Weekly MMA Prospect Report: LFA 46, ONE Championship, and ACB Returns!
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.
Brave CF 15, Thursday. (Latin America)
Featherweight, Gabriel Miranda (12-4)
Miranda is coming off a little over a year layoff but is on a three-fight win streak. “Fly” is a dangerous fighter where if you look at his record you will see he has finished all 12 of his wins all in the first round. Miranda is a very dangerous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner who holds 11 submission wins with a diverse attack on the mat no matter where he’s at. Miranda, although he has mainly all his career, wins on the mat, his stand up is solid. He has very good footwork and does a great job mixing in leg kicks, jabs, and body shots but on the mat is where he wants to be. He fights Fernando Noriega (5-1) who is coming off a win but Miranda should win.
EFC Worldwide 73, Saturday. (Africa)
Lightweight, Roedie Roets (4-0)
Roets right now is riding in with a lot of hype behind him as he took gold in the Men’s Lightweight final at the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) World Championships. He is a multiple-time national wrestling champion and he has competed in many jiu-jitsu comps as well as being a MMA champion in his amateur career. The mat is obviously where he wants to be as his positional grappling is fantastic as well as his cardio. On the feet, he’s still progressing but he has decent kickboxing and does a good job using his hands to close the distance. He fights Pierre Botha (8-6-1) who is coming off a loss.
LFA 46, Friday. (Nebraska)
Bantamweight, Raufeon Stots (9-1)
Welterweight, Calen Born (5-0)
Born is 29-years-old and only 5-0. He hasn’t fought good competition besides his only lost once which was in his amateur career to UFC fighter, Chance Rencountre. Born has finished all his pro fights in the first round and has shown an all-around good offense. Born hits hard and is very aggressive on the feet with good wrestling to fall back on. Born is good on top with ground and pound and has actually got a rare submission in the Ezekiel Choke. Here is an article I had Born featured on. He fights Kassius Kayne (12-5) who is coming off a loss but this is a big test for Born.
Bantamweight, Ryan MacDonald (9-0)
On the feet, MacDonald is still growing as he does have exceptional kickboxing and has a solid jab. He’s had problems in the past not throwing enough combinations but now he’s starting to throw at angles and really stay active. The wrestling is good as is could be better at times with the set-ups but on the mat, MacDonald is at his best with strong jiu-jitsu and effective ground and pound. At 25, MacDonald has a good future with a few small adjustments. He fights Trevor Ward (5-4) who is coming off a win but Ryan should take this.
Welterweight, Duane Johnson (4-0)
Johnson is only 4-0 in his professional MMA career but he has a lot of experience in combat sports with a 17-3 amateur record, a lot of experience in amateur boxing (1-0 as a pro), muay-thai, and is a 3X US world gloves boxing champion with over 70 combined fights. I really like Johnson and I look for him to be a breakout star in 2019 and possibly the end of this year if he can get a few more fights. Johnson has a very tactical style with clean boxing and will chop away with active leg kicks. On the feet, you can’t ask for more as he will actively break his opponents down with many weapons in his arsenal. With all the experience on the feet, Johnson doesn’t shy away from wrestling and grappling with 120 matches in jiu-jitsu and 40 matches in judo. He is also a 4th-degree purple belt in jiu-jitsu so he can very well hold his own anywhere the fight goes. He fights Austin Jones (6-4) who is on a two-fight win streak but Johnson is on another level.
One Championship, Saturday. (China)
Strawweight, Jingnan Xiong (12-1)
With Xiong there isn’t much technical ability nor really any defense all around but she has is toughness and heavy aggression and that alone has won her the One Championship title. On the feet, she does get wild but her always pressing forward throwing constant hooks really breaks her opponents down as she can take damage to deliver some of her own. Her takedown defense is also an issue that could need some work but she does scramble well and has never fought off her back too long. Xiong does have decent wrestling but on top, she has good grappling and solid ground and pound. She fights Samara Santos (11-5-1) who is coming off a win but Xiong should win this.
Bantamweight, Daichi Takenaka (11-0-1)
He doesn’t offer much on the feet as his main goal is to close the distance and get the takedown. Takenaka does well at shooting for takedowns but if it doesn’t come quickly, he will position to the body-lock and get the takedown. On the mat is where he is at best, he is quick in scrambles and a big threat at taking the back and getting the choke where he holds four submissions. He fights Roman Alvarez (8-2) who is coming off a loss.
Cage 44, Saturday. (Finland)
Flyweight, Aleksi Toivonen (6-0)
His only loss in his career is in the amateur scene against rising star Jose Torres. Since going pro he has shown superior grappling and submission skills tapping 5 of his opponents. He doesn’t tend to stay on the feet too long but he has shown his ability to land a head kick in one of his fights. But he doesn’t waste any time before shooting in for the takedown or throwing his opponents to the mat showing solid wrestling. His ground game in top level with excellent transitions, his ability to pass guard with ease, and the way he sets up his submissions is just amazing and don’t forget his relentless ground and pound. He fights Aren Akopyan (7-2-1) who is coming off a draw and is a solid test for Aleski.
ACB 93, Saturday. (Russia)
Lightweight, Abdul-Aziz Abdulvakhabov (15-1)
He is the ACB lightweight champion. The only loss of his career was his first pro fight, meaning he is currently on a 15-fight win streak. Abdulvakhabov is a very versatile fighter all around. He has the stopping power with both his kicks and hands, which he uses to pick his opponents apart. Abdul also has powerful wrestling with even better counter wrestling. Top that off with a good ground game, skillful submissions, and his thunderous ground and pound. It’s hard to find a weakness in this guy but he can be a little sloppy at times. He fights Ali Bagov (26-10).
Lightweight, Ali Bagov (26-10)
Bagov is a well-experienced fighter at only 27 years of age with 36 pro fights to his name. In those 26 wins, Bagov has beat guys like Bubba Jenkins, Eduard Vartanyan, Leandro Silva, Herdeson Batista, 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 as he is very strong and tough to get away from 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 Abdul-Aziz Abdulvakhabov (15-1).
Middleweight, Albert Duraev (11-3)
Machete is a strong grappler, though he does have moments on the feet showing off his chopping leg kicks, and he has also shown big power in his hands. The ground is where he is most dangerous, mainly with his impressive submission base. He has finished with a triangle, RNC, north-south choke, and an armbar, showing he is very versatile. If he was to have a weakness it would be his cardio. He fights Piotr Strus (13-3-2) who is on a three-fight win streak but I’m not too high on him.
Heavyweight, Amir Aliakbari (8-1)
Aliakbari is a very accomplished Greco-Roman Olympic wrestler, and he’s transitioned well to MMA. He can use his strength to suplex his opponents repeatedly, and he has good pressure on top with solid ground-and-pound. Sometimes he does so much with his wrestling that he runs out of energy by the end of the fight, but if he learns to be more conservative or ups his cardio, he will be a huge threat. He fights former UFC fighter, Daniel Omielanczuk (20-8-1) who is coming off a win since his release.
Bantamweight, Goga Shamatava (13-4):
Shamatava is a striker at heart. He has good kickboxing and mixes his attacks with body strikes and spinning techniques. He has good, long strikes from a distance, often picking his opponent apart. But in the clinch is where he thrives with excellent Muay Thai. Very dangerous and relentless knees being his best weapon by far. He does need to work on his takedown defense, but he is very sound off his back and has shown good control of his opponent. Offensively he has good jiu-jitsu and holds five submission wins. Riding a 11-fight streak. He fights Valeriy Khazhirokov (4-1) who is coming off a win but Goga should easily win.
Batalha MMA 14, Saturday. (Brazil)
Welterweight, Anderson Ferreira (11-1)
Ferreira has a background in muay-thai with a record of 18-1 (could be updated) and in kickboxing with a 15-2 record with a WGP title to his name. Obviously, the Brazilian wants to keep the fight standing where he can use his length with his kicks and strikes. After losing his first fight, Ferreira has won all his 12 victories straight with a 100% finish rate. He does have an issue holding his chin straight up and his takedown defense is still a work in progress but he is very dangerous on the feer. He fights Eder Gama (16-4) who is on a 6-fight win streak and a good test for Anderson.
Lightweight, Mauricio Ruffy (3-0)
Ruffy doesn’t have enough fights nor the ring time to really tell how good he is but I feel this guy could be the real deal. The Brazilian hasn’t had much in-ring time becuase he has blitzed past his opponents finish all three in under two minutes. Ruffy holds a lot of punishing power in his hands making his opponents just give up with the big amount of damage they take. So much is still unknown about Ruffy but he’s worth to watch for. He fights Evandro Barbosa (7-3) who is coming off a loss but this will show how good Ruffy is.
Hex Fight Series 16, Saturday. (Austrailia)
Bantamweight, Darwin Sagurit (10-3)
Many people will look past Sagurit looking at his age of 36 where he’s not considered a prospect. With that said I consider him a prospect because Sagurit has been doing everything right to try and get his shot at a big stage fighting at both 135 and 145 and winning titles between the two in the process. Sagurit may 5’4″ but he makes up with it with constant aggression and always throwing hands. You ever hear of the term, throwing everything but the kitchen sink? well, Sagurit throws the sink as well. When this dude hit’s it’s with heavyweight-like power which is why he has 8 KO/TKO wins and most of them he leavs the guys uncnsious. The goal is to take him down as he has been on his back in the past but being so short it’s hard to get underneath him to do so. He fights Kapil Kumar (6-4) who is coming off a loss.
Lightweight, Alex Gorgees (5-0)
The 23-year-old prospects trains out of top camp Australian Top Team residing in Sydney, Austrailia. Gorgees is undefeated as a pro as he went 4-1 as an amateur and won a title in his last fight before becoming pro. Gorgees is well-rounded who is accurate on the feet with some technical striking. He is also dangerous on the mat as he has two submission wins and is dangerous off his back using his long limbs. He fights Kuldeep Singh Sekhon (8-3) who is coming off a win.