MMA Prospect Watch: The Most Impressive Fighters from June

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Jaylon Bates, Bellator 256 weigh-in
Jaylon Bates Credit: Bellator MMA

Bantamweight, Jaylon Bates (3-0)

Bates has always been impressive but this performance was his best yet. In between two rounds Bates landed many takedowns. Though his opponent did a great job getting back to his feet Bates continued to just out-wrestle him. Bates was landing some nasty ground and pound as well. He landed some good shots as well on the feet including a flying knee in the second round. In round two Bates moved to mount and transitioned to a nasty armbar for the tap.
Grade: A+

Light heavyweight, Christian Edwards (5-0)

Edwards looked solid here against another solid prospect in Simon Biyong and won all three rounds. Biyong is mainly a wrestler and the only time he got Edwards to the mat is when he kicked his leg out from underneath him. Edwards threw up a triangle though and quickly escaped. Edwards had Biyong in trouble at the end of round one dropping him with a knee in the clinch. Throughout the fight, Edwards landed nicely at range and in the clinch defended every takedown, and controlled the position.
Grade: B+

Lightweight, Pavel Gordeev (18-2)

This was a fun competitive fight between Gordeev and Brazil’s Denis Silva. Throughout three rounds Silva was the one walking forward. Silva had a lot of success on the feet but mainly was walking into the textbook jab of Gordeev. Russia’s Gordeev was firing that jab frequently and countering Silva with the one-two. When Gordeev was putting his hands together it was in combinations. Gordeev did buckle Silva with a right hand in the third which was the biggest moment of the fight.
Grade: A

Bantamweight, Braian Gonzalez (8-1)

This was all cruise control from Gonzalez. His opponent wasn’t on his level, and it showed. Gonzalez controlled the fight as he constantly set the tone. He would cut the cage off on his opponent to rip combinations and step right out of the way. He kept putting his foe against the cage and firing off with output. Every time his opponent tried to press Gonzelez had his number countering him. There were only brief moments on the mat and it was Gonzalez on top. After all the damage accumulated, his opponent was done on the stool.
Grade: B-

Welterweight, Mahmoud Fawzy Sebie (2-0)

Sebie wasted no time getting in and out. He rushed across the cage with a jumping knee and a big takedown. While in half guard Sebie posted up and unloaded with ferocious elbows. All his opponent could do was curl up and take it and the ref quickly came in to stop the fight.
Grade: B-

Featherweight, Jorge Alcala (5-1)

Alcala looked great as he literally bullied a man from start to finish. He got the easy takedown seconds into the fight. Alcala was jumping through the guard and aggressively transitioning to side control. He was landing short punches and looking for the opening while staying very heavy on top. He did have an anaconda choke that was very tight. His opponent escaped but soon after Alcala took the back and finished with the RNC. That’s now four RNC’s in a row.
Grade: B+

Welterweight, Pete Rodriguez (4-0)

Rodriguez is a power puncher so his opponent tried right away to take him down. He did get the fight to the mat but Rodriguez was on top. He was happy with being there until Rodriguez landed a few hard shots. They got back to the feet and that was a big mistake for the other guy. Rodriguez landed a right uppercut/left hand dropping him and the follow-up shots sent the ref in. Savage finish. All his wins have been finishes by first-round KO/TKO.
Grade: B-

Welterweight, Jonny Parsons (7-2)

Parsons fought a tough Mexican Ricardo Chavez who took it to him. Chavez was unloading output with a lot kicks and straight punches. Parsons never faded and kept his composure. He would counter Parsons at times catching kicks and firing back. In round two after Chavez landed a flurry, Parsons landed a beautiful inside sweep. Parsons landed some good ground and pound before the fight got back to the feet. Off the break, Parsons landed a glancing head kick on the chin which was enough to drop Chavez for the finish.
Grade: B-

Flyweight, Amanda Serrano (2-0-1)

Serrano made her return to MMA in June. Anyone who watches boxing knows who Serrano is as she’s a staple of women’s boxing. In this fight, she fought another striker but she was just on another level. Serrano got right to work throwing out her right jab and straight left hand. She was touching up her opponent forcing her to shoot and Serrano finished with a standing guillotine. Both her MMA wins have come by submission.
Grade: B

Lightweight, Roberto de Souza (12-1)

This was the biggest win of Souza’s career. He beat Rizin lightweight tournament champion Tofiq Musayev who is an outstanding fighter. Souza took no time trying to get this fight to the mat. He didn’t get it the first time. The second shot he made he decided to jump guard to his back. Musayev was now on top and Souza quickly locked in a triangle to get a quick tap. Awesome performance and now Souza is the new (and inaugural) Rizin lightweight champion.
Grade: A+

Heavyweight, Hasan Yousefi (7-4-1)

Yousefi came into the fight fighting a top prospect in AMC champion Armen Petrosyan. Yousefi wasn’t looked at as much of a challenge but a first-round stoppage showed he was the better prospect. In an exchange early, Yousefi dropped Petrosyan with a left-right hook. Yousefi pounced with hammer fists putting Petrosyan away.
Grade: B+

Middleweight, David Barkhudaryan (13-3)

Moving his win streak to seven Barkhudaryan did so against 43-fight veteran Vyacheslav Vasilevskiy. For the most part it was a chess match and a gauge of distance. Barkhudaryan did a good job moving and snapping out the jab. He ended up landing a short left hook stunning Vasilevskiy. Barkhudaryan capitalized with a flurry and sat him down with a right hand. Some extra punches sent the ref in.
Grade: B- 

Bantamweight, Umar Kunakbiev (6-0)

Kunakbiev jumped out to me for the first time in this fight. He started out with a bit of flash on the feet throwing a showtime kick off the cage and a switch kick that barely missed. He landed a nice knee and kicked out the leg underneath his opponent. From there it was all over. Kunakbiev landed some ground and pound before getting into mount. His opponent escaped but Kunakbiev stayed on the back partially. Without the hooks, he sunk in the RNC and then got the hooks and got the tap.
Grade: A

Featherweight, Alejandro Flores (18-3)

Flores handed an undefeated Teo Londoño his first loss. Londoño was the guy coming forward a lot but was getting his lead leg chopped. Flores with a straight right dropped Londoño. On Londoño’s way back to his feet he took a lot of big shots. When they got back up and separated Flores landed a beautiful left-right hook to the body backing Londoño up. With blood in the water Flores landed a flying knee, a knee in the clinch, and a right hand putting Londoño out like a light. Savage finishing sequence.

Welterweight, Islam Dulatov (5-1)

Dulatov moved to five consecutive wins with this victory. From the start, this was a complete mismatch as Dulatov was the much larger fighter. He picked apart his opponent at range with a constant jab. He would catch his foe coming in and throw in the step in knees. Dulatov picked it up in the second round with a flurry dropping him and the ref stopped the fight. Very one-sided.
Grade: C+

Middleweight, Christian Leroy Duncan (4-0)

This was a rematch between two good prospects in Duncan and Will Currie. Duncan won the first fight and he won this fight as well. Currie won round one as Duncan slipped to the canvas. Currie had a heel hook in which was tight but it wasn’t enough. To start round two off Currie got another takedown. Duncan quickly reversed and got top position. From that point out Duncan was defending every takedown and winning the scrambles. Duncan easily was ahead on the feet landing the kicks while showing his flashy style. He even dropped Currie in the second with a spinning elbow. All Duncan in rounds two and three.
Grade: A-

Welterweight, Jesse Urholin (7-0)

Urholin made his Cage Warriors debut against promotion veteran Aaron Khalid. Despite a head kick that dropped Khalid in round two, Urholin dominated on the mat. Urholin would get the takedowns and once on top dominated every moment there. He controlled the position while staying active with ground and pound.
Grade: B

Lightweight, George Hardwick (7-1)

Back from a 2-0 run in Bellator Hardwick made his return to Cage Warriors. Long-time Cage Warriors veteran Dean Trueman was the opponent and was picked apart. Hardwick stayed up-right and picked his shots. He was landing at will and throwing some slick combinations. He was landing in the clinch and landing some nice elbows off the break. Hardwick mixed it up very well kicking the leg and punching the head. The bodywork throughout the fight started to add up visibly hurting Trueman. In round two he landed a left uppercut dropping Trueman right away and the ref stepped in.
Grade: A

Featherweight, Harry Hardwick (7-3)

In round one Hardwick and Jean N’Doye were exchanging and Hardwick was dropped with a left hand. That worked up Hardwick as he took over from there for the most part. Hardwick was landing a variety of output mixing it up. He went to the body frequently and was throwing a lot of kicks in combinations. He nearly won with a guillotine choke and wobbled N’Doye with a right hand in round two. He won the decision fairly off much more offense.
Grade: B

Bantamweight, Nathan Fletcher (6-0)

England’s Fletcher continues to build his resume beating another good fighter in Brian Bouland. From the start, Fletcher was all over the takedowns. He took Bouland down first after catching a kick and another time grabbing a leg and sweeping out the other underneath. Bouland kept doing a good job working to his feet but Fletcher continued to be relentless. Bouland tried to use a kimura to separate but Fletcher used it to grab a leg and get his third takedown. From there Bouland got to his feet again with Fletcher on his back. He snuck in an RNC and Bouland tapped. Methodical dominant work.
Grade: A+

Welterweight, Justin Burlinson (6-0)

Burlinson had the toughest test of his career against Frenchman David Bear. Bear was 9-1 and he was looking good in this fight. Bear quickly took Burlinson down and kept top position. Burlinson off his back did everything right. Every time Bear passed guard Burlinson regained full guard. Burlinson with a minute left in the round got back to his feet, took Bear down right into the mount, and landed some ground and pound. Bear couldn’t take Burlinson down in round two and the Englishman started to take over. Burlinson sat Bear down with a right hand and elbows on top sent the ref in. I was so impressed with his composure in there while taking on a dangerous opponent.
Grade: B

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