Weekly MMA Prospect Report: A Stacked Week of Possible Future Stars

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Timur Valiev
Timur Valiev (left) Credit: PFL

There’s MMA action all over the globe this week, but Russia, Germany, and the U.K. give Europe a strong showing. There are lots of prospects to check out — he’s a breakdown of some possible future stars.

XFC 43 | Friday | Australia

Featherweight: Mohammad Alavi (5-0)

Mohammad Alavi has been very impressive in his short MMA career with a 100% finish rate. He has three submission wins and that comes from his solid grappling. More impressively, his wrestling is a very dangerous weapon thanks to his timing and ability to chain wrestle. On the feet, he likes to maintain distance with kicks and does have a dangerous left head kick he throws often, which has led to one knockout. Still young in his career, but someone to watch for. He fights Ricky Camp (11-4).

GFC 22 | Friday | Russia

Flyweight: Tagir Ulanbekov (10-1)

Like many fellow Russians Tagir Ulanbekov has a background in combat sambo, where he holds a world championship and a few national championships. Ulanbekov is primarily a wrestler who has all six finishes on the mat with five by submission and the other by TKO. He’s a very tall fighter for the weight-class standing at 5’7″ and he uses his length very effectively with scrambles, back takes, and submission attempts. He fights Denilson Matos (12-3).

Bantamweight, Timur Valiev (15-2)

Aside from competing in Freestyle Wrestling, BJJ, Grappling, and Kickboxing, Timur Valiev is a three-time Russian style Unifight champion, as well as a Russian Pankration Champion, European Pankration Champion, and a Dagestan/New Jersey Grappling Champion. His accolades speak for themselves. The Jackson-Wink MMA product is a top prospect to watch for. He fights Taigro Costa (15-5).

ACA 103 | Saturday | Russia

Light Heavyweight: Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov (17-5-1)

Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov is well-rounded and is dangerous on the mat and on the feet. He shows a lot of athleticism on the feet with the ability to throw nice spinning heel kicks, but he also hits like a truck, picking up a few one-punch knockouts. Yet, believe it or not, Yagshimuradov is even better on the mat. He has good power wrestling, has solid jiu-jitsu and his ground and pound is a fight changer. He fights Alexey Butorin (15-3) who is dangerous.

Bantamweight: Rustam Kerimov (13-0)

Rustam Kerimov is a product out of a top camp in DagFighter and is one of the best up-and-comers out of Russia right now. Like most Dagestan fighters, Kerimov is an excellent wrestler. Kerimov has beat solid competition, most notably a good prospect in Alexander Peduson, Abdul-Rakhman Dudaev, legend Takeya Mizugaki, and Oleg Borisov. Kerimov is obviously a good wrestler but it’s his timing on his shots that is done so well to complement his best weapon of ground-and-pound. On the feet, he is a good kickboxer along with good power in his hands. He fights Francisco Maciel (15-3-1).

Featherweight: Yusup Raisov (15-1)

Yusup Raisov is a world-class talent at only 24 and has suffered just one loss to former ACB lightweight champion Marat Balaev, who he rematched later on and took the title from. His stand-up is very technical but still explosive. He uses a lot of spinning kicks and flying knees but he throws them so fast that opponents can’t really react quick enough to counter. Raisov is just exceptionally fast and very light on his feet. Raisov moves in and out very well and on the mat he has six submission wins, so he is more than dangerous there as well. But his wrestling is a big weapon for him as he can get takedown after takedown, beating his opponents physically and mentally. He fights Raimundo Batista (12-0), who doesn’t have much footage available.

RCC 7 | Saturday | Russia

Light Heavyweight: Ivan Shtyrkov (17-0-1)

Ivan 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 arm-bar, something uncommon for the big guys. He will make his middleweight debut against Yasubey Enomoto (19-11). The ‘Ural Hulk’ was briefly under contract to the UFC earlier this year, but ran into USADA troubles.

Featherweight: Armen Gulyan (8-0)

Armen Gulyan is a solid prospect out of Russia who as a kid took part in Combat Sambo and Judo. Guylan also has some experience in boxing but thus far in his MMA career, he hasn’t displayed that. He is a beast of a wrestler who is excellent at shooting single legs and using foot sweeps against the cage. Gulyan is dominant on top as he’s very physically strong and a danger to finish with ground and pound and submissions. He really likes to get the crucifix position and unload punches/elbows. His competition hasn’t looked good but he looks very skilled. He fights Aleksandr Osetrov (5-1-1).

We Love MMA 51 | Saturday | Germany

Welterweight: Adrian Zeitner (7-1)

Still a bit raw on the feet, Germany’s Adrian Zeitner is a dangerous athlete on the mat. He shoots a good single leg but he will at times shoot from too far away. He is clearly comfortable fighting off his back. Zeitner has a 100% finish rate with all finishes coming on the ground. Six of those have come by submission from a RNC and triangle chokes. Solid BJJ but still green as he still is only 23-years old. He fights Marcel Quitsch (7-4).

  FightStar Championship 19 | Saturday | UK

Featherweight, Farid Basharat (4-0)

A product out of a good camp in London Shootfighters, Farid Basharart has some potential. On the feet, he fights comfortably with his hands low relying on counters. He also switches stances frequently and uses a lot of backward movement. Basharat on the feet mainly fights in bursts throwing many flying knees, that said he takes a lot of risks. He’s stronger on the mat and to get it there he has a good single leg and trips along the cage. Jiu-jitsu is his best weapon even if that is just with control or winning important scrambles. He fights Nicolae Mezdrea (0-2)

EFC Worldwide 83 | Saturday | South Africa

Middleweight: Dricus Du Plessis (12-1)

Dricus Du Plessis is only 25-years-old. His only losses are to former UFC fighter Garreth McLellan and top prospect Roberto Soldic who he beat first, under the KSW banner. He is a good wrestler, with eight of his twelve wins coming by submission all by some form of choke. So his ability to get the back is very good and he can drop for a guillotine and lock it up in an instant. He is a South African K-1 kickboxing champion who has been improving on the feet as well. He fights Brendan Lesar (3-0).

Flyweight: Amanda Lino (4-1)

Fighting out of Ballito, Durban, South Africa, Amanda Lino is the best female prospect out of the nation in my opinion. Lino is the Extreme Fighting Championship Worldwide (EFC) flyweight and bantamweight champion. Lino may only have five fights as a professional but went 6-0 as an amateur. The talent in South Africa isn’t too challenging but features a fun fighting style. She fights Manon Fiorot (1-1) at flyweight.

Krepost Fighting Championship | Saturday | Russia

Featherweight: Magomed Yunisulau (7-0)

Magomed Yunisulau doesn’t have much to offer on the feet other than an overhand and a good one-two. What he does do well is strike to close the distance. The Russian has solid wrestling and is outstanding on top. His timing on his takedowns to his top control is perfectly done. Once he gets the takedown Yunisulau’s not coming off. He has active ground and pound, which could be his best aspect. Not only active but intelligent going to the body and head. He’s not the most exciting fighter but a very dominant one. He fights Marcos Rodrigues (16-4).

Ares FC 1 | Saturday | Senegal

Middleweight, Glenn Sparv (21-6)

Glenn Sparv is a bull once the bell rings as he will walk his opponent backward to close the distance. Sparv has good Muay Thai but is excellent at getting the fight to the mat. As his grappling and scrambles are good, Sparv is very dominant on top with active ground and pound. He fights Gregory Babene (19-11).

Featherweight: Joanderson Brito (11-2-1)

Brazilian Joanderson Brito has been on a roll since his last loss in 2015, going 10-0-1 in his last eleven fights. Brito is a bull walking his foes down and throwing huge looping hooks with big power. He’s a power striker on the feet but has some good wrestling and better top position to fall back on. Brazil has a lot of good prospects but Brito is one of the ones that really stand out. He fights Asikerbai Jinensibieke (19-8).

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