Weekly MMA Prospect Report: Bellator, PFL Shine

Magomed Magomedov Bellator
Magomed Magomedov (right) vs Matheus Mattos, Bellator 254 Credit: Bellator MMA

With the UFC taking the week off, the PFL, Bellator, Combate Global and others take center stage this week. In particular, Magomed Magomedov is back in the Bellator cage, and will be one to watch as he works his way through the promotion’s bantamweight division. There’s plenty of MMA prospects in action once again; here’s a look at this week’s crop.

UWC 28 | Mexico | Thursday

Bantamweight, Christian Quiñonez (15-3)

Quinonez has some solid wins including one against Vinicius de Oliveira who is a top Brazilian prospect. In fact, the combined record of the opponents he’s beat is 98-36. Quinonez is a strong wrestler and grappler with a submission base and very good ground and pound. With all the experience he has Quinonez is still only 25-years-old. He fights Jaime Londono Alvarez (4-1).

Bantamweight, Braian Gonzalez (8-1)

Gonzalez is a good striker that does a fine job cutting off the cage and firing at his opponent. On his back foot, he’s a solid counter striker as well. He’s very technical and precise but once he sits on his punches he has some big power in his hands. Gonzalez is a decent wrestler with a better top position. He fights Brandon Uruchurtu (0-3).

PFL 2021 #7 | US | Friday

Welterweight, Magomed Umalatov (10-0)

Fighting out of Russia, Umalatov is a very good wrestler. Umalatov has a good jab, a bomb of an overhand right, and strikes to wrestler so well. When Umalatov gets the fights down his positional grappling really shows out. The ground and pound is his best feature as it’s steady, heavy, and fight-ending. A really good prospect PFL has here. He fights Micah Terrill (15-8).

Welterweight, Michael Lombardo (11-2)

Lombardo has been on the Contender Series twice and won his last time out. He was never awarded a UFC contract after that win because it was frankly a boring performance. That having been said, it was a very dominant performance from Lombardo. Wrestling comes first with the style of Lombardo. He does have really sound wrestling and has solid chain wrestling as well. Along with the wrestling, he has good grappling as well. Lombardo fights Kyron Bowen (9-6).

Lightweight, Elvin Espinoza (5-0)

Espinoza is a strong wrestler who has manhandled guys lifting and slamming them down to the mat. He is a grinder on top who is heavy with position and will take anything his opponents give him. On the feet, I want to see him move his head more but he’s held his own. He has good hands that are improving with each fight. He fights Hopeton Stewart (5-1).

Bellator 264 | US | Friday

Bantamweight, Magomed Magomedov (18-1)

Magomedov is a good striker that has improved over the years but owns a better kicking game. He likes to get flashy at times, throwing a lot of spinning kicks which may be his best weapon. He is an excellent wrestler with superb grappling and can wrestle/grapple during the duration of the fight with his tremendous endurance. His only loss has been to the former UFC bantamweight champ Petr Yan. But he also has beaten Yan in the past so that says a lot about him. He fights Raufeon Stots (16-1).

Bantamweight, Raufeon Stots (16-1)

Stots is a former NCAA Division II national champion in wrestling at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. 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 Magomed Magomedov (18-1).

Heavyweight, Davion Franklin (3-0)

I’m not too sold on Franklin due to his showing against Ras Hylton last year. The fact is Franklin has not been built up slow and right away has been tested. His three opponents had thirty-eight fights combined. That’s pretty good for someone that made his MMA debut a little over a year ago with no prior MMA experience. Franklin has huge power in his hands, athletic, an explosive double-leg, and is dangerous on top. He fights Everett Cummings (15-0).

Combate Global | US | Friday

Strawweight, Yasmine Jauregui (5-0)

Born and raised in the same area as UFC flyweight Champion Brandon Moreno, Tijuana, Mexico is where Jauregui calls home. Still very green, Jauregui has really impressed in her career thus far. Her style is reminiscent of UFC fighter Maycee Barber in a few ways. Jauregui is still very young at only 22 so to think she’s even near her prime is silly. She will throw a lot of volume with her kicks and punches putting it all together well. Yasmine is always throwing and looking to end the fight. She does need to work on some things like her movement and striking defense. With that said, she can be very good. Jauregui fights Stephanie Frausto (8-7).

Strawweight, Criszaida Adames (4-0)

Going 4-0 as an amateur, Adames is 4-0 as a pro as well. Adames is a spitfire blitzing in and out with offense. She could be more technical but is active enough to create issues. Adames has taken down opponents as well as being able to mix it up on the feet. Her best aspects are her striking coming forward and her work rate. She’s still raw but has potential. She fights Yajaira Cunningham (3-2).

EFC 88 | South Africa | Saturday

Bantamweight, Cameron Saaiman (3-0)

Saaiman is a young bright prospect who is a protege of UFC fighter Dricus Du Plessis. Saaiman is so comfortable on the feet with his creative striking and diverse kickboxing while having really light movement. He will make it seem like he’s only a kickboxer before changing levels for a takedown. Saaiman is a really talented grappler who constantly hunts to end the fight. His ground and pound and RNC is his best weapon on the mat. He fights Roevan De Beer (3-4).

RCC Intro 15 | Russia | Saturday

Lightweight, Milson Castro (13-3)

Castro is on a big 12-fight win streak and not only is he successful in Brazil he’s highly regarded in Mexico fighting there multiple times. Having fought for years Castro has won three different regional titles. Castro is a stand-up fighter with a solid Muay Thai base. He is a scrapper that will stand toe-to-toe with anyone he stands across from. He does take a lot of shots on the chin but he can take one to give one. He fights Timur Nagibin (18-5).

Middleweight, Arseniy Smirnov (9-1)

Smirnov is a dangerous guy who is well-rounded. On the feet, he’s technical with his hands always throwing in twos with big power. He will throw combinations up to four strikes. Smirnov is always throwing a lot of output and with multiple weapons including front kicks, body kicks, knees, and elbows. Everything he throws is with fight-ending intention. Smirnov has strong wrestling and smashing ground and pound on top. He fights Lucas Alsina (8-2).

CFFC 99 | Saturday | US

Featherweight, Deandre Anderson (4-0)

Anderson is undefeated as a pro and went 5-1 (1 NC) as an amateur. He’s also competed in other disciplines, i.e. boxing and kickboxing. Anderson was a standout wrestler in high school and that has been his most valuable weapon in MMA. His striking has looked good with each fight but the wrestling is his bread and butter. Anderson is a strong athletic wrestler who will explode on the double leg. There isn’t a lot of pro footage but he has some hype behind him.

WFL MMA 6 | Sunday | Netherlands

Welterweight, Losene Keita (5-0)

I’m not fully sold on Keita due to his poor level of competition but the talent is there. He seems to be a well-rounded fighter who has no issue taking fights to the mat. Keita is more of a dangerous guy on the feet. His speed, athleticism, and explosiveness is scary. I’d like to see him show more footwork but makes up for it in blitzes and explosions. Once he gets going he’s throwing a lot of volume as well. He fights Maarten Wouters (12-8).