Weekly MMA Prospect Report: KSW 45 Stars 3 Fighters to Watch

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.

WFCA 53, Thursday. (Russia)

Middleweight, Shamil Abdulaev (11-0)

Abdulaev trains out of an awesome camp in Krepost Fight Club. The Russian is a good solid wrestler who can chain wrestle for three rounds and on top, he has effective ground-and-pound. He showed an impressive kicking attack but on the feet, for the most part, he is a bit sluggish. He fights Salamu Abdurakhmanov (9-1) who is the champion but I’m not too high on him.

Welterweight, Abubakar Vagaev (16-2)

Vagaev at only 25-year-old has a lot of experience (18 fights) and has beaten some high-level guys around the world. The Akhmat Fight Club prodigy is very well-rounded and someone to keep your eyes on. In terms of stand up, he hits hard but it’s his counter-striking that catches the eye as he is very patient and looks for openings. Vagaev is a strong dude, he bullies against the cage and controls the posture. Vagaev times his level-changes well and will lift his opponent and put them on the mat. He has good ground-and-pound and some solid cardio as well where there really isn’t any weakness. He fights Murad Abdulaev (17-6) who he should easily beat.

Welterwight, Khusein Khaliev (18-1)

Khaliev is a fantastic, well-rounded fighter. He has 10 wins by submission but it’s his stand up that really illustrates his skill. The way he strings together his kicks, including his spinning kicks, in with his combinations is amazing. On the feet, he mainly relies on his kickboxing. He attacks every limb and has the ability to use spinning kicks but does it better than most other people. He has good wrestling but he’s not the guy to pick his opponent up and slam him to the mat. He’s very good at timing his takedowns and getting the trip takedowns. On the mat, he has excellent control and at times, he has relentless ground-and-pound. The prospect has a good submission base with 10 submissions. He fights Oton Jasse (17-3)

Welterweight, Oton Jasse (17-3)

The Brazilian native has been killing it the last few years and is now on a eight-fight win streak. Jasse trains out of a top camp in Brazil that host a lot of top prospects and many UFC fighters in Tata Fight Team. Of 17 wins, Jasse has finished 16 with 15 of those being by submission. He is a submission expert on top or bottom and he would be an anaconda choke expert capturing that eight times. On the feet, he seems to have good kickboxing but he doesn’t play too much on the feet. He fights Khusein Khaliev (18-1).

PFL 2018 #8, Thursday. (Louisiana)

Heavyweight, Kelvin Tiller (10-1)

Tiller’s sole loss has come to UFC and WSOF veteran, Elvis Mutapcic. Tiller has evolved into a much better fighter since then, with the loss coming three years ago. Tiller has wins over Jake Collier, who is a current UFC fighter, and Daniel Spohn, who has fought in the UFC on one occasion. Tiller is athletic, quick, and explosive and with his takedown defense needing to get better but if it’s on the feet his power is a problem. He fights former UFC fighter Jared Rosholt (16-5) who he already beat.

Featherweight, Andre Harrison (19-0)

“The Bull” is a two-time All-American D2 wrestler who lives up to his nickname by pulling his opponents down to the mat and staying on top with heavy pressure. His wrestling is excellent and striking wise he is also dangerous. He has power in his hands, as he has dropped opponents in the past but his wrestling is his bread and butter. He is a grinding type fighter who likes to wear down his opponents and he has used his wrestling to take out some top-notch competition. At 19-0 his record speaks for its self. He fights Alexandre Bezzera (22-5) who is on a 4-fight win streak but his TDD should fail him.

One Championship, Friday. (Thailand)

Bantamweight, Muin Gafurov (15-2)

Gafurov born out of  Tajikistan is a solid prospect at only 23-years-old. Gafurov is a 2014 Pancration and Grappling Champion and a 2013-2017 Combat Sambo World Champion. He’s well-rounded as on the feet he has a flashy style but he is quick and mainly relies on his athleticism. He’s better with his wrestling and on top he has good jits but overall he has a 100% finish rate. He fights former UFC fighter Leandro Issa (16-6) who is 3-0 since his release so this is a big fight for Gafurov.

EFC Worldwide 74, Saturday. (South Africa)

Featherweight, Igeu Kabesa (10-1)

Kabesa is a very decorated wrestler being a ten-time Wrestling Nationals Champion. He is young (24) and is solid everywhere making him one of the top prospects out of South Africa. Kabesa has amazing wrestling and grappling, he can move well on the mat and can get into mount fairly easy. His striking is good too moving in-and-out with explosive punches quickly. His only loss is to UFC fighter Danny Henry which was a rematch from the first meeting where he won. He defends his title against Calum Murrie (4-1) which should be an easy win for Kabesa.

KSW 45, Saturday. (UK)

Welterweight, Dricus Du Plessis (12-1)

Dricus is only twenty-four years old. His only loss is to UFC fighter Garreth McLellan, but since then he has won nine in a row, including winning the EFC Welterweight title. He is a good wrestler, with eight of his twelve wins coming by submission all by some form of choke. So his ability to get the back is very good and he can drop for a guillotine and lock it up in an instant. He is a South African K-1 kickboxing champion who has been improving on the feet. He fights Roberto Soldic (13-3) who he just beat.

Middleweight, Damian Janikowski (3-0)

Janikowski started late in age in his MMA career at 29-years-old but he has three impressive wins and does bring an Olympic Greco-Roman medal to the table. The Polish has shown good wrestling and top control and more so speed, athleticism, and big power on the feet. He fights Michal Materla (26-6) who is coming off a win and this is a massive step up in competition for Damian.

Lightweight, Alfie Davis (10-2)

His ground game has improved greatly throughout his career: he is dangerous off his back with submissions or just using a submission to sweep his opponent. Being on his back at times, he has never been in trouble and he always works his way back to his feet very quickly. On the feet, he is a treat to watch, as everything is set up with his sublime kickboxing. His kickboxing is very dynamic: he is always throwing a variety of kicks and attacks with every limb of the body, always feinting and switching stances, showing excellent footwork and his speed is crazy. Davis doesn’t usually box enough, but his kickboxing, staying on the outside and keeping his opponent guessing, is good enough. He fights Leszek Krakowski (12-1) who is a solid test for Alfie.

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