Weekly MMA Prospect Report: Brave, Bellator, and Beyond

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Denise Kielholtz Bellator
Denise Kielholtz Credit: Bellator MMA

Brave CF hits Bahrain on Thursday, while Bellator has two more cards from Milan, Italy this week. Let’s get started with the Weekly MMA Prospect report.

Brave CF 43 | Thursday | Bahrain

Featherweight, Akhmed Shervaniev (14-1-1)

Shervaniev is a part of Akhmat Fight Club with the likes of many top Russian prospects. Shervaniev has four submission wins but he really wants to keep the fight on the feet and his excellent takedown defense really helps that. On the feet, you can always see him switching stances and throwing more than one strike. While he can be too patient at times, he is very accurate and quick. I really like everything Shervaniev does and I think he has a bright future. He fights Arman Popal (5-2).

Bantamweight, Bernardo Sopai (8-1)

Sopai is a product out of Allstars Gym Sweeden which is a fantastic team. Crazy enough, Sopai is only 20-years-old and a complete fighter already. On the feet, he has a muay thai background. The Albanian is a solid striker with excellent kicks and slick short combinations. He doesn’t really have knockout power but does throw a lot of volume and gives a lot of different looks. I’ve been impressed with the wrestling from the setups, speed, and his ability to slam guys to the mat. Sopai has three wins by submission and overall his grappling could be where he’s best at. This kid is a major problem with a bright future. He fights Gerson Pereira (12-7).

Featherweight, Anzor Abdulkhozhaev (10-1)

Anzor Abdulkhozhaev has just one loss as a pro; that was a little over four years ago. Now, Abdulkhozhaev is on a seven-fight win streak. On the feet, Anzor is a distance striker throwing at his preferred range. He throws a good one-two and good right hand. He frequently switches stances to give different looks. Anzor has some decent wrestling as well and has a dangerous guillotine choke. His takedown defense needs work though moving forward. He fights Soheil Davoodi (8-1).

Bellator 247 | Thurday | Italy

Middleweight, Norbert Novenyi (4-0)

Novenyi is only 4-0 as a pro but had some experience as an amateur at 3-0 as well. He is a Hungarian, but he trains out of a top camp in the UK, London Shootfighters. Novenyi is primarily wrestler that has slick jiu-jitsu with three career submissions. He hasn’t stayed on the feet too much but has some nice footwork and a good kicking attack along with nicely cut angles showing his training with the London Shootfighters. The cardio does worry me so it will be interesting to see the longer his fight goes. He fights Laïd Zerhouni (7-5).

Flyweight, Denise Kielholtz (5-2)

Despite only a 5-2 MMA record Denise Kielholtz is well-accomplished in other combat sports. She has a ton of experience in kickboxing (17-2) including winning the Bellator flyweight championship. Also, Denise has spent some time in Judo being a member of the 2008 Dutch Team Championships. Despite being well versed on the feet Kielholtz in her MMA career has three submission wins. She’s a good counter striker clipping her opponent coming in and finishing on the mat. She fights Kate Jackson (11-4-1).

Welterweight, Justin Burlinson (5-0)

Burlinson may be only 5-0 as a pro but this 23-year-old has a lot of experience as he went 15-1 as an amateur. Burlinson is a well-rounded talent that needs a little sharpening around the edges with takedown defense and at times, his striking. He has knockout power and good striking fundamentals but is better on the ground with effective jiu-jitsu. He’s a big threat with submissions holding thirteen career wins by that method. He fights Bobby Pallett (5-0).

Flyweight, Mandy Böhm (6-0)

From Germany, Mandy Bohm trains out of Straight Blast Ireland under John Kavanagh. On the feet, she’s good and long, throwing a variety of kicks. Bohm is solid in the clinch with Muay Thai along with some nasty elbows she uses often. She’s even better on the mat with exceptional wrestling to get it there. Still raw but has the talent. She fights Griet Eeckhout (5-3-1).

Welterweight, Uroš Jurišič (10-0)

Fighting out of Slovenia, Uros Jurisic is a savage of a fighter. He hasn’t fought in a while but has some good wins on his record including a win over Jose Caceres for the Titan FC title. Jurisic is a heavy handed wild man who will explode forward throwing heavy leather. He will draw guys in and then sling with some bad intention with everything he throws. Not just a striker, Jurisic has a good ground game as well with nasty ground and pound and some overall underrated grappling. He fights Walter Gahadza (10-0).

Bellator Euro Series 9 | Saturday | Italy

Featherweight, James Gallagher (10-1)

Gallagher fights at a karate stance but is a solid kickboxer. Gallagher is very unpredictable with his kicks he goes to the legs, body, and head and throws spinning kicks and throws with some heat. Even though he is so good on the feet, all of his best work is on the mat. James has very good wrestling and movement on the mat, he can get dominant positions, rain down ground and pound, and go for the chokes. He fights Cal Ellenor (8-2).

Welterweight, Kiefer Crosbie (8-1)

Crosbie is a product out of the Straight Blast Gym in Ireland, who has really turned his pro career around after a back-and-forth amateur career going 6-6. Crosbie isn’t great anywhere but he has some good qualities. His takedown defense could need some work but he is decent off his back. He could throw more on the feet but he does hit hard. What Crosbie does the best is land massive elbows as he has shown on the feet and on the mat. He also has some good clinch work. He still needs work but there has been a definite improvement. He fights Charlie Leary (16-11-1).

Lightweight, Robin van Roosmalen (2-0)

Robin van Roosmalen is a Dutch kickboxer who is a former Glory featherweight and lightweight champion. Roosmalen has a kickboxing record of 51-18. So far in his short MMA career, his takedown defense has been tested. He’s been taken down twice but in his second fight, it improved a lot. RVR is obviously dangerous on the feet showing one-punch knockout power, heavy kicks, and excellent shot selection. He fights Nauzet Trujillo (0-0).

EMMA 17 | Saturday | Ecuador

Welterweight, Michael Morales (9-0)

I will go on record to state that I’m not sold on Morales due to his poor level of competition. Morales is a tall welterweight at 6’3″ using his length well. He throws good leg kicks and long straight strikes. He does hold his hands low but he’s comfortable with his distance control. Morales doesn’t have the power but does have the output and volume. He fights Ricardo Centeno (6-5).

Featherweight, Aaron Cañarte (4-0)

Canarte is undefeated as a pro and went undefeated as an amateur going 5-0. Outside of MMA, Canarte has competed in kickboxing fighting for WGP. He has lights out power in his hands and some heavy kicks as well. He’s well-versed on the feet throwing together kicks and punches together. I’m not fully sold on him due to his lack of competition but his technical ability is good enough to keep an eye on. He fights Alex Fermin Cunuhay (1-3).

ACA 112 | Sunday | Russia

Flyweight, Imran Bukuev (11-1)

A product out of Akhmat Fight Club, Bukuev is a potential world-class flyweight prospect to keep your eyes on. Bukuev is at his best with his wrestling, where he is extremely strong, and the work on the mat is even better. He has five submissions including a flying triangle. Sometimes he can be a bit too flashy on the feet with one too many flying knees but he is very quick and moves very well. He fights Azamat Pshukov (6-1).

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