MMA Today’s Weekly Prospect Report: 11/20/17-11/26/17
MMA Today’s Shawn Bitter (@mmawizzard) showcases the best MMA prospects to watch this week!
HEX Fight Series 12, Friday. (Australia)
-Light Heavyweight, Jim Crute (5-0):
When you find a young and undefeated Light Heavyweight, you hope for the best. Crute has a huge upside. While Crute is solely a BJJ guy, he compliments those skills well with his wrestling. He has good explosion into his double-leg takedowns. On top position, he is excellent as he knows how to pass guard very well and superb at getting the mount. Crute has shown he can chain submission attempts together going from one submission to another while also reigning effective ground-and-pound in between. Crute may be someone to watch for and word is the UFC has been in contact with his management already. With a win here, expect him in the UFC. He fights Steven Warby (9-2) who is coming off a win and is tough but lacking takedown-defense.
-Middleweight, Israel Adesanya (11-0):
Adesanya is really well-known for his time in kickboxing, specifically the Glory organization. Adesanya has a kickboxing record of 65-5-2 and a boxing record of 5-1 and of course an undefeated MMA record of 10-0. In 80 total wins in combat sports, he has 39 total KO/TKOs. Adesanya is a wizard on the feet. He can throw kicks from anywhere and can really do any kind of kick there is from any position. Adesanya doesn’t telegraph strikes at all. He is very quick and his hand speed is electric. He has pinpoint accuracy often threading strikes right through the defense of his opponents with such precision. He fights Stu Dare (8-4) who is on a three-fight win-streak but Adesanya is on another level.
-Lightweight. Lance Ettia (5-0):
Ettia has one flaw: his takedown defense. He’s been taken down by lesser fighters but has shown improvement. Even though Ettia finds himself on his back at times, he maintains a very active guard and likes to threaten with the triangle as displayed by his two submission wins. Ettia is dangerous on the feet, he has the one-punch knockout power and very accurate with those punches. Ettia has clean boxing skills as he appears to feel at home on the feet. He fights Greg Atzori (18-10) who is coming off a loss.
Heavyweight, Kora Maea (3-0):
Maea is still growing in his career. In his first fight, he was gassed out halfway through the first round. But since then, he is a very different fighter in that area. Maea has a 100% finish rate and has finished all by strikes highlighted by his power-punching and technical boxing. Maea hasn’t beat anyone with a winning record but is still someone to watch. He fights Ben Sosoli (4-2) who is coming off a win and a good test for Maea.
M-1 Challenge 86, Friday. (Russia)
-Heavyweight, Zaur Gadzhibabayev (5-1):
Gadzhibabayev is coming off nearly an eighteen-month layoff since his last bout but luckily he is still only 28-years-old. Gadzhibabayev is a very calm but active striker. He is always picking his shots as he is poised in his attacks, he lunges forward with a strike or two at a time. He’s shown power behind his punches but more so hitting his opponents to make them feel it. Gadzhibabayev has solid footwork and feints to help him get inside on his opponent moving in-and-out with strikes. He also has decent kicks. While he doesn’t throw them actively, he does throw them with a lot of power. The wrestling is decent but better on top. Gadzhibabayev has punishing ground-and-pound and has shown that he can pass guard and take the back, a rarity amongst heavyweights. As an added bonus, he owns solid cardio hardly slowing down the pace for the whole fight. He fights Nikolay Savilov (10-2) who is on an 8-fight win-streak but I favor Gadzhibabayev for sure in this matchup.
Cage 41, Friday. (Finland)
-Featherweight, Alex Gilpin (9-1):
Gilpin is very sound when the fight hits the mat, leveraging impressive movement and strong control while also possessing the ability to smoothly take the back. Gilpin has a solid wrestling base and displays crafty trip takedowns and slams to get his opponent down. On the feet, Gilpin has speed, movement, and power but has problems setting up his strikes despite showing improvements. He fights Joni Salovaara (18-9) who is on a two-fight win streak and a good fight for Gilpin.
WSFC 5, Saturday. (Austria)
-Heavyweight, Valdrin Istrefi (11-1):
Istrefi has been impressive from the footage I’ve seen. On the feet, he’s displayed heavy hands knocking opponents down with one-punch. His leg kicks are most impressive though, Istrefi has the ability to put put down opponents with leg kicks, an impressive feat for a heavyweight. Istrefi has good wrestling, showing his strength being able to elevate and slam other big guys down. On top, Istrefi does his best work, transitioning well into submission attempts where he’s finished four fights via submission. Perhaps his best weapon is when he gets mount and lands huge ground-and-pound. He fights Evgeniy Bova (7-7) who is coming off consecutive losses.
British Challenge MMA 2o, Saturday. (UK)
–Featherweight, Emrah Somez (7-1):
After falling short in his first professional bout, Somez has gone on to win his next seven capturing the British Challenge Featherweight Championship in his last bout. Somez hasn’t fought anyone with a winning record but has still been nothing short of impressive. Somez is a problem for his opponents. On the feet, he’s a bit telegraphed but does a solid job at putting combinations together with strikes and kicks. Somez is a good wrestler with exceptional ground-and-pound and does hold two submission wins. He fights Dominic Dillon (4-3) who is coming off a loss.
Fusion FC 26. Saturday. (UK)
-Lightweight, Luke Kyriakides (3-0):
Undefeated as a pro, Kyriakides also went undefeated as an amateur going 3-0. Kyriakides has fought bad competition but has done what he’s supposed to and make easy work of those lesser fighters. Kyriakides fights at a karate stance and brings a high variety of kicks including a head-kick finish in his career. Kyriakides really puts in combinations well and is lightning quick and super explosive but he hasn’t been tested yet. He fights John Spencer (2-27) who is on a 17-fight losing streak.
Cage Warriors 89, Saturday. (Belgium)
-Welterweight, Karl Amoussou (24-7-2):
Amoussou is an ex-Bellator vet and trains with top camp American Top Team. Amoussou is mainly a kickboxer, he uses both legs and attacks hard and constantly. Amoussou has a lot of power behind his kicks and uses speed to his advantage. Amoussou has a background in judo shown throughout his career. He’s been susceptible to the takedown in the past, but is very dangerous off his back attacking anything he can get for the submission. He fights Dominique Steele (15-9, 1-4 UFC) who is a former UFC fighter coming off a win since his release.
Featherweight, Jack Shore (6-0):
Shore showed some good stand up for the first time in his career in his last bout with good output, combinations, and fight-ending knees in the clinch. He is a slick wrestler with nice timing on his takedowns. If he can’t get it down the first time, he has shown the ability to adjust and chain wrestle his opponents. On top, he is a nightmare opponent. Shore is a pro at passing into better positions, scrambling well and hunting submissions. Shore’s ground-and-pound is a big fight-changer, too. He loves to throw vicious elbows often. He fights Ayton De Paepe (7-0) who is undefeated but I’m not sold on him.