MMA Prospect Watch: The Most Impressive Fighters from September

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Kai Asakura, RIZIN 30 Credit: RIZIN FF

Bantamweight, Kai Asakura (18-3)

Asakura fought Alan Yoshihiro Yamaniha who is a tough out for anyone. Asakura did get taken down a few times but got right back to his feet and controlled all three rounds. It was his hands that did the work throwing the one-two, digging hooks to the body, and that right hand landed frequently. He knocked Yamaniha down in the first with a right but just stayed calculated and picked his shots to the bell.
Grade: B

Flyweight, Joshua Pacio (20-3)

The trilogy came to a conclusion between Pacio and Yosuke Saruta. Pacio picked his shots on the outside including a few heavy outside leg kicks. Saruta threw a blind kick and Pacio countered with a right hand. A left hand put Saruta back down and as he tried to fight back Pacio landed another left hand sitting Saruta down and a series of left hands put him out. A patient deadly performance from the ONE strawweight champ Pacio.
Grade: A-

Atomweight, Victoria Lee (3-0)

The youngest sibling of the Lee family currently fighting, Victoria continues to impress. Lee got the takedown twice in round one with two upper body takedowns. She had a triangle locked in for the last minute and a half but didn’t get the tap. Lee got the fight down again in round two with a body lock takedown. In side-control, Lee landed a barrage of elbows. He opponent got back to her feet but Lee had the head wrapped and took her right back down. Lee continued to land elbows and the ref stepped in. She beat a girl that was 5-0 so that’s a big win for Lee.
Grade: B

Heavyweight, Marcus Buchecha (1-0)

This was the MMA debut of Buchecha but he is a high-level jiu-jitsu expert who is an ADCC gold medalist with many other accomplishments. In his debut he fought Anderson “Braddock” Silva who is a well-known kickboxer. Buchecha right away took Silva down and went right into mount. He landed some ground and pound until he submitted Silva with a North-South choke, something you don’t really see in MMA.
Grade: B-

Lightweight, Pavel Gordeev (19-2)

This was a back and forth scrap between Gordeev and Zhorabek Tesheboev. It’s a wonder how Tesheboev survived the first round. Gordeev dropped him twice and was landing huge punches. As the fight went on Tesheboev got stronger and was pressuring Gordeev. Gordeev at times looked like he’d break but was still landing off his back foot and landing bombs. He was taken down in round three but Gordeev scrambled and got a takedown of his own. Out of nowhere Gordeev took the back and won with an RNC.
Grade: B-

Featherweight, Alikhan Suleymanov (14-3)

Leonardo Limberger is someone I like a lot and Suleymanov made short work of him. Suleymanov quickly landed a double leg takedown. In the guard, he was in control and landed some good elbows/punches. A minute left in the first he transitioned to a north-south position. As Limberger turned, Suleymanov had a power guillotine all the way in and Limberger tapped.
Grade: A

Flyweight, Wellington Souza (9-1)

Souza improved his win streak to six beating a guy making his debut. His opponent initiated a takedown early but Sousa was able to buck and get top position. No action and the ref eventually stood him up. Souza used his length on the feet and threw a front kick and a flying knee that barely missed. His opponent landed a single leg but Souza threw a leg over locking in a triangle. As he tightened it up he switched to an armbar for the tap.
Grade: B

Featherweight, Gabriel Santos (8-0)

Santos won this fight with his jiu-jitsu but had some bright moments using his Muay Thai in the clinch. He was taken down but used leg locks to scramble and get on top. He got to the back in all five rounds. In the first, second, and fifth rounds, he transitioned to an armbar from the back, which was beautifully done. He took control in the championship rounds dominating with the wrestling and grappling from bell to bell. Santos is the new Future MMA flyweight champion.
Grade: C+

Featherweight, Edwin Cooper Jr (5-1)

This was a one-sided beating in the hands of Cooper Jr. It was all pressure from Cooper from bell to bell. His wrestling was on full display getting many takedowns including a few suplexes. Even when his opponent got back to his feet Cooper took his right back down. Cooper was relentless with ground and pound landing a number of big shots. While raining down punches he transitioned into dominant positions a few times.  Cooper even landed some big shots along the cage when on the feet. It’s crazy he wasn’t able to get a finish.
Grade: A+

Light heavyweight, Josh Silveira (6-0)

This was a highly anticipated fight for me between Silveira and Tee Cummins. Two undefeated guys and it only lasted just under a minute. Both guys started trading kicks trying to find their range. It was Silveira who was the first one that landed clean. He landed a nasty left head kick and the ground and pound that followed put Cummins out cold. Silveira is the new LFA 205-pound champion.
Grade: A+

Lightweight, Leo Brichta (9-3)

This was a career performance from Brichta beating a veteran in Damien Lapilus. Brichta did well in round one landing punches and stepping back out of the way. He had Lapilus’ attention early and was winning every striking exchange. Round two he was taken down but scrambled and got a takedown of his own. Brichta took the back and threw punches and the ref stepped in. The stoppage was premature but a solid performance from Brichta.
Grade: A

Featherweight, Jakub Tichota (3-0)

Tichota started off dropping his opponent off a right had. He kept very busy with ground and pound. When he got to side control he sat up and rained down punches. All the damage was adding up and his opponent had no sign of improving his position and the ref stepped in. A good one to watch for at 3-0.
Grade: C

Middleweight, Matěj Peňáz (4-0)

His opponent tried hard to take Penaz down. He tried pulling guard and rolled for a leg but Penaz defended perfectly. It was evident Penaz had a clear striking advantage. He had a clean one-two and was using feints to find his opening. When he backed the guy against the cage he landed a left-right sitting him against the fence. The follow-up shots sent the ref in. Penaz looks like the real deal.
Grade: B+

Featherweight, Márcio dos Santos (8-0)

It only took dos Santos just under a minute to dispatch his opponent. Dos Santos right away was using a lot of hard feints and throwing heavy leather. It seemed like a punch got through to the eye and it backed up his opponent. Dos Santos then unloaded to the body and head and it was a left hook to the body to a right hook up high. That dropped his opponent and the fight was all over.
Graded: C+

Flyweight, Muhammad Mokaev (5-0)

Mokaev stayed undefeated beating a solid Blaine O’Driscoll. O’Driscoll pressed Mokaev a lot forcing Mokaev to change levels often. Mokaev was getting tired and some of his shots we telegraphed. He did a great job when on the feet cutting the corner and taking the back. In round one O’Driscoll did a good job getting back to his feet once he was taken down. When Mokaev took the back in round two he was able to get both hooks in and the arm around the neck. O’Driscoll tapped in a valiant effort.
Grade: B

Strawweight, Ewelina Woźniak (6-0)

Thirty seconds in Wozniak took the fight down. She took down a jiu-jitsu champion and dominated on top for the entirety of round one. Wozniak had trouble passing the guard but fought smart and landed some good ground and pound. Having enough of the ground game Wozniak ended the fight in under a minute to start the second round. She was stepping in with her strikes and once she got close she threw a knee to the body and it was all over.
Grade: B-

Featherweight, Omar Solomonov (11-2)

This was a dominant performance from Ukraine’s Solomonov. He got the takedown right away and dominated on top. Even though his opponent would work back to his feet Solomonov would slam him back down. A few times in round one he would get into a dominant position. It wasn’t until round two when Solomonov was able to get the takedown and find the finish. It was an arm-triangle that Solomonov was able to secure the finish with.
Grade: B-

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