With the PFL and Bellator in action this week, it’s a one-two combo for MMA prospects starting Thursday night!
PFL #3 | US | Friday
Heavyweight, Renan Ferreira (6-2)
“Problema” is a giant standing at 6’10” who comes out of Rio de Janeiro, Ferreira through six victories has a perfect finish rate. All those finishes have come by TKO mostly by ground-and-pound. On the feet, he does hit hard, has heavy leg kicks, and a good jab. Ferreira, a problem on the mat being such a big guy, does not let up with his heavy ground strikes. His wrestling isn’t great but he uses his size to get the fight down. He fights MMA legend Fabrício Werdum (24-9-1).
Lightweight, Kayla Harrison (8-0)
Harrison is a very accomplished grappler who won the gold medal in judo at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and gold at the 2011 and 2015 Pan-American Games. Along with that she is the last year’s PFL million-dollar winner. The judo practitioner also holds a black belt in judo and has won two national championships. Harrison has been dominant thus far in her MMA career. Her wrestling and her judo has been on full display and once on top, she’s a nightmare. Harrison is just dominant on top. Her grappling is high level and is both a submission threat and has fight-stopping ground and pound. She looks unstoppable. She fights Mariana Morais (16-10).
Heavyweight, Mohammed Usman (7-1)
Usman certainly has hype behind him as he is a natural athlete, playing football growing up parallel to being a top wrestler in his high school. Mohammed is the younger brother of UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman so athleticism and talent run in the family. With each fight, Usman has gotten better and better. Usman is a guy who you don’t want on top of you. While his wrestling struggled in the past he’s gotten better. He’s still raw but has potential. He fights Brandon Sayles (5-1).
Heavyweight, Ante Delija (17-3)
The Croatian has decent hand speed and power but he wastes no time before shooting for the takedown. Delija is a physical powerhouse and has thrown other big dudes around like nothing. He’s a huge 6’4″ athlete as well and that shows when he clinches up. He has actual solid wrestling not just with strong body locks but clasping his hands behind the legs and dumping guys on their ass. Once on the mat, he has a strong top position and has solid grappling skills. Delija hasn’t had a submission in years but stills hold seven submission wins. He’s someone you don’t wanna give a limb or give up a position because he will take it. What sets him apart is he has excellent ground and pound as he can maul guys making life hard. He fights Bruno Henrique Cappelozza (10-5).
Combate Global | US | Thursday
Flyweight, Juan Puerta (21-6)
Puerta has had a lot of speed bumps in his career but has now hit his stride and is on a ten-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 submission wins. He fights Lloyd McKinney (14-7).
Lux Fight League 13 | Mexico | Friday
Lightweight, Daniel Zellhuber (10-0)
At only 21-years-old, there will for sure be way more to learn for Daniel Zellhuber, but at this point in his career, Zellhuber has looked darn good. The Mexican has a tall lanky build at 6’1″ making him a huge lightweight. While he does use his length at times, he’s more of a Muay Thai fighter. Zellhuber has excellent clinch work with knees and elbows. He has had some problems with his takedown defense though. Still, he does have a decent rubber guard, and is a promising young man with lots of time to develop. He fights (4-1).
FAC 8 | US | Friday
Welterweight, Mikey England (4-0)
England wrestled at Iowa State and Missouri. He trains out of Glory MMA and is 8-0 combined as a pro and amateur, with all those wins coming by KO/TKO. The excitement he brings is directly a result of planning to either knock you out with huge power in his hands or elevate you and slam you to the mat. England has already fought through adversity a few times and it’s his wrestling that bails him out. Not only his wrestling but the bricks in his hands spell danger. He fights Chel Erwin-Davis (5-3).
Bellator 258 | US | Friday
Light heavyweight, Jose Augusto Azevedo (7-2)
Azevedo made an impression in his last fight submitting former UFC fighter Jonathan Wilson. On the feet, Azevedo throws long strikes and will keep at his preferred range using a lot of front kicks and will attack the legs. On the mat on top or off his back is where he’s most comfortable. Azevedo only has two submissions but is always throwing up, setting up, or attempting subs. There is still a lot that he needs to prove. He fights the well-known Anthony Johnson (22-6). It’s probably a big step too soon for Azevedo.
Bantamweight, Raufeon Stots (15-1)
Stots is a former NCAA Division II national champion in wrestling at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. The only loss on his MMA record came to current UFC bantamweight contender Merab Dvalishvili. Stots is a fantastic wrestler but his stand-up has come along nicely with some good Muay Thai and a developing jab. Still, the Roufusport product is primarily a wrestler. His timing on his shots is excellent and the execution is perfect. It’s going to take a good fighter to beat Stots and to neutralize his wrestling. He fights Josh Hill (20-3).
Middleweight, Johnny Eblen (7-0)
Eblen has a background as a Division I wrestler for the University of Missouri and he’s absolutely dominated with takedowns in MMA thus far. On the feet, Eblen bounces in and out throwing the outside leg kick well. Eblen times his shots very well grabbing the single leg and pressing his opponent against the cage then dropping levels executing the double leg. He’s a relentless wrestler and a drag good one. Eblen’s hands are improving but does more crashing forward to close the distance to work in takedowns. He fights Daniel Madrid (18-6).
EFC 85 | South Africa | Friday
Bantamweight, Faeez Jacobs (7-2)
Jacobs started off with a subpar record at 3-2 before hitting his stride, and is now on a four-fight win streak. In his most recent fight, he beat a solid opponent in Nkazimulo Zulu for the EFC bantamweight title. Before competing in MMA Jacobs dabbled in boxing but more so in kickboxing. In kickboxing, he won an amateur title and two pro titles. On the feet, Jacobs is a good, long striker with snapping front kicks he likes to throw. He has solid Muay Thai as well. His wrestling is good and his scramble ability is also there. Jacobs fights Sylvester Chipfumbu (6-3).