Weekly MMA Prospect Report: Juan Archuleta, Ariane Lipski, and More!
Brave 10, Friday. (3/2) – Jordan
Featherweight, Elias Boudegzdame (14-4)
“Smile” is improving each fight, on the feet he shows athleticism going for flying knees and jumping kicks he isn’t the most technical but he is still a threat. Boudegzdame’s ground game is outstanding with great BJJ finishing 12 of his 14 wins by submission proving he is high-level on the mat. He fights Jakub Kowalewicz (9-3) who is on a three-fight win streak and a good test for Elias.
Lightweight, Abdul-Kareem Al-Selwady (8-1)
Al-Selwady is only 22-years-old and is really getting better and better each fight. He made the move up to Lightweight from Featherweight in his last fight 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 in his last fight with his striking where he was really quick on the release along with showing accuracy and power. He fights Charlie Leary (14-8-1) who is coming off a win but is very flawed.
Bantamweight, Felipe Efrain (12-2)
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 going undefeated in the weight class at 3-0. Efrain is very technical on his feet with his boxing and watching him fight you will notice his body work 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 Frans Mlambo (4-2) who is on a two-fight win streak but Efrain should be too much.
Middleweight, Chad Hanekom (4-0)
Hanekom is a product out of Fight Fit Militia and Team Alpha Male and is a native out of South Africa. Hanekom is a pure athlete as he only has four professional fights but also has a background in rugby. He is well rounded as he may be a better wrestler and on top, he has some slick jiu-jitsu and a submission threat with three of his four wins by submission. Hankekom hasn’t shown much on the feet yet but is athletic and has shown power with a knockout in his career. He fights Ikram Aliskerov (4-0).
Middleweight, Ikram Aliskerov (4-0)
Aliskerov is a two-time world combat sambo champion out of Makhachkala, Russia. Of what I’ve seen from Aliskerov is with the wrestling background he likes to stand and trade with his opponents. He has a good jab he throws along with some impressive accuracy and timing on both his strikes and level changes. A lot is still unknown about him but with the power, speed, and accuracy he shows on the feel while being an accomplished wrestler I like his future at only 25-years-old. He fights Chad Hanekom (4-0).
-Flyweight, Abdul Hussein (4-0)
Hussein won the 2016 IMMAF world championship gold medal in the bantamweight division. Hussein recently moved down to flyweight where he is 2-0. He is well rounded being both dangerous on the feet and off the mat. I will say on the feet he will need to tuck his chin better and keep his hands up higher. He really picks his shots on the feet being very conservative with his energy but has good accuracy with everything he throws where he mixed it up well. Hussein is a decent wrestler but the work on the mat is better where he has good jiu-jitsu and some brutal elbows on his ground and pound. He fights Nawras Abzakh (6-1) who is coming off a loss.
LFA 34, Friday. (3/2). – Minnesota
Lightweight, Robert Watley (9-1)
After losing his first professional bout Watley gone on to win his next 9, in that span Watley won the Shogun, XCC, and the LFA Lightweight championship. Watley is a very dominant fighter who is very well rounded, he is a good striker and has exceptional wrestling. Watley is very well conditioned as he can go 5 round no problem and he also has solid TDD and them are the little things you really look for in a fighter as Watley is the type of fighter you look for as he is one of the best lightweight prospects currently. He fights Brandon Jenkins (11-5) who is coming off a win but Watley has already beat better fighters.
Lightweight, Nick Ammerman (4-0)
Now Ammerman still has a lot to show with only four fights, lack of footage, and the level of competition he’s fought. He was hard to ignore cause of the power he holds in his hands. Ammerman does need to work on throwing more than one strike as he would be instantly better. With a lot unknown, Nick has good counter striking and some very good body work as he holds tons of power in his hands. His wrestling, takedown defense, cardio, and chin is still a question but I have a good feeling about him. He fights Bobby Lee (7-1) who is coming off a win and will be a big test for Nick.
Middleweight, Alton Cunningham (4-0)
A very talented fighter and a pure athlete, Alton has finished off all seven of his amateur wins and all of his pro fights. He has a solid top game that he’s used to knock his opponents out cold with his ground and pound, but he usually tends to stay on the feet, where he is a good boxer with the stopping power to put his opponents stiff. Cunningham also has very good kickboxing, even holding a head kick knockout. I’m really excited for the future of this 24-year-old, but he does need some work on his takedown defense. He fights Wayman Carter (7-7) who is on a three-fight skid. Check out my interview I done with Alton.
*Also watch for heavyweight prospect Calyn Hull who is 2-0 and trains with Cunningham.
Bellator 195, Friday. (3/2) – Oklahoma
Featherweight, Juan Archuleta (17-1):
The four-division King of the Cage champion has taken on all comers at 135, 145, 155, and 160 during his regional career. Archuleta is a wrestler first who has yet to find a foe who can stuff all of his takedowns. Archuleta times his offensive wrestling well and he is very strong on top, and he moves well and constantly throws ground and pound in any position. I haven’t seen much of his striking yet so I won’t know what it looks like until he can’t get the takedown, but it hasn’t gotten to that yet in the regionals. He fights William Joplin (17-14) who is on a two-fight skid. Check out this exclusive interview with Archuleta with MMA Today’s Michael Fiedel.
Middleweight, Kevin Holland (11-3)
Holland is a solid fighter that has lost to only good competition in Ramil Mustapayev, Rafael Lovato Jr, and Curtis Millender, but has beat some good competition in Grady Hurley and UFC fighter Geoffrey Neal. Holland recently made the move up to 185 where he looks stronger, faster, and better conditioned. He has a background in muay thai which pays compliment to his explosiveness on the feet. He fights Teagan Dooley (6-2) who is a good test as for both fighters.
Featherweight, Cris Williams (4-0)
Although still green in his career, Williams has yet to taste defeat in his career going undefeated as an amateur at 7-0. Williams doesn’t have much to offer on the feet but does on the mat with a total of nine submission wins in his career. The wrestling could use some work and the takedown defense as well but no matter what he’s comfortable on the mat. With good jiu-jitsu, he’s dangers from all areas on the mat with different types of submissions. Williams has room to grow but seems like a star in the making. He’s fighting Daniel Carey (4-2) who is coming off a win but isn’t too good. Check out this interview with MMA Today’s Doug Geller
KSW 42, Saturday. (3/3) – Poland
Flyweight, Ariane Lipski (10-3)
Lipski is a kickboxer and diverse striker. Her kickboxing is solid as she can throw rapidly to the head and to the legs. Lipski’s striking is lethal. She has more power in her hands than a lot of men it seems as she’s proven to own the one-hit knockout power and can swarm with punches. The only problem I had with her in the past was her takedown defense but she has improved that a lot. Lipski has finished eight of her fights, six by KO/TKO and two by submission, and still in only 24. Also, don’t forget she is the KSW champion. She fights Silvana Gomez Juarez (6-1).
Flyweight, Silvana Gomez Juarez (6-1)
Gomez has some flaws in terms of being more technical as well the takedown defense. With poor takedown defense, Gomez is good off her back with two armbar wins but still won’t fare off her back in a higher level. With the technique not there Gomez is at best on the feet. Gomes brings a lot of power in her hands where if she connects with her overhand right she will change the course of the fight. At times you will see her dip her head and land combinations to the head and body so she is capable to be even better. She fights Ariane Lipski (10-3).
Cage Survivor 11, Saturday. (3/3)
Flyweight, Bernando Sopai (5-0)
This Albanian native and at only 17-years-old is very impressive. Sopai is also making his flyweight debut after competition at bantamweight his whole career. Bernando is very fast and has shown power in his hands but is a better wrestler. Sopai is very athletic and really strong being able to slam his opponents to the mat. On the mat, he has some decent ground and pound and some solid jiu-jitsu and really thrives in scrambles. A lot is still to proven from the young kid being so young in his career and not fighting the best of competition. He fights Konstantinos Charisis (1-1) who is coming off a loss.
Alliance MMA, Saturday. (3/3) – Ohio
Lightweight, Devonte Smith (6-1)
I will go on record and say Smith is most definitely a future UFC fighter and a future bonus winner. I haven’t seen someone with so much knockout power in a long time on the regional scene. Smith is a knockout artist with everything he throws having lights out written all over it with kicks, knees, punches and ground and pound. Speaking of his ground and pound, it is just lethal with so much power knocking his opponents dead. Smith isn’t just power he is very quick, he’s a good kickboxing, he cuts angles good, and he throws good combinations. Serious prospect here. He fights Justin Edwards (9-5) who is coming off a loss on TUF and a former UFC fighter so a win here is huge for Smith.
Flyweight, Jordan Espinosa (11-5)
Bouncing back between flyweight and bantamweight through his career, Espinosa seems he is comfortable at 125 where he is undefeated in the division (4-0). He was last seen on the Dana White’s Contender Series last summer when he impressed with a D’Arce choke against Nick Urso in the first but didn’t receive a contract. Espinosa is mainly a wrestler with a strong submission attack as he holds seven submission wins. He still has some holes in his overall skill-set but seems like a much better at flyweight. He fights CJ Hamilton (12-5) who is coming off a win and may be favored to win this.