Weekly MMA Prospect Report: A Packed Weekend of Fights

Bellator 224 Juliana Velasquez
Credit: Bellator MMA/Lucas Noonan

It’s a busy weekend in the MMA world and that means plenty of prospects to look forward to, including ones from Bellator and ONE Championship.

Final Fight Championship 39 | Thursday | Nevada

Light Heavyweight: Alex Polizzi (4-0)

Undefeated as a pro and as an amateur going 6-0, Polizzi has the recipe to be a big prospect in the 205 weight class. Polizzi is a D1 wrestler at Northwestern University from 2010-2015 and was a state champion. He needs work on his striking but his wrestling and athleticism will take him far. Polizzi once he gets the top position he has finished with submissions but his ground and pound is dangerous. He fights former UFC fighter Daniel Jolly (6-4). A win here looks good on the resume of Alex.

One Championship | Friday | Malaysia

Bantamweight: Gary Mangat (15-2)

A very solid all-around fighter, on the feet, Mangat is mainly a kickboxer. He chops at the legs, goes to the body, and connects to the head and at times it’s all set up at the end of combinations. Mangat is an excellent wrestler with nice timing on his level changes and on his double leg takedowns. The way Mangat is able to catch his opponent’s kick and take the fight down shows great awareness with wrestling ability. In top position, Mangat has very sound ground-and-pound, he is always landing no matter what position he is in. Mangat has shown he is a threat to taking the back but his ground-and-pound may be his best weapon. He fights Arbo Fernandes (7-1), who is coming off a loss.

Featherweight: Troy Worthen (4-0)

Worthen started wrestling in high school and did in college as well. Worthen became an NCWA All-American and a Southeastern Conference Champion for Central Florida University. Going 3-0 as an amateur, Worthen is 4-0 as a pro showing a bit of everything. Being such a good wrestler, he’s shown a lot of good work on the feet with knockout power and good technique. He fights Rui Chen (7-0), and I think Troy is a bit better everywhere.

  Valor Fighting Challenge 61 | Friday | Tennessee 

Welterweight: David Robins (4-0)

Coming up short in his last amateur fight, Robins is now 4-0 as a pro. He’s a black belt in Muay Thai as he’s the Valor Muay Thai Champion and the 2013 Warrior Cup Kickboxing Champion. Robins also has competed in BJJ winning the 2011 and 2012 Tennessee State Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Champion. He hasn’t fought good competition but being so well-rounded he’s someone to watch for.

Bellator 224 | Friday | Oklahoma

Flyweight: Juliana Velasquez (8-0)

A product out of Team Nogueira, Velasquez holds an undefeated record with four finishes. She has a lot of things she needs to work on especially in terms of her stand-up. Velasquez has power in her hands but only throws one strike at a time and really lacks footwork where she just stands in front of her opponents. She has good judo and is at home on the mat where her jiu-jitsu shines. She fights Kristina Williams (3-1) who is tough and a good threat for Juliana.

Welterweight: Kiefer Crosbie (6-0)

Crosbie is a product out of the Straight Blast Gym in Ireland, who has really turned his pro career around after a back-and-forth amateur career going 6-6. Crosbie isn’t great anywhere but he has some good qualities. His takedown defense could need some work but he is decent off his back. He could throw more on the feet but he does hit hard. What Crosbie does the best is land massive elbows as he has shown on the feet and on the mat. He also has some good clinch work. He still needs work but there has been definite improvement. He fights Jonathan Gray (13-11-2), who has a lot of experience but Crosbie no doubt should win.

Light Heavyweight: Jordan Young (10-0)

Young at 6’4″ with a 76.5″ reach, knows how to use his length on the feet and on the mat. On the feet, Young is still progressing as he has an excellent jab and starts to double up on his right hand where he doesn’t have much power but is accurate. Young is dangerous off his back but he does need to tighten up his takedown defense as it’s been an issue. He fights Joel Bauman (3-0), who looked good in his last fight but lacks footage.

LFA 71 | Friday | Georgia

Welterweight: Jason Jackson (9-3)

Jacksons three losses are to former UFC fighter, Hayder Hassan and current UFC fighters Kyle Stewart and Colby Covington. He has a win over current UFC fighter Dhiego Lima. Jackson is a good striker who is technical with an excellent jab and a crushing right hand. The product out of the former Blackzilians gym is a very good wrestler as well being so well-rounded. He’s super athletic and at only 28, he’s got a high ceiling. He fights Junior Marques (9-1), who is good but speed should be a factor for Jackson.

Caged Steel FC 23 | Saturday | UK

Featherweight: Shoaib Yousaf (4-1)

Only 5-1 as a pro, Yousaf went 10-0 as an amateur and was the 2016 IMMAF Featherweight World Champion. Yousaf is dynamic on the feet with both his kickboxing and his counter-striking along with the great timing he has. His ground game I believe is his best aspect. His jiu-jitsu is fantastic as he has a very active guard as well. He fights Gregorio Davide La Torre (5-2), who he should beat.

GFC 14 | Saturday | Russia

Bantamweight: Omar Nurmagomedov (9-0)

He is a relative of UFC lightweight champ, Khabib Nurmagomedov and he fights very similarly to him. He 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 speed behind his kicks, but not exactly power. However, 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 Moktar Benkaci (19-7), who is on a roll but should be a step behind.

Lightweight: Marif Piraev (28-2)

First of all his record won’t go unnoticed with 28 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 where you can see him looking for a big shot while throwing many stepping knees, flying knees, and head kicks — which he disguises well with his movement. He moves in and out effectively, exploding with punches and then back out quickly. His record boasts 10 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 Nursultan Ruziboev (20-6-1), who poses a good fight.


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