavyweight, Alonzo Menifield (5-0)
Those may know Menifield most this past July when he fought on the Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Menifield would defeat former UFC fighter, Daniel Jolly but in the end wouldn’t get the UFC contract. Menifield though is still an athletic fighter with huge power in his hands with powerful wrestling to go along with them. He fights Brice Ritani-Coe (4-4) who is coming off a loss. For more on Menifield, check out this interview from earlier this week with MMA Today’s Max Freedman.
Strawweight, Maycee Barber (2-0)
She may be only 2-0 but really impressed in her two bouts against Itzel Esquivel and Mallory Martin. Barber has shown her ability to get the takedown and maintain control with her impressive ground game. She gets into dominant positions easily and has shown huge ground-and-pound and a nasty submission game at only 19. She does need work on her takedown-defense but is good off her back. She fights Kaila Thompson (1-1) who is coming off a loss.
WXC 71, Saturday (2/17) – Michigan
Welterweight, Troy Lamson (9-2)
At only 26, Lamson has a lot of experience with 11 pro fights and 17 amateur fights (17-0). First and foremost, Lamson is an excellent wrestler having wrestled at Michigan State University. The wrestling has translated nicely to MMA thus far. Lamson doesn’t tend to strike much but he holds power but then again, he finds it much easier to get the takedown get the back and unleash ground-and-pound. He fights Dustin Parrish (6-1) who is on a two-fight win streak.
Destiny MMA Fight Night 4, Saturday (2/17) – Hawaii
Welterweight, Jace Kaopua (4-0)
The competition Kaopua has beat is questionable with a combined record of 2-4. Despite the low-level competition, Kaopua has done what is needed and taken out all four of his opponents out with ease. Like most Hawaiians, Kaopua embraces the “just scrap” mentality and hits like a truck with all finishes by knockout via miraculous knockout power. A lot of unknowns still exist like his takedown-defense and ground game as a whole, but overall a fun fighter. He fights Justus Faaiu (2-1) who is coming off a loss.
Rise of Champions 5, Saturday (2/17) – England
Bantamweight, Jonas Magard (8-3)
Magard is still a bit green on the feet still as he does hold some power and has good movement but it’s not at a high-level. Magard though is a grappling ace with his submission game winning five via the rare Japanese Necktie. He fights Mike Ekundayo (4-0) who is a good wrestler and will serve as a good test for both fighters.