Weekly MMA Prospect Report: For Those Events Moving Forward, Here’s Who to Look Out For

Robson Gracie Jr Bellator MMA
Robson Gracie Jr. vs. Ameer Bashir Credit: Bellator MMA

Who knows what the MMA landscape is going to look like a week from now. Or a month. ARES FC and KSW have cancelled events in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Combate Americas plans to hold shows in closed studios, with no audience. Other promotions are marching onward, fighting on for the time being.

This edition of the Weekly MMA Prospect Report, with that in mind, is quite frankly subject to change.

Fury FC 43 | Friday | US

Bantamweight: Leomana Martinez (6-1)

Despite a split-decision loss to Dulani Perry, Leomana Martinez has looked very good. He’s a technically sound kickboxer who has some slick hands as well. “Manaboi” fights behind his leg kicks throwing them often and very hard. He has ended a fight with leg kicks but will mix it up as he holds a head kick knockout as well. Martinez hasn’t spent much time on the mat in his pro career but has three arm-bar wins as an amateur. On the feet, though he’s just so good thanks to his speed, counter ability, power, and excellent accuracy and timing. He fights Peter Caballero (7-4).

Bantamweight: Adrian Yanez (10-3)

Adrian Yanez is a good young talent who has only lost to good fighters and is still only 26. His biggest weakness is his takedown defense. It’s not poor, it just takes him time to stuff shots. He only has two submissions but has some credible BJJ to give guys issues. On the feet is where he wants to be mainly; it’s where all of his finishes have come. Yanez has slick boxing that includes head movement, quick hands, going body-head, and excellent placement. I really like the future of this kid. He fights Ricky Turcios (10-2).

LXF 5 | Friday | US

Featherweight: Melsik Baghdasaryan (4-1)

Melsik Baghdasaryan doesn’t have a lot of MMA experience and his competition has been horrible but the potential is there. Baghdasaryan does have a lot of experience in other combat sports, mainly boxing, and kickboxing. He’s competed in the K-1 Grand Prix, is a former WLF World Kick Boxing Champion, and a 3-0 pro boxer. Losing his pro debut he has won his next four. He has got the job done early with a 7, 14, and 9-second finish. Of course, there is still so much we need to see of him though. He fights Ysidro Gutierrez (5-3).

Bellator 241 | Friday | US

Middleweight: Anatoly Tokov (29-3)

Anatoly Tokov is an excellent prospect out of Russia with an impressive record with plenty of experience. Tokov is 22-1 in his last 24 fights as his only loss is to UFC fighter Ramazan Emeev. He does have wins over solid competition including former champion Alexander Shlemenko. With a background in combat sambo, he is a great wrestler and the ground-and-pound he possesses on top is his best aspect. Tokov has heavy hands and is very aggressive with great cardio. Tokov is a major prospect and a possible future Bellator champion. He fights Fabio Aguiar (17-1).

Welterweight: Robson Gracie Jr. (3-0)

Every MMA fan is familiar with the legendary last name Gracie. More and more it seems like a new Gracie is making a slight name for themselves. Robson Gracie Jr. is, of course, most comfortable on the mat as his BJJ is his specialty. All three of his wins have come by submission and all three are a form of a different sub. The Gracia family is known for their jiu-jitsu and no so much on the feet and it looks like Robson doesn’t have a lot to offer standing. He does have excellent jiu-jitsu but does have a lot to show first. He fights Billy Goff (2-2).

Welterweight: Mark Lemminger (10-1)

Mark Lemminger is a wrestling based fighter, and he’s a high level one at that, excelling on the regional scene. He is a physical powerhouse once he gets control in the clinch. He ragdolls guys, making it look like a professional wrestling match the way he slings opponents around. He doesn’t just rely on strength, on his takedowns he uses solid technique as well including inside trip takedowns, outside trip takedowns, and sweeping the legs out on his opponents – all beautifully done. On top, he has fight-ending ground and pound, staying active and always throwing while keeping full control. On the feet, Lemminger doesn’t usually stay striking, as he usually initiates the clinch, but he is getting better and better. He does hit hard, wobbling and even dropping his opponents, but he needs a lot of refining. He fights Ion Pascu (18-10).

 Combate 57 | Friday | US

Flyweight: Juan Puerta (18-6)

Juan Puerta has had a lot of speed bumps in his career but has now hit his stride and is on a seven-fight win streak, the biggest of his career. On the feet, Puerta uses his range well with jabs and knees. He’s much better on the mat, though, using his length. Puerta is a big submission threat with nearly all his fights going that way. He shows how dangerous he is on the mat with his versatile submission attack holding five different submissions. He fights Ivan Lopez (14-4-1).

AFL 23 | Saturday | Spain

Strawweight: Pierangela Rodriguez Giunta (5-0)

Pierangela Rodriguez Giunta is an all-action type fighter who is a fun one to watch. She badly needs to work on her takedown defense as that is by far her weakest area. Rodriguez loves to just throw her hands. In her constant rapid attack, she does hit hard and is pretty accurate. Her aggressive style is one of the reasons she has a 100% finish rate. She fights Samantha Jean-Francois (3-6).

Caged Steel Contenders 2 | Saturday | UK

Bantamweight: Adam Bramhald (8-2)

Adam Bramhald has some experience in kickboxing going 4-0 in K1. Only losing to good fighters in Luke Shanks and Scott Malone, at just 25, he has a promising future. On the feet, he’s very technical and throws a lot of output. Bramhald is dynamic and does a great job throwing with his punches and kicks. Not the most powerful but has everything else. He fights Francisco Javier Asprilla Martinez (14-13-1).