Weekly MMA Prospect Report: European Talent in Abundance

Bellator Newcastle Fabian Edwards
Fabian Edwards Credit: Bellator MMA

Bellator Euro Series 8 | Saturday | UK

Middleweight, Fabian Edwards (9-0)

Edwards has excellent distance management, using effective footwork and speed to stay on the outside. Edwards throws single strikes at times but makes up for it with crazy explosiveness and athleticism, as well as his speed. That allows him to fire straight punches quickly and with plenty of power. He’s also the younger brother of UFC welterweight contender Leon Edwards. He fights Costello van Steenis (12-2) who is a stiff test.

Lightweight, Alfie Davis (13-3)

Davis’ ground game has improved greatly throughout his career. He is dangerous off his back with submissions or just simply sweeping his opponent. Being on his back at times, he has never been in trouble and he always works his way back to his feet very quickly. On the feet, he is a treat to watch, as everything is set up with his sublime kickboxing. His kickboxing is very dynamic, always throwing a variety of kicks and attacks with every limb of the body, always feinting and switching stances, showing excellent footwork with crazy speed. Davis doesn’t usually box enough, but his kickboxing, staying on the outside and keeping his opponent guessing, is good enough. His last two losses have been fights he could have won. He fights Akonne Wanliss (4-1).

Lightweight, Akonne Wanliss (4-1)

The record may not pop out to you but there is no doubt Wanliss is a good fighter. He stands at 6’1″ and does a good job fighting long with the jab and heavy kicks. He’s a powerful athletic guy on the feet and is just as dangerous on the mat. Wanliss has solid jiu-jitsu even off his back. He’s dangerous locking in subs with his long limbs. He fights Alfie Davis (13-3).

Light heavyweight, Luke Trainer (3-0)

Luke Trainer might be only 3-0 but he earned his way to the Bellator cage as he will debut later this year. John Kavanagh hosted an eight-man one-night tournament for the winner to get an exclusive deal with Bellator MMA. Trainer won the tournament and looked good doing it. The physical specimen standing at 6’6″ has all the tools to make an impact in the 205-pound division. He fights Alex O’Toole (4-3-1).

Rizin 24 | Sunday | Japan

Lightweight, Koji Takeda (10-1)

Takeda has one sole loss to former UFC fighter Damien Brown. Since then he’s got back on the board with two wins. Takeda is the current DEEP Impact lightweight champion with two title defenses. He’s well-rounded with submission wins and TKO wins, although he has gone the distance five times. On the feet, Takeda has an excellent jab and fights behind it very well. He doesn’t have the power, but it’s the accumulation of strikes he lands which is fantastic. He’s just so technical on the feet and is also a good wrestler/grappler and can do it the whole distance of the fight. He fights Yuki Kawana (16-4-5).

Flyweight, Kai Asakura (15-2)

Kai Asakura has excellent striking with a lot of power in his hands, especially for a flyweight. He is explosive, athletic, quick, and his accuracy is amazing. The Japanese fighter also has good TDD and solid counter wrestling, with the ability to take the back and get the choke. He holds seven KO/TKOs with three submissions and has shown he can neutralize an opponent with his wrestling if needed. He is one of the best flyweights and win over Kyoji Horiguchi which is huge. He fights Shoji Maruyama (18-12-1).

Strawweight, Rena Kubota (10-3)

RENA is a professional kick/shootboxer with all the credentials in the world. Kubota is the 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2014 shootboxing champion, with a record of 23-5. RENA’s MMA career is still burgeoning but has looked very impressive with her striking, kickboxing and surprisingly her submissions skills. Impressively, Rena has hit two submissions already. A flying armbar and a cravat choke. She fights Emi Tomimatsu (15-6).