Bantamweight, Herbeth ‘Indio’ Sousa (15-1): In 2019, Brazilian-based promotion Future Fighting Championships came bursting onto the regional MMA scene in South America. By the end of the calendar year, the promotion gained massive credibility amongst the community. The overall level of talent across its roster was a large reason as to why, and on July 26 of last year, it crowned its first bantamweight champion. Known as ‘Indio’, Herbeth Reis de Sousa was crowned Future FC 135 pound king nearly 7 months prior to claiming another prestigious promotional prize, that being the CFFC title following an impressive win over Alexander Keshtov. Sousa is 15-1 as a professional and has finished 12 of his wins at a blistering 80% clip. Sousa relies heavily on his grappling prowess against his opponents and is a high-level finisher proving excellent at finding the tap once he smells blood. Look for the 26-year old Brazilian to break into the big stage sooner rather than later.
Welterweight, Mason Jones (9-0): Looking to follow in the footsteps of the quartet of fellow Welshmen that landed in the UFC by way of Cage Warriors is undefeated 25-year old Mason Jones. Jones debuted professionally in 2017 at 22 years old following a short-lived stint on the pro boxing scene in which he went 3-0. To parlay with his highly-trained skillset on the feet, Jones carries a dangerous array of tools on the mat as well. Jones has proven capable of winning no matter where the fight goes or how the fight plays out and is certainly ready to challenge for the 170-pound throne for the popular European promotion.
Middleweight, Salamu Abdurakhmanov (12-1): One of the more underrated commodities in all of the regional MMA scene comes in the form of a 185-pound fighter from Grozny named Salamu Abdurakhmanov. Abdurakhmanov currently reigns as the ACA Middleweight champion, having defended the title once and having won seven straight overall with five coming by finish. Abdurakhmanov is exceptionally strong for the division and has no issues dominating his opponents in close quarters. Look for the Russian to be on the shortlist of UFC signees in 2020.
Heavyweight, Anatoly Malykhin (7-0): Filling out the entirety of the heavyweight allowance in the form of a physical specimen, Russian heavyweight Anatoly Malykhin has carved out a perfect finishing rate to begin his career. Despite being 32 years old only seven fights into a professional career, Malykhin is exceptionally quick and has made short time of his sample size in the cage by finishing all seven of his opponents inside of two rounds. Malykhin’s most notable win came in March of last year, a win by keylock submission over PFL Heavyweight contestant Jake Heun that took just 1:45 to come to fruition.
Featherweight, Salahdine Parnasse (14-0-1): Saving the most critically acclaimed for last, at least from this writer’s vantage point, I bring you the 22-year old native Frenchmen that could very well be the top prospect in the sport of mixed martial arts today. Having debuted at just 17 years old, Salahdine Parnasse found his way into feature Polish promotion KSW after racking up a 9-0-1 record, all by the time he was just 20 years old. Parnasse claimed interim featherweight gold by stopping Roman Szymanski last April and is certainly a shoe-in to fight current undefeated undisputed champion Mateusz Gamrot once his lightweight championship dust is settled with Norman Parke. Parnasse is as impressive a fighter you will find on tape outside of the UFC in my opinion, and the immediate future of his career is one this journalist will be keeping a watchful eye on