MMA Prospect Watch: The Most Impressive Fighters from July

Cody Law Bellator MMA
Cody Law (right), Bellator 262 Credit: Bellator MMA

July was a busy month for MMA, with all the major promotions back in action. Here’s a look at who stood out in terms of prospects!

Featherweight, Cody Law (4-0)

Law got the job done once again this time with his striking. From the start, he had no feeling-out process as he right away let his hands go. Law was landing frequent combinations as his opponent would just curl up. He let loose with leg kicks, punches, and knees and with the other guy just taking it until the ref just eventually stepped in.
Grade: A

Heavyweight, Eduardo Neves (4-0)

Neves beat and knocked out a guy in Eduardo Silva who is 6’7″ and riding some hype. From the start, it was clear someone was getting knocked out quickly and it was Silva. Neves hit Silva with a right-left-right putting him out before he even dropped to the mat. Neves put him away in under a minute.
Grade: C+

Strawweight, Yasmin Castanho (5-0)

Castanho got a first-round submission handing Maristela Alves her first career loss. Alves did well at first throwing kicks keeping Castanho at bay. She eventually walked Alves down and got the fight to the mat. Quickly she jumped to a position where she has an armbar set up. When she committed to the armbar it looked like Alves was gonna slip out but an adjustment sent her tapping.
Grade: B-

Lightweight, Luan Sardinha (7-0)

Sardinha fought Kaue Fernandes who was an undefeated, highly-touted prospect. Sardinha had a rough round one getting taken down early and fought off his back the entire round. As Fernandes was passing guard very well and had good moment Sardinha did a good job getting the guard back. After the first round, Fernandes was spent and Sardinha took over. Sardinha defended every takedown and was the one on top staying safe and landing. Fernandes was really sloppy with his hands and Sardinha was landing a lot of good shots outstriking him by a large margin. With how tired Fernandes was Sardinha should’ve finished him.
Grade: C+

Light-heavyweight, Rodolfo Bellato (7-1)

A stunning win from Bellato beating a good fighter in Carlos Eduardo. Bellato dropped Eduardo early with just a straight jab. As he rushed in Eduarda did land a nice double leg takedown. Bellato quickly scrambled and got top position. Methodically he moved into the mount, took the back, and with a switch of grip he sunk in the RNC for the tap.
Grade: A

Lightweight, Rodrigo Lídio (12-2)

Two top Brazilian lightweights in Lidio and Arthur Lima squared off in a back-and-forth fight. Early in round one Lidio dropped Lima in an exchange. Lima was able to swivel to the back and get a takedown. For the last few minutes Lima kept top position and even got another takedown at the end of the round. In round two of course the fight started on the feet and Lidio made the best of it. He landed a left hook on the button for the walk-off knockout. That’s now his fifth straight knockout. Serious power.
Grade: C+

Bantamweight, Marcos Breno (14-2)

Breno made a statement here beating Ary Farias who is one of the best prospects out of Brazil. It was such a quick fight, ending in under a minute with an unexpected outcome. Farias kindly closed the distance carelessly with his hands low. Breno capitalized with an overhand right putting Farias out cold for the faceplant knockout.
Grade: A

Lightweight, Ismael Bonfim (15-3)

Bonfim fought a serious prospect in Rangel de Sá which was an exciting fight. Sa gave Bonfim issues with his speed and kickboxing. Bonfim kept his composure and his boxing experience and gas tank won him the fight. Bonfim sat back landing on the more wild striker in Sa. He was landing some nice shots to the body and was throwing kicks when he saw the opening and counters Sa frequently. His hands looked really good.
Grade: B

Bantamweight, Luan Luiz Lacerda (11-1)

Lacerda, a high-level grappler, did some work on the feet in this one. He dropped his opponent early in round one with a body shot. He didn’t finish but threw a good snapping left jab and a straight right followed. In Round two Lacreda got the takedown right away and went right onto the leg and submitted the guy with a heel hook. Legit BJJ.
Grade: A

Strawweight, Dayane Souza (8-1-1)

Souza looked really good here and did so handing Elaine Lopes her first loss. Lopes has some moments on the feet landing some good punches. Souza fired back and landed some nice leg kicks. She got the fight down in round one but it was it round two she found the submission. Off a takedown, she was on the back win no hooks and still sunk in a deep RNC. Lopes had nothing to do but tap. Dominant and smart performance from Souza.
Grade: B