With the UFC taking an extended hiatus over the next few weeks, it’s time to focus on MMA’s up-and-comers, starting with ONE, Bellator, and Brave CF.
The UFC is taking a rare multi-week sabbatical, out of action until early December. Which means there’s plenty more time to check out some of MMA’s hottest prospects. From ONE to Bellator to Brave CF, there’s a healthy batch this week, including undefeated featherweight Troy Worthen, and Bellator prospects Soren Bak and Fabian Edwards. Here’s who stands out this week.
One Championship | Friday | Singapore
Featherweight, Troy Worthen (4-0)
Worthen started wrestling in high school and did in college as well. Worthen became an NCAA 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. Despite being such a good wrestler, he’s shown a lot of good work on the feet with knockout power and good technique. He fights Lei Chen (6-1).
Cage Warrior 111 | Friday | UK
Light-heavyweight, Modestas Bukauskas (9-2)
Bukauskas is the current Cage Warriors LHW champion and on a 5-fight win streak. He’s a British kickboxing champion but most of his time in the MMA cage has been on the mat. On the feet, though he does have good kicks and a highlight right cross he throws. His takedown defense needs a lot of work but on top he is active enough to be a threat. Good cardio helps him as well. Not sold on him yet but Bukauskas can be a good prospect. He fights Riccardo Nosiglia (8-1) who seems to be good but footage of him is lacking.
Featherweight, Emrah Sonmez (10-2)
Sonmez has a black belt in kickboxing, a blue belt in BJJ, and many years experience in freestyle wrestling as well as a background in amateur boxing before coming to MMA. With all his backgrounds in other sports, Sonmez brings them all together very well in MMA. Sonmez is no slouch anywhere but his wrestling is outstanding when it comes to the setups and execution. Even the work he does on top is awesome. He fights Daryl Golding (7-1)
Combate 50 | Friday | US
Lightweight, Ignacio Bahamondes (9-2)
Bahamodes is on a five-fight win streak and is the current Lux Fight League champion. He has a background as a pro kickboxer and you see that first hand when watching him fight. He likes to be flashy throwing wheel kicks, sidekicks, and a lot of other diverse kicks. Bahamodes can just use kicks all fight but has a good straight left he utilizes. He fights Salvador Becerra (7-2) who is his biggest test.
CFFC 80 | Friday | US
Heavyweight, William Knight (6-0)
Knight lacks technique but is super athletic and has a lot of power. He also lacks takedown defense, but is that guy who lands on top and becomes a nightmare with his ground and pound. He won on the Contender Series this past Summer and earned a development deal so all eyes are on him. He did have a lot of issues, so it will be interesting to see how much he has improved. He fights Tafon Nchukwi (2-0) who we spoke to ahead of the fight.
Brave CF 30 | Friday | India
Bantamweight, Stephen Loman (13-2)
Loman has a background in Wushu Sanda. On the feet, he isn’t too effective but he has power and timing. He has excellent level changes and once on the mat, he is in his world. He thrives in transitions and his six decision wins prove he can fight his fight for three to five rounds. He fights Louie Sanoudakis (8-1).
Bellator London | Saturday | UK
Middleweight, Fabian Edwards (8-0)
Edwards has excellent distance management, using effective footwork and speed to stay on the outside. Edwards throws single strikes at times but makes up for it with crazy explosiveness and athleticism, as well as his speed. That allows him to fire straight punches quickly and with plenty of power. He’s also the younger brother of UFC welterweight contender Leon Edwards. His takedown defense is a worry though, at least once he fights a good wrestler. He fights Mike Shipman (13-2) in what should be a good fight.
Lightweight, Soren Bak (13-1)
With one blemish on his record, Soren Bak has been an absolute force dominating in all of his wins. He doesn’t have much in the stand-up department, but he’s been improving and has shown glimpses of power in his hands. The wrestling and the grappling though is outstanding with an incredible top game, with vicious ground and pound and natural skills to pass guard. Bak has six submissions and has shown a diverse attack once he gets the fight to the mat. “The True Viking” is also a very smart but aggressive fighter who could have a bright future. He fights Terry Brazier (11-2).
Lightweight, Alfie Davis (13-3)
Davis’ ground game has improved greatly throughout his career. He is dangerous off his back with submissions or just simply sweeping his opponent. Being on his back at times, he has never been in trouble and he always works his way back to his feet very quickly. On the feet, he is a treat to watch, as everything is set up with his sublime kickboxing. His kickboxing is very dynamic, always throwing a variety of kicks and attacks with every limb of the body, always feinting and switching stances, showing excellent footwork with crazy speed. Davis doesn’t usually box enough, but his kickboxing, staying on the outside and keeping his opponent guessing, is good enough. His last two losses have been fights he could have won. He fights Alessandro Botti (15-10).
GFC 20 | Saturday | Uzbekistan
Bantamweight, Umar Nurmagomedov (11-0)
Umar Nurmagomedov is a relative of UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and fights very similarly to him. He has excellent wrestling and great top control with constant ground-and-pound and excellent cardio. He is not as good as Khabib yet but he does have very good kickboxing, something Khabib lacks. He has speed behind his kicks, not exactly power, but it provides a problem for his opponents as he throws a lot as well. Umar is getting better and better in each fight. He fights Braian Gonzalez (6-0).
Ring of Combat 70 | Saturday | US
Middleweight, Joseph Pyfer (6-0)
Pyfer is a dangerous man who has had huge knockout wins as an amateur and a pro. On the feet, he has a good jab, but it’s the power in his hands that has been a big difference-maker. Using more than just single strikes, Pyfer does a nice job throwing the one-two combinations and can end the fight standing at any time. He is well-rounded as he has finished from brutal ground-and-pound and three career submissions. Pyfer is a strong guy, showing that with his takedowns, getting the body lock and dumping his foes on their back. At only 23-years-old, Pyfer has a bright future. He fights Jhonoven Pati (5-3) who is a solid test.
C3 Fights 48 | Saturday | US
Welterweight, Tyler Ingram (4-0)
Ingram is a physical guy that will stay in your face all fight. He has some effective leg kicks he uses on the outside, as when he closes the distance that’s where he does good work. Ingram can beat you up in the clinch and use his strength to pull you down to the mat. He’s solid on top with his ground and pound and control. Ingram is still green but a good athlete and he is someone to keep an eye on. He fights Nolan Norwood (12-5).
Amateur prospect of the week:
Light-heavyweight, Derik Overstreet (3-0):
Standing at 6’2″ with a 79.1″ reach, Overstreet is a solid amateur prospect at 205. The competition he’s fought isn’t great but he’s been dominant. Overstreet on the feet throws good long punches and utilizes heavy kicks. On the mat he has good top position with good ground and pound. “The Orge Lord” still has a lot to show but his athleticism will take him far. He fights this Saturday for HR MMA 112: 11 Year Anniversary.