PFL and M-1 are at the top of the list for where to find hot prospects in MMA this week, with Thursday’s PFL 8 2019 in Las Vegas being your first stop.
We’re back with another installment of the Weekly MMA Prospect report, and just like last week, the Professional Fighters League (PFL) has plenty to offer fight fans. PFL 8 is a card to watch, but overseas action has plenty of prospects on display as well, including Russia’s M-1. Without further adieu, let’s get to the prospects!
PFL #8 | Nevada | Thursday
Lightweight, Islam Mamedov (18-2)
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 Loik Radzhabov (12-1).
Featherweight, Movlid Khaybulaev (14-0-1)
Movlid is a very solid fighter all around, and 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 said, 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 bout. He fights former UFC fighter Daniel Pineda (26-13).
Featherweight, Andre Harrison (21-1-1)
“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 of fighter who likes to wear down his opponents and he has used his wrestling to take out some top-notch competition. He fights Alex Gilpin (13-2).
M-1 Challenge 105 | Saturday | Kazakhstan
Flyweight, Asu Almabaev (10-2)
An under-the-radar prospect, Asu Almabaev is on a six-fight win streak. On the feet, he relies on his movement. He’s not the most skilled upright but is quick with what he throws. His takedown defense isn’t too great but on the mat anywhere is his strong suit. Almabaev has solid jiu-jitsu and that’s with five submission wins. He’s good off his back going for submissions to create scrambles. He moves very well on top as well. We’re still not fully sold on him though. He fights Mikael Silander (19-7), who is a good test.
Future FC 9 | Saturday | Brazil
Featherweight, Rafael Barbosa (12-1)
Barbosa has looked impressive and at only 21-years old, he has a high ceiling. He fights with a karate stance, lasering the jab along with an excellent right kick to the liver. The Brazilian is slick on the feet and does a good job with his movement. Barbosa has some solid head movement, slipping and ripping his counters. He is still green on the mat though, but at his young age, there is still lots of room for improvement. He fights Luis Nogueira (21-8-2).
MFC 18 | Saturday | Nebraska
Flyweight, Nate Smith (5-0)
Still so young in his career, Smith has looked pretty good thus far. On the feet, it would be nice to see him be more willing to throw more than one strike at a time. Smith does a good job picking his shots and is accurate for the most part. His wrestling is still a work in progress but it’s on the mat where he excels. Smith takes the back fairly easily and in his last three fights he’s finished with a rear-naked choke. He fights Delfino Benitez (3-1).
GFC 10 | Sunday | Russia
Featherweight, Migran Arutyunyan (2-0)
The Armenian is only 2-0 in MMA but has a background in another combat sport. Arutyunyan is an Armenian and Russian Greco-Roman wrestler who competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics. He’s seemed a bit lost on the feet but has shown excellent wrestling and ferocious ground and pound. Arutyunyan still has a lot to show and has a long way to go. He fights Zhasulan Akimzhanov (3-1).