With no UFC this weekend, there’s a great opportunity to check out all the notable prospects fighting, most notably at Bellator 222 on Friday.
XFC | Friday | Australia
Featherweight, Michael Tobin (16-2)
Tobin is a high-level jiu-jitsu practitioner with 15 of his 16 wins coming by submission. Tobin has a very strong and active submission attack and is very diverse as he has finished with a crucifix armbar, bicep slicer, rear-naked choke, armbar, triangle, and a toehold. Tobin is considered one-dimensional, as he does need a lot of work on the feet. He does do a good job at closing the distance and his wrestling is improving but once he’s on the mat he is right at home. He fights Kairin Moses (5-3) who is coming off a loss.
Bellator 222 | Friday | New York
Welterweight, Neiman Gracie (9-0)
Gracie has things he needs to work on like his stand-up in general. Being the well-known grappler he is, his wrestling is improving but it’s a work in progress. Gracie does a good job at tying his opponent up and dragging them to the mat. On the mat is obviously where he wants to be whether it’s on top or bottom. Gracie gives his opponents zero space having him in full control making him so dangerous and dominant on the mat. He fights the well-known Rory MacDonald (20-5-1) in the main event for the welterweight title.
Featherweight, Juan Archuleta (21-1)
Archuleta is a wrestling-first type fighter who has yet to find a foe who can stuff all of his takedowns. Archuleta times his offensive wrestling well and is very strong on top, and he moves well and constantly throws ground-and-pound in any position. He does have a knockout win but he has little time on the feet as he hasn’t found an opponent with the ability to stop his takedowns. He fights former Bellator bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas (21-6), which is a big opportunity for him.
Bantamweight, Patrick Mix (10-0)
Undefeated as a pro, Mix also went 11-0 as an amateur. Mix is all about pressure and he is always moving forward, walking his opponent down. Mix has 12 career submissions with five rear-naked chokes showing he is more comfortable on the mat, but now, training out of Jackson-Wink MMA, he’s been improving every step of the way. He fights a top prospect in Ricky Bandejas (11-2), who is coming off a loss but may be the favorite.
Featherweight, Adam Borics (12-0)
The 25-year-old from Hungary has a background in Thai boxing and karate but is more effective on the mat. Borics is still green on the feet as he throws single shots and throws himself off balance but he is explosive and has a good extension on his strikes. His takedown defense isn’t where it needs to be, but he is excellent at locking up the triangle with three of his five submission wins by triangle. Overall, he’s still green but there is potential. He fights Aaron Pico (4-2) who is coming off a loss but is still an excellent prospect himself.
Road FC 54 | Friday | South Korea
Middleweight, In Soo Hwang (4-0)
With only four fights and a lack of good opponents, a lot is still unknown about Hwang. The South Korean product though has still looked stellar so far in his career. Hwang has finished all four of his wins inside the first round. He doesn’t get paid by the minute so he has finishes at 50 and 11 seconds. Hwang is an aggressive striker with quick hands and a dynamite stick in his right hand. With his quick finishes, it’s unknown how he is when he gets hit, taken down, or how his cardio holds up. He fights Won Jun Choi (3-3), who is coming off a loss.
One Championship | Saturday | China
Don’t let de Ridder’s stand-up game fool you, nine of his 10 finishes have come by submission. He’s great in the clinch, and Ridder fights well at a distance as he has an excellent jab and when he lets his hands go, he is really accurate. The mat is where Ridder wants to be, as he is an expert jiu-jitsu practitioner – the sort who can time perfect double-leg takedowns. If Ridder is in the clinch, expect him to get the takedown as his hips are excellent and judo tosses are his best weapon. On top, or even on the mat in general, Ridder is the one in control. He is always moving and searching for submissions and that’s why he has eight submission wins. He fights Gilberto Galvao (30-6-1) who has a lot of experience.