This week’s MMA prospect report takes us from Canada to the Philippines, Germany and South Africa as plenty of MMA action outside the UFC unfolds.
TKO, ONE Championship, and EFC are among the promotions in action this week globally. So while the UFC touches down in Atlanta, GA with UFC 236 on PPV, plenty more prospects had a chance to showcase their skills. Here’s who to watch out for in our latest Weekly MMA Prospect Report.
TKO 47 | Thursday | Canada
Featherweight, Charles Jourdain (7-1)
Jourdain has it all having shown very few weaknesses. Excellent on the feet, leveraging athleticism in the form of flying knees. He is also a skilled kickboxer, and very good in the clinch. Jourdain does an awesome job landing big shots on the break, an undervalued tool in MMA. Jourdain gets the takedown mainly from the clinch where he utilizes primarily trip takedowns. Lastly, his ground-and-pound and conditioning have proven solid thus far. He is really getting better and better. He fights Damien Lapilus (17-11-1) who is taking this fight on short notice.
One Championship | Friday | Philippines
Welterweight, James Nakashima (10-0)
James doesn’t have the most exciting style nor is he more dominant in any one position. However, he is very well skilled everywhere. James is starting to become more of an aggressive fighter coming forward and creating more action, as he is still more of a counter striker for the most part. Wrestling wise James is good but his position grappling is where he is best. He also gets better as the fight goes on. Nakashima trains with MMA Lab that has really developed into an excellent camp and almost every fighter coming out of it is a well-conditioned athlete. He fights Luis Santos (65-11-1), who is a big test for James.
Featherweight, Xie Bin (6-1)
Bin’s only loss came in his first fight; since then he has rebounded and won his six fights becoming a solid prospect out of China. He doesn’t have much on the feet but has shown glimpses of his nice clinch work, plus really good footwork. Bin has solid wrestling and once on the mat, he’s in his comfort zone. Bin has exceptional positional grappling and is a good submission threat especially with the darce choke. He fights Ahmad Qais Jasoor (5-1) who is coming off a win but Bin can be expected to get the victory here.
MFP 227 | Saturday | Russia
Lightweight, Marif Piraev (26-2)
First of all, Marif Piraev’s record won’t go unnoticed with 26 wins and only two losses – and at only 26 years old. Those losses were to the undefeated KSW lightweight champ Mateusz Gamrot and to top prospect Tofik Musaev. Piraev spends a lot of his fight time on the feet. There, you can see him looking for a big shot as he throws many step in knees, flying knees, and head kicks — which he disguises so well with his movement. He moves in and out deftly, exploding with punches and then back out very quickly. Piraev holds ten submissions and all that is set up by his well-executed wrestling. Piraev could tighten up his takedown defense which would be his one flaw. He fights Nandin-Erdene Munguntsooj (8-5).
EFC Worldwide 78 | Saturday | South Africa
Flyweight, Nkazimulo Zulu (10-2)
Zulu was a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter season 25. Unfortunately he couldn’t find his ticket to the UFC, but he has gone 3-0 and is still the EFC champ since the stint on TUF. His biggest weakness is his takedown defense but he’s been showing a lot of improvement in that area over the last few fights. The longer the fight stays on the feet, the better. Zulu has a huge chance of taking control of this fight. He is a quick and explosive fighter with a lot of output and beautiful counter striking. He’s an excellent kickboxer as well and really uses combinations all fight with solid cardio. Zulu is one of the best prospects coming out of South Africa. He fights Jake Hadley (3-0).
Flyweight, Jake Hadley (3-0)
England’s Hadley may only be 3-0 as a pro but he went 7-2 as an amateur and has mainly been dominate thus far. He hasn’t really had much time on the feet but it seems he knows what to do if he can’t get the fight to the mat. Hadley is a good wrestler but it’s his jiu-jitsu that is his best aspect. His transitions are smooth as his ability to take the back is superb. He’s a big submission threat with eight career submissions. He fights Nkazimulo Zulu (11-2).
NOVA FC 1 | Saturday | Germany
Middleweight, Dustin Stoltzfus (10-1)
Born in the US, Stoltzfus has fought his entire pro career on German soil. On the feet, he’s a good counter striker with a powerful right hook. Stoltzfus is best when mixing in his striking with his wrestling as his double legs are well executed. He’s got heavy top position and has four submissions. All four of his submissions have come via different methods: RNC, guillotine, arm-triangle, and a kneebar. He fights Rafael Xavier (6-4).
Nemesis Fighting Alliance | Saturday | Missouri
Featherweight, Sean Woodson (5-0)
Woodson is a very tall featherweight at 6’2″ with a massive reach of 78 inches. It takes a while for Woodson to find his grove but once he does he really lets his hands go, throwing multiple strikes. Being a tall fighter he is good at a distance with leg kicks and the jab but he’s more effective in the clinch with his knees. His accuracy is another highlight when it comes to his offensive output. He hasn’t gone to the mat much but he has a submission game he’s shown in the past. He fights Chuka Willis (9-5) who despite his record is a good test for Woodson.
Battle of Volga 10 | Sunday | Russia
Bantamweight, Omar Nurmagomedov (8-0)
Omar Nurmagomeodv is a relative of UFC lightweight champ, Khabib Nurmagomedov and he fights very similarly to him. Omar has excellent wrestling and great top control with constant ground-and-pound and excellent cardio. He not as good as Khabib yet but he does have very good kickboxing, something Khabib lacks. He has the speed behind his kicks, not exactly the power but it provides a problem for his opponents as he throws a lot as well. He may not be the most exciting to watch but he is dominant. He fights Wagner Lima (12-3).
Heavyweight, Shamil Abasov (5-0)
Only 5-0 in MMA, Shamil Abasov has a lot of hype behind him. Shamil trains with a solid camp out of Russia, Eagles MMA, with Movlid Khaibulaev, Akhmet Aliev, and more. Shamil has a background in kickboxing being a world champion. In only five fights, he’s fought Yuri Gobenko, Yuriy Protzenko, and Charles Andrade that have a combined over 140 fights — which is a good start for someone so early in their career. Abasov has showcased his kickboxing skills throwing damaging leg kicks and even has a head kick knockout. He has also shown solid wrestling with heavy top position. He is definitely someone to watch for. He fights Rizvan Kuniev (5-2-1).