One of the best lightweights (we know, ONE’s weight rules means it’s not exactly lightweight) outside the UFC returns Friday, while ACA, LFA and more are also in action this week. Let’s get right to this edition of the Weekly MMA Prospect Report.
ONE Championship | Singapore | Friday
Lightweight, Christian Lee (15-3)
After a failed title shot in 2018, Lee rebounded and when he moved to welterweight (lightweight under the ONE weight system) he won a title. Lee is excellent on the feet, being quick and dynamic with outstanding footwork. He covers distance quickly and has some dangerous power is everything he throws. His abilities on the mat are there when needed, holding four submission wins to date. At only 23, Lee is already a star for ONE Championship. Imagine where he’s going to be in, say, five years. He’s well-rounded, has solid cardio, and gets better in every fight. He fights Rae Yoon Ok (15-3).
ACA 129 | Russia | Friday
Lightweight, Pavel Gordeev (18-2)
Gordeev has shown he is a promising prospect, beating four undefeated fighters, former UFC fighter Mickael Lebout and Shane Campbell, and other solid competition. Gordeev is mainly a striker who loves to use the jab often. The Russian has good long straight punches and his speed can be a real factor. Gordeev has also shown the ability to land at a high rate as well. His wrestling is decent enough to be effective with good scrambles and an active ground game. He fights Zhorabek Tesheboev (8-2).
Future MMA 13 | Brazil | Friday
Middleweight, Claudio Ribeiro (8-2)
Outside of his pro debut, his only loss is a split decision in 2018. Ribeiro brings a wild approach slinging wild looping punches. He’s a wild man but with a lot of power in his hands. Not just in his hands as Ribeiro throws thunderous leg kicks as well. Ribeiro is someone you don’t want to rush in on as he will catch you. Not someone to sit in the pocket and trade with either because his knockout power is dangerous. He fights Kelles Albuquerque (24-20).
Flyweight, Wellington Souza (8-1)
Souza is an exciting young prospect out of Brazil. He’s competed in some jiu-jitsu competitions but it’s his stand-up that has impressed. Souza throws heavy leg kicks and fights long very well. He throws wide but throws in twos. What makes him dangerous is his explosiveness. Souza likes to throw the flying knee and has a dangerous head kick he’s landed with a few times. Not completely sold on him but he’s worth watching. He fights Eduardo Henrique da Silva (7-1).
Featherweight, Jean Silva (8-2)
Silva is on a five-fight win streak since his last loss in early 2018. In all eight of his wins, Silva has a 100% finish rate. Silva is fast, athletic, powerful, and explosive. There are concerns about his takedown defense. He does a good job at least getting back to his feet and can end the fight at any point when he has space. Silva has the ability to go to air for the flying knee, sit down on heavy punches, attack with kicks, and grab a hold of the neck. Not sure if he’s at a high level but he’s at that excitement level. Silva fights John David (8-3).
LFA 115 | US | Friday
Light heavyweight Joshua Silveira (5-0)
Silveira trains out of American Top Team under head coach and his father, Conan Silveira. He’s currently 5-0 and went 4-0 as an amateur, so he does have good experience. Silveira wrestled in college for Arizona State University and was a Florida high school state champ. With that wrestling pedigree always in his back pocket, he’s able to let loose on the feet. His shot selection is very on-point with his hands, and his left high kick is very sneaky and dangerous. Silveira really checks all the boxes and is a major prospect to watch for. He fights Tee Cummins (3-0).
Light heavyweight, Tee Cummins (4-0)
Although Cummins isn’t experienced much in pro MMA, he has also dabbled in some bare-knuckle boxing for BKFC going 2-0. Cummins has displayed technical ability, patience, and finishing ability. That trifecta isn’t seen much at 205. In his last fight he was able to prove he can wrestler and end the fight with ground and pound. A lot still needs to be seen from Cummins, but he’s looked really good recently. Watching his old fights he’s improved quickly. He fights Josh Silveira (4-0).
Lightweight, Lucas Clay (7-1)
Lucas Clay has wins over good prospects like Brant Moore, JJ Okanovich, and Mike Breeden. On the feet, he’s still green but at least fights long. Clay is a grappler and mostly a submission artist. Both his submission wins are from a rare buggy choke. He is too willing to fight off his back but in the same sense, that’s where he’s most dangerous. There’s a lot Clay can improve on but he’s definitely worth a watch. He fights Jake Kozorosky (5-1).
Featherweight, Edwin Cooper Jr. (4-1)
Cooper is a three-time Illinois high school state champ, an NJCAA National Champ, a D2 finalist, and he was a national qualifier at the University of Iowa. His sole loss came by a submission where the ref made a mistake saying Cooper tapped. Cooper is a top-level wrestler. To wrestle is his intention in every fight as it should be. He’s very aggressive, strong, and crafty. Cooper has a deep gas tank being able to impose his will on you constantly. He’s got lock-down top control and some good ground and pound when the opening is there. He fights Andrew D Johnson (2-0-1).
Middleweight, Roland Dunlap (2-0)
Dunlap is someone that’s been on my radar ever since he was an amateur. Dunlap has won two wrestling state titles in high school and had a career record of 159-9. He went on to be a three-time All-American and wrestled D3 in the University of Wisconsin Whitewater. Along with that wrestling upbringing, his father was a high-level karate black belt. Dunlap fights very loosely and very long. He’ll throw a lot of kicks and he’ll attack with both legs attacking each side of his opponent. Where Dunlap shines is when he uses his wrestling. Dunlap does nice work changing levels as his opponents come forward to engage. He sneaks under punches to get a hold of the legs to lift guys up and slam them to the mat. To read my more in-depth piece on Dunlap click here. He fights Ryot Waller (3-6).