Weekly MMA Prospect Report: Bellator Marches on Moscow

Usman Nurmagomedov Bellator 255
Usman Nurmagomedov, Bellator 255 Weigh-In Credit: Bellator MMA

Bellator MMA hosts its first event in Russia this weekend with Bellator 269, and brings with it a wealth of promising MMA prospects.

KSW, XMMA, and more are in action this week as well — here’s a look at the up-and-comers worth keeping an eye on.

Ring of Combat 74 | US | Friday

Lightweight, Dylan Mantello (4-0)

Mantello is a good prospect training out of Longo And Weidman MMA. Undefeated as a pro, Mantello went 6-0 as an amateur and was a champion. I’ve seen more of his striking where he displays good movement, a textbook jab, and a sick one-two. He’s found home with that straight right knocking out a few guys so far. Mantello seems to have slick jiu-jitsu. I’ve seen him hit sweeps off his back and finish on top with ground and pound. He fights John Ramirez (5-5).

LFA 116 | US | Friday

Bantamweight, Daniel Argueta (5-0)

After wrestling in high school Argueta went on to wrestle Division II for the University of Wisconsin. Argueta’s constant forward pressure, his wrestling, and jiu-jitsu is going to give a lot of guys problems. However, if he cannot impose his wrestling/grappling early he may have problems against a good striker. His head movement isn’t great and as the fight goes on he is likely to be easier and easier to hit. Yet even though he does tire as the fight goes on, Argueta never stops coming forward, making it an ugly fight at the very least. He fights Rodney Mondala (6-3).

RCC: Intro 17 | Russia | Friday

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 has 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 Marco Pirata (16-7).

Bellator 269 | Russia | Saturday

Lightweight, Usman Nurmagomedov (13-0)

A cousin of former UFC champ Khabib and brother of UFC fighter Umar, Usman Nurmagomedov is a kickboxer at heart. He doesn’t throw with much power but he’s flashy and diverse with his attacks. He will throw spinning kicks, roundhouse kicks, and question mark kicks. Usman stays unpredictable attacking with all limbs and throws combos with just his legs alone. His wrestling is good, and he is solid at timing double legs and on top. Simply put, he is a big threat. He fights Patrik Pietilä (11-8).

Welterweight, Sharaf Davlatmurodov (18-3-1)

Davlatmurodov is a fun fighter with a lot of good experience. He has wins over some good competition and has lost to only solid fighters. On the feet, Davlatmurodov throws a lot of volume throwing with different patterns and mixing it up very well. He has good kickboxing and from the outside has really good long striking. Mixing it up, Davlatmurodov will explode on the hips taking his opponents down. At times he can be too aggressive on the mat but he has RNC’s for a reason. He’s really good. Mostly he just needs to improve small things— but the takedown defense should be his biggest concern. He fights Anatoly Tokov (29-3).

Lightweight, Gadzhi Rabadanov (16-4-2)

Rabadanov has a lot of experience and key wins against Oton Jasse and Steven Siler. He’s an excellent wrestler and durable fighter who can go three rounds no problem. On the feet, he has some power and good leg kicks but looks most at home once on the mat. He has good ground and pound and is a submission threat as well. He fights Alexander Belikh (9-4).

KSW 64 | Poland | Saturday

Featherweight, Patryk Kaczmarczyk (7-0)

Kaczmarczyk is one of the many bright young prospects out of Poland. The 23-year-old has a lot of good things going for him. On the feet, Kaczmarczyk is a good counter striker, throws heavy leg kicks, has a dangerous lead flying knee he throws, and throws in combinations. He excels when the fight is in close quarters using excellent offensive and defensive wrestling. Kaczmarczyk is a problem on the mat as his transitions are smooth and is always working to improve his position and finish the fight. He really has it all. He fights Robert Ruchała (5-0).

Lightweight, Shamil Musaev (15-0)

Russia’s Musaev is a good wrestler with very sound ground and pound. He has a background in Sanshou which explains why he likes to use that spinning kick to the midsection. Musaev is a dynamic fighter throwing with flash but his setups and speed are impressive. He’s an excellent kickboxer. He recently beat Uros Jurisic which proves how good Musaev is. He fights Michał Pietrzak (10-4).

XMMA 3 | US | Saturday

Welterweight, Tyler Ray (8-2)

Ray is a wrestler who has excellent control and cardio going the distance if need be. On the feet, he’s still a bit green but is improving. Ray does have good head movement and a good one-two. He’s far more comfortable just taking the fight down to land ground and pound or taking the neck for the submission. His last fight was razor close where he squeaked out a decision win. He fights the well-known John Howard (29-16-1).