Weekly MMA Prospect Report: European Talent in Abundance

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Islam Mmedov def. Ylies Djiroun
Islam Mamedov def. Ylies Djiroun Credit: PFL

The United Kingdom’s Cage Warriors, plus Bellator’s European Series, factors big in why so many MMA prospects from Europe are in action this week. So with no further ado, let’s take a look at the wealth of prospects in action this week.

Cage Warriors 114 | Thursday | UK

Flyweight, Luke Shanks (6-1)

Shanks is an aggressive fighter who is a wrestler first. On the feet, Shanks hits hard but everything he does is to close the distance. With strong wrestling, he has a strong top position. He has solid ground and pound and early in his pro career, he started 3-0 with three submission wins. Shanks has a deep gas tank and that is where his pressure has just broken opponents so far. He fights the champ, Samir Faiddine (11-6).

Flyweight, Jake Hadley (5-0)

Hadley is only 5-0 as a pro but in his amateur career, he was successful and was a 4x amateur British flyweight champion. When Hadley was only 3-0 as a pro he fought a top prospect in Nkazimulo Zulu. Hadley beat him for the EFC Worldwide Flyweight Championship. Hadley hasn’t really had much time on the feet, but it seems he knows what to do if he can’t get the fight to the mat. Hadley is a good wrestler but it’s his jiu-jitsu that is his best aspect. His transitions are smooth and his ability to take the back is superb. He’s a big submission threat with nine career submissions. He fights Shajidul Haque (10-4) who is a good test.

Lightweight, Oban Elliott (3-0)

Elliott is 3-0 as a pro, and he went 7-0 as an amateur as well. The story of Elliott for the main part has been him closing the distance, getting the fight down, and finishing the fight. On the feet, Elliott is a bit raw but does have solid wretling getting it down from upper bodylocks mainly, showing his physical strength. He has some excellent jiu-jitsu gliding on top and is continuesly looking for the finish. Some big ground and pound is also in his arsenal and that helps soften up the opponent to get the sub. A bright young prospect to watch for. He fights Michal Figlak (2-0).

Brave CF 42 | Thursday | Bahrain

Flyweight, Abdul Hussein (7-1)

Hussein won the 2016 IMMAF world championship gold medal in the bantamweight division. He is well rounded being dangerous both on the feet and on the mat. On the feet, he will need to tuck his chin better and keep his hands up higher, mind you. He really picks his shots on the feet being very conservative with his energy but has good accuracy with everything he throws, mixing it up well. Hussein is a decent wrestler but his work on the mat is better as he has good jiu-jitsu and some brutal elbows in his ground and pound. He fights former UFC/Bellator veteran Zach Makovsky (21-9).

UAE Warriors 13 | Abu Dhabi | Friday

Heavyweight, Chi Lewis-Parry (8-0-2)

Chi Lewis-Parry may be 37-years-old but at heavyweight, you can get away with being a bit older. Outside of MMA, Lewis-Parry has competed in kickboxing, most notably in Glory beating current UFC fighter Maurice Greene. He has a few ground and pound stoppages but obviously is more comfortable on the feet. Lewis-Parry is towering at 6’9″ which makes him a tough target to hit. He has a laser counter right hand which is his best weapon. He has a lot of holes like his takedown defense and cardio but has still yet to face defeat. Despite all the faults Chi has he’s still a dangerous guy. He fights Fábio Maldonado (26-14) who is past his prime but remains the toughest test for Parry to date.

Lightweight, Kyung Pyo Kim (9-2)

In the last four years, Kyung Pyo Kim has only lost one fight. That loss was to now current UFC fighter Arman Tsarukyan. Now Kim is on a three-fight win streak, winning the Heat lightweight title is his last outing. His sole game plan is to get the fight to the mat and to do so he cuts off the cage well and executes some good wrestling. In the grappling department he is tactical using submissions to move to dominant positions. Kim is a good submission threat and has fight-ending ground and pound. He fights Islam Mamedov (18-1-1).

Lightweight, Islam Mamedov (18-1-1)

A top-level wrestler, Mamedov finds the takedown naturally, and on top, he is as good as it gets. He sticks like glue, he moves well and is even excellent at taking the back. His ground-and-pound is very solid — not heavy strikes but constant strikes. Once Mamedov gets the separation, he has a good submission game. On the feet, he is explosive, and he lunges forward with hooks and flying knees. He has power but his ground game is where he is best. He fights Kyung Pyo Kim (9-2).

Flyweight, Casey O’Neill (4-0)

When it comes to young up-and-comers, Casey O’Neill is one of the best. From Scottland, O’Neill has fought her entire pro and amateur career in Australia. In her latest fight, she won the Eternal MMA Strawweight Championship. O’Neill also fights out of an excellent camp in Tiger Muay Thai. O’Neill on the feet is a good striker from range throwing some powerful straights. She throws a lot of volume and is always trowing more than one strike. Her wrestling still needs work and her takedown defense is her biggest flaw. O’Neill is comfortable on the mat whether that’s on top or bottom. She has some really slick jiu-jitsu, probably being her best weapon. She fights Christina Stelliou (6-3).

Heavyweight, Chris Barnett (20-6)

Barnett may be looked down on considering his physique but he is one of the most agile big men seen. He’s had a few bad losses but has a few good wins including a win over currtent heavyweight contender Walt Harris. Barnett is a showman who will throw a variety of kicks. I would label him as a veteran but he still hasn’t had any big show experience. He’s not a great fighter but is super fun to watch. He fights vetertan Oli Thompson who beat Chris back in 2015.

Flyweight, Manon Fiorot (3-1)

Fiorot may only have a few MMA fights but before transitioning to MMA she spent time in boxing and karate. In fact, she was a two-time French kickboxing and Karate champion and was the IMMAF 2017 amateur world champion in 2017. Fiorot is the current EFC Worldwide Flyweight champion beating a solid fighter in Amanda Lino. Her karate style is immediately noticeable with her sideways stance, throwing with a high velocity of kicks. She puts her strikes and kicks together perfectly and is always throwing first. Foirot has a diverse skill set, in addition to striking she will use wrestling and pound out her foes from there. She fights Naomi Tataroglu (2-2).

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