MMA Prospect Watch: The Most Impressive Fighters from September

Joshua Pacio and Yosuke Saruta, ONE Championship
Joshua Pacio and Yosuke Saruta, ONE: Revolution Credit: ONE Championship

September has come and gone, marking the end of summer, and bringing with it a lot of MMA prospects to cover. Events from ONE Championship, ROAD FC, LFA and more offered up-and-coming fighters to keep an eye on. Here’s our monthly breakdown of the noteworthy prospects in action last month.

Welterweight, Mohammad Alaqraa (2-0)

Alaqraa wasted no time getting in and out of this fight with no issues. Outside of a good leg kick on the feet, Alaqraa got the takedown quick. Right away he transitioned to the back and was locked on. Alaqraa landed good ground and pound before locking in the RNC for the tap. It would’ve been nice to see the fight go longer so he could show a lot more.
Grade: C+

Welterweight Wisem Hammami (6-0)

Outside of getting taken down twice this fight was all Hammami. Even though he was taken down he got right back up. Noting big really stood out but Hammami fought smart and tactically. Hammami fought outside the jab, landed the one-two, and chopped away at the lead leg. The leg kicks were his best weapon but fighting at his preferred range won him the fight.
Grade: B-

Strawweight, Julie Mezabarba (9-2-1)

Making her ONE Championship debut, Mezabarba was thrown right into stiff competition fighting the 33-fight veteran Mei Yamaguchi. Mezabarba never let Yamaguchi get going taking control of the entire fight. She fought on the outside well and every time Yamaguchi came forward she got caught. That sneaky counter-right uppercut landed a few times. Mezabarba landed a superman punch a few times to close the distance. When Yamaguchi got Mezabarba it was Mezabarba beating her up in the clinch.
Grade: B

Bantamweight, Kevin Cordero (12-2)

Cordero fought Bellator veteran Ricky Bandejas who is very talented. A large portion of the fight played on the outside in kickboxing range. I’d like to say Cordero was getting better of the exchanges landing better with his kicks and throwing more frequently. At the end of the round, Bandejas got the takedown twice. Cordero off his back locked in the triangle and put Bandejas out cold in round one.
Grade: A

Featherweight, Hae Jin Park (9-1)

Soo Chul Kim, a top prospect in 2017, made his return to the cage off a four-year layoff. He was welcomed back with a loss but it was fun while it lasted. Both guys took it to each other right away. In close in a phone booth, these guys were throwing down. Kim was leaving space in the clinch and it was allowing Park to land uppercuts and punches over the top. Park tried to grab hold of the leg to get the takedown but Kim had none of it. As they were exchanging in the clinch Park clocked Kim with a left hand dropping him. Park jumped in on a guillotine and it put Kim out cold. Park took a lot of damage and was failing at a lot of takedowns which takes away from his overall performance.
Grade: C+

Lightweight, Seung Mo Park (3-0)

It only took 25 seconds for Seung Mo Park to move to 3-0. He began light on his feet bouncing around. He missed with a wheel kick but followed up with a left hand that buckled his opponent. He then dropped him briefly with an uppercut and swarmed with punches, dropping him again and sending the ref in.
Grade: C

Bantamweight, Hyun Woo Kim (3-0)

Kim started with a frantic pace bringing it right to his opponent just letting his hands fly. Kim landed a body punch that visibly made his opponent uncomfortable. He let loose going body head rapidly along the fence. Everything was landed all adding up dropping his opponent to his knees where the ref saved him.
Grade: B-

Flyweight, Jung Hyun Lee (5-0)

Lee impressed me in September with an excellent performance. He walked his opponent down peppering him with multiple jabs and finding his range and picking his shots. While walking forward he battered the inside leg kicking it over and over. Lee landed a right hook-left hook on the chin flooring his opponent. The follow-up punches stiffened his opponent and the fight was stopped. Beautiful knockout.
Grade: B

Light heavyweight, Vitor Petrino (6-0)

The young 24-year-old had a huge test in front of him in the form of 27-fight veteran and former UFC fighter Gadzhimurad Antigulov. The Russian Antigulov took Petrino down twice but he got right back up. Early round one Petrino dropped Antigulov with a beautifully timed uppercut. Petrino threw everything at Antigulov tagging him multiple times on the feet. He was finding his strikes as Antigulov came forward. Petrino landed elbows, punches knees, landed a big flying knee at a point before finishing the fight. In round two he landed a nasty left uppercut dropping Antigulov and he put him away.
Grade: A

Welterweight, Ramazan Kuramagomedov (9-0)

This was a blowout performance from Kuramagomedov. He got the takedown right away in round two and dominated top control. His opponent got to his feet at one point but went right back down. Kuramagomedov stayed active with short punches and won every scramble his opponent tried to create. In round two right away he took it right back down with a good double leg takedown. Kuramagomedov stayed busy with ground and pound making it uncomfortable for the guy on the bottom. He eventually transitioned to the back and won with an RNC with seconds left. Pure dominance from Kuramagomedov.
Grade: A

Lightweight, Rahmads Stromanis (2-0)

This was a scrap between two young pros. Stromanis dropped his opponent early with a counter right off a blind kick. He did have to fight through two armbars and got taken down briefly. Round one was close but Stromanis came out even stronger in round two. He dropped his opponent with a left hook. He kept throwing head shots nearly landing every time. It was an awesome superman punch that landed clean for the impressive knockout.
Grade: C+

Strawweight, Josefine Lindgren Knutsson (2-0)

Knutsson continues to impress in MMA staying undefeated. Being a kickboxer her takedown defense was tested. She defended every takedown and landed three brief takedowns of her own. Knutsson did well on the outside but it was in the clinch where she battered her opponent. She was relentless with knees and that’s what she landed in round two to stop the fight. Knutsson put on a one-sided beating over a more experienced MMA fighter.
Grade: B

Welterweight, Roberto Soldić (19-3)

Not the best performance from Soldic but he still looked good nonetheless. Soldic fought veteran Patrik Kincl who is always a tough fight for anyone. He dropped Kincl in twice with a counter punch. He did get taken down in round two and spent a little time off his back. In round three Soldic landed a combination to the body dropping Kincl. From there he got into mount and landed punches until the ref stepped in.
Grade: B-

Flyweight, Paris Moran (5-1)

Moran didn’t do anything spectacular in this fight but he continues to build his resume. Moran fought Contender Series and LFA veteran Nate Smith which was by far his toughest test to date. Smith is a pure wrestler and Moran completely neutralized him. Moran only was taken down once which was briefly. He kept Smith on the outside with his jab and the right hand when he tried to close the gap. Moran fought technical and showed excellent takedown defense. He could’ve pulled the trigger more but he fought smart.
Grade: B-

Heavyweight, Sergey Belostenniy (8-2)

It only took Belostenniy right under a minute to finish tough Brazilian fighter Roggers Souza. Belostenniy started off throwing a lot of hard feints keeping Souza guessing. He tried a little flash landing a spinning kick to the body. Belostenniy let his hands go landing a right-left stunning Souza. He went back throwing and a left hook dropped Souza. Extra grounded punches sent the ref in.
Grade: B+

Flyweight, Alisson Murilo (3-0)

Murilo looked great in this fight, which happens to be the first time I’ve watched him. His striking looked really good throwing frequent combinations. He knocked his opponent down with a slick duck under right to the body and left to the chin. As his opponent got back to his feet Murilo landed a perfectly timed double leg takedown. He quickly transitioned into the mount, landed ground and pound, took the back, and secured the RNC. Superb performance.
Grade: A

Flyweight, Roybert Echeverria (6-0)

Just another easy fight for the Venezuelan Echeverria. He walked his opponent down throwing feints looking for the opening. He threw a good spinning kick up high that was blocked. After a little over a minute, with the first punch he committed to, he knocked his opponent out with the right hand. A really easy fight for Echeverria but fighting a guy that was 0-2 it was expected.
Grade: B-

Bantamweight, Ryan Kuse (5-0)

This was a squash match beating a guy that was 1-12. His opponent rushed forward from the start right into a takedown. Kuse took the back as the guy was getting up and Kuse landed a beautiful high-impact suplex. Kuse stayed on the back threatening the RNC but unloading on the ground and pound until the ref stepped in. A one-sided beating and a fight that shouldn’t have been made.

Flyweight, Victor Dias (10-2)

And still. Titan FC flyweight champion Dias defended his title in what was a good fight. He and his opponent threw heavy shots on the feet including some good kicks from Dias. Dias was taken down but threatened with a guillotine and scrambled to his feet. As the fight went on he got stronger and was driving in on the legs getting the takedown. In round three Dias transitioned nicely to an armbar and after some fight he finally got it extended and the guy tapped.
Grade: B+

Lightweight, Eddy George (4-0)

George was all business in this fight taking care of his opponent with no issues. He came out firing letting his hands go while landing leg kicks. He knocked him down twice with the left hand. Every time he knocked him down he backed off wanting the fight back on the feet. George yet again knocked his opponent down with the left hand and the ref had enough and stepped in.
Grade: C+

Welterweight, Maurice Abévi (4-0)

In my first time watching Abevi, he beat a guy who was on my radar in Kennedy Rayomba. Rayomba was pressing forward the entire time but the footwork and head movement of Abevi were beautiful. Abevi found his range throwing a lot of punches from different angles. He kept throwing that lead uppercut which was coming close at times. Abevi started to mix it up as he got a takedown in round one. He got a takedown in round two right away. The Switzerland-based fighter landed a lot of ground and pound that had Rayomba get up with his neck exposed. Abevi locked in a guillotine and got the win. A really solid performance from Abevi who is now on my radar himself.
Grade: A-