There are plenty of prospects to check out in the world of MMA this week, including several on PFL 5 and RIZIN 17.
PFL 5 | Thursday | New Jersey
Aliev prefers to stay on the feet where he is quick, explosive, and diverse. Aliev loves to spin, sometimes too much, but it is effective to keep range. Aliev has a good kickboxing base with body kicks and leg kicks, but when he puts it behind his combinations, that’s where he shines. Combinations and output are what Aliev is best at as he throws three to four strikes at a time with good speed and a bit of power. The footwork is also sound moving in and out, once again illustrating his quickness. He fights former UFC lightweight Chris Wade (15-5), which will be his toughest fight to date.
Featherweight: Andre Harrison (21-1)
“The Bull” is a two-time All-American DII wrestler who lives up to his nickname by pulling his opponents down to the mat and staying on top with heavy pressure. His wrestling is excellent and striking wise he is also dangerous. He has power in his hands, as he has dropped opponents in the past but his wrestling is his bread and butter. He is a grinding type fighter who likes to wear down his opponents and he has used his wrestling to take out some top-notch competition. He fights Movlid Khaybulaev (14-0).
Movlid is a very solid fighter all around, he is really technical in his stand-up he throws a lot of spinning attacks, not overdoing it, but that is a good thing. Movlid uses the flying knee often, with which he knocked out his last opponent. With that, he also has good wrestling, he is able to shoot in for a double leg or he can lift and slam you to the mat. Movlid can usually get the fight down multiple times in a fight and from the fights I’ve seen, I see no weakness yet. He fights Andre Harrison (21-1).
Lightweight: Islam Mamedov (17-2)
A top-level wrestler, Mamedov finds the takedown naturally, and on top, he is as good as it gets. He sticks like glue, he moves well and is even excellent at taking the back. His ground-and-pound is very solid – not heavy strikes but constant strikes. Once Mamedov gets the separation, he has a good submission game. On the feet, he is explosive, and he lunges forward with hooks and flying knees. He has power but his ground game is where he is best. He fights Yincang Bao (13-8), who is on a two-fight skid.
Future FC 7 | Friday | Brazil
Bantamweight: Herbeth Sousa (13-1)
With only one loss, Sousa is currently on a three-fight win streak. His latest win coming against Glyan Alves, someone who I was high on. “Indio” is an aggressive grappler who has nine submissions all coming in the first round. His wrestling is solid but obviously, it’s the grappling that’s key. His transitions are smooth and his finishing ability on the submissions is dangerous as he is a black belt in BJJ. He still needs some work on the feet but only 25-years-old. He fights Tiagro Costa (15-4) who is tough but Sousa should win.
Lightweight: Anderson Ferreira (13-1)
Ferreira has a background in Muay Thai with a record of 18-1 (which may not even be up-to-date) 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 13 subsequent fights 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 feet. He fights Jackson Loureiro (8-0), who I’m not too impressed with.
Flyweight: Danilo Adreani (8-2)
Adreani still needs work on the feet on his technique but his explosiveness and speed is good enough. He excels on the mat though and his wrestling is good being very strong against the cage and throwing his foes to their back. Adreani is scrappy on the mat, always moving and throwing constant ground-and-pound for the entire fight with a solid pace. The Brazilian has lost positions before but he can scramble very well making him such a good prospect. He fights Marcelo Dias (10-3), who has lost to other grapplers.
Lightweight: Brendo Bispo (16-4)
With already 20fights at only 25-years-old, Bispo looks to be in his prime since moving up to lightweight, Bispo trains out of Chute Boxe with UFC fighter Charles Oliveira. Bispo is very explosive but needs to throw more leg kicks because his legs are huge. He needs to throw more but he hits hard. He does a good job striking his way into the clinch where he has solid Muay Thai and can prove his strength. Bispo has some good ground-and-pound and is a threat with submissions. He’s really improved and is a good prospect all-around. He fights Luis Fernando de Oliveira Lima (7-4), who is a step down in competition.
Featherweight: Gabriel Alves Braga (3-0)
Only 3-0 and 21-years-old, Barga really impressed me in his last fight. He has a solid ground game with his ground-and-pound but prefers to stay standing. Braga is very technical as he loves to throw from all different kinds of angles. He throws a bit of everything including knees, elbows, and ripping all his strikes together perfectly. Braga rips the body frequently and he mixes that into combinations very well. He’s always throwing output mixing, in all his weapons. He fights Jean Inácio Soares (5-2), who is coming off a loss.
Battlefield FC 2 | Friday | Macau
Lightweight: Kaik Brito (12-1)
Brito, at only 22-years-old, is already impressive and well tested for his age. Brito has a background in Muay Thai and really would prefer to keep the fight standing. Brito excels in the clinch, where his Muay Thai comes into play with elbows and knees. At a distance, he is well versed in throwing kicks behind punches, throwing with a lot of power behind them. Brito would need to work on his takedown defense as he does find himself on his back often, but he has a good, active guard and threatens with submissions off of his back. He fights Mateusz Rębecki (9-1), who lacks footage.
Lightweight: Bruno Miranda (12-3)
Miranda is an exciting prospect training out of a top camp in Tiger Muay Thai. Miranda has extensive experience in Muay Thai and it’s shown throughout his MMA career. You will see Miranda attack the leg kicks early and often throughout the fight. The Brazilian is a banger who will come out throwing bombs the entire fight. He is wild though and that’s resulted in him getting tagged but he’s tough and his will breaks opponents. Miranda is a striker/kickboxer by trade but he has some decent wrestling to fall back on. He fights Ricardo Tirloni (23-7) in a fight that is hard to predict.
Featherweight: Julio Cesar Neves (34-1)
The record this kid has is just insane especially at 25-years-old, though like any Astra Fight Team member there is a lot of sub-professional early-career filler on his resume. With 19 KO/TKOs and 10 submissions, Neves is very skilled everywhere and has a legit BJJ game that he can use to easily neutralize most opponents. On the feet is where Neves is most dangerous, as his Muay Thai is lethal – ending multiple fights by knee strikes – and his kickboxing is dangerous. He’s flashy in the cage but it’s not just to put on a show, as he’s had a lot of success with his unpredictable striking style. He fights Kevin Park (2-1).
Oktagon 13 | Saturday | Czech Republic
Middleweight: Makhmud Muradov (21-6)
The Uzbekistan-born fighter has a lot of experience with 27 total fights. Muradov relies on his explosiveness on the feet with straight punches and loves to throw the flying knees. On the feet, he covers distance very well. Muradov does a great job throwing different attacks and mixing it all together. His takedowns usually come just from him bulldozing over his opponents. He’s at his best on top with smashing ground-and-pound until the ref steps in. He fights former UFC fighter, Wendell Oliveira (31-12). With a win, expect to see him in the UFC next.
Heavyweight: Martin Buday (6-1)
Buday doesn’t have any special qualities but his forward pressure and cutting off angles has done well for him. He doesn’t hit hard but has good timing on when he throws. He’s not fast but uses effective footwork. While he’s not the most explosive heavyweight, he is still on a five-fight win streak with all five finishes. He fights Daniel Dittrich (5-3), who he should beat.
Flyweight: David Dvorak (16-3)
Dvorak has been dominating the last couple years as he is currently on a 12-fight win streak. On the feet, he’s dangerous at range with the angles he cuts, always using a large arsenal of attack with the teep kick being highlighted. He does a great job keeping range with his kicks and footwork but he also cuts his opponents off and explodes in when need be. In the clinch, he is lethal with his knees and elbows. He hasn’t shown much wrestling but has shown solid takedown defense and is a threat if he ends up on top where he has fight-stopping ground-and-pound. He fights Arsen Taigibov (16-2), who lacks footage.
Rise FC 4 | Saturday | Canada
Bantamweight: Jamie Siraj (7-1)
Siraj is underrated, but still one of Canada’s best prospects. His only loss comes to UFC fighter Cole Smith, but since then, he’s on a four-fight win streak. Siraj is well-rounded getting it done on the feet and on the mat. Siraj has a nice flow of output with outstanding shot selection. “The Gremlin” has speed and it really shines when he lets his hands go. He has some solid wrestling as well and that comes with ground and pound and a strong submission base. He fights Blake Sigvaldason (3-1), which is a squash match.
Rizin 17 | Saturday | Japan
Asakura is an exciting prospect who has steamrolled all but one of his opponents. Asakura is a very adept grappler who has some proficient judo/wrestling, along with exceptional jiu-jitsu. Having said that, on the feet is where Asakura is most dangerous. Holding huge knockout power, you could describe Asakura as having dynamite in his hands. He uses that innate power with good set-up technique, including counters and feints. He is a sniper with explosiveness. He fights Yusuke Yachi (20-8), who is on a two-fight skid.
Light Heavyweight: Ivan Shtyrkov (16-0-1)
Considered one of the top light-heavyweight prospects in the world. Shtyrkov has the power on his feet to drop anyone but tends to get hit a lot. Luckily, he has shown a good chin and is willing to take one to give one. Shtyrkov does have better wrestling then you might expect for a brawler, with a wide variety of takedowns including body-lock takedowns, to double-leg takedowns, to trip takedowns that show his power and athleticism. On top, he is a real submission threat with six of his wins ending with a submission and five of them by armbar, something uncommon for the big guys. He fights Hoon Kim (10-12-2).
Lightweight: Roberto de Souza (8-0)
Souza grew up doing judo and jiu-jitsu and would later become very successful in BJJ. His grappling record (on paper) is 61-15 with 37 submission wins. He has many achievements in BJJ, and you can read them all here. While MMA is an entirely different sport, Souza still has got it done on the mat with six submissions. His striking has been coming around, as in his last fight, he fought off his back foot and landed the jab over and over. Souza, as shown, can get it done on the feet with his hands as well. He fights Mizuto Hirota (18-10-2).