MMA Prospect Watch: The Most Impressive Fighters from November

Aviv Gozali
Aviv Gozali vs. Zaka Fatullazade Credit: Bellator MMA

November is already in the rear-view mirror, but this week we take a look back at the best prospects for the month.

Mallory Martin has already graduated to the UFC, but in November, she ranked as one of the top prospects for the month. Joining her among the month’s top prospects are Umar Nurmagomedov (cousin of UFC champion Khabib), Bellator’s Aviv Gozali, and lots more.

Welterweight, Josh Togo (7-3)

Josh Togo beat an undefeated fighter in David Martinez taking the Eternal lightweight title. Martinez is a good wrestler and Togo had perfect takedowns and some good footwork helped that. Togo picked Martinez apart on the outside with lead leg kicks, lead uppercuts, and jabs. He mixed it up perfectly and although the power wasn’t there, he still did drop Martinez briefly in round two.
Grade: C

Bantamweight, Lisa Verzosa (5-0)

I was really impressed with the toughness, heart, and tenacity of Lisa Verzosa last month. It takes two to make a war and her opponent Kerri Kenneson did just as well. Verzosa got dropped, hit a lot, and busted up but she held her own and gave out just as much damage. She really found her rhythm once in the clinch landing output to the body and head. Her defensive wrestling was good as well, and she would be the one in top position. A gritty fight where she did just enough.
Grade: C+

Strawweight, Mallory Martin (6-2)

Mallory Martin continued to extend her win streak in November, pushing it to five. She beat a good prospect in Cynthia Acreo and Martin won all three rounds. Arceo was doing pretty well on the feet finding her range but Martin found success getting takedowns. Getting the fight down each round, it became a familiar performance from Martin. She dominated once on top getting dominant positions (mount) and raining down her elbows, which she loves to throw. The win helped earn her a spot on the UFC DC card as a short-notice replacement.
Grade: B-

Featherweight, Elijah Johns (5-1)

The brother of UFC fighter Miles Johns, Elijah moved his win streak to three last month. Elijah showed glimpses of striking but instead won with his wrestling. He had real solid, explosive takedowns getting the fight down each round. On top, he dominated on control and always worked for the finish but his opponent was tough. It’s time for LFA to give Johns a good push now.
Grade: C+

Strawweight, Cheyanne Buys (4-1)

Cheyanne Buys was impressive in her second LFA fight winning an easy decision. Buys was always pressing the action and found a home with that looping right over and over. Her movement was good and her flow of kicks and punches was put together well. Buys threw and landed a lot of volume. In the third round, she even secured two takedowns and landed some good ground and pound.
Grade: C+

Bantamweight, JP Buys (8-2)

JP Buys was making his LFA debut in November, and ran through his opponent getting the quick finish. He got the single leg early on, pulling opponent Rodriguez down. Buys quickly transitioned to the back and took no time sinking both hooks in. He flattened out Rodriguez and would rattle off many strikes to the side of the head. Buys had the position locked down and the ref eventually would step in.
Grade: B-

Lightweight, Brant Moore (7-1)

In November, Brant Moore beat his third undefeated fighter in a good prospect in the form of Nation Gibrick. Nation was known as the good wrestler but Moore was the one quickly getting the takedown. Gibrick was constantly moving his hips looking to reverse but the top control of Moore was on lockdown. He smoothly moved into mount and shortly after he won with the RNC,
Grade: B

Bantamweight, Jose Johnson (11-5)

Jose Johnson was taking on a very game in Brazilian Rafael Costa. Costa was on Johnson early wanting to close the distance and get the takedown. He did have Jose in some trouble with a d’arce but Jose showed solid defense. While Costa was working for a takedown, Johnson landed a perfect elbow to the temple. That one elbow knocked out Costa, face-planting him in devastating fashion. Note: Johnson was an insane 68-12 as an amateur.
Grade: A

Bantamweight, Adrian Yanez (10-3)

Adrian Yanez had a great fight in the LFA 78 main event with a good fighter in Kyle Estrada. Yanez did start off a little slow and you could say he lost the first round. In rounds 2 and 3 however, Yanez turned up the heat. Yanez did an awesome job stepping into the pocket and letting his hands go. He showed solid boxing throwing from some good angels and always throwing more than two strikes at a time. Estrada was very game as well and did well but after a while the output was on the side of Yanez.
Grade: B+

Welterweight, Ian Garry (3-0)

Ian Garry had to battle through adversity at the start of the fight getting cracked by a right hand. Garry though stayed upright and recovered quickly. He got control against the cage and was landing many left uppercuts. That forced his opponent to give up his back and Garry to pull him down. From there it was sealed as Garry quickly finished with the RNC.
Grade: C+

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