A double shot of UAE Warriors, now on UFC Fight Pass, and the return of ONE Championship’s women’s atomweight grand prix, bring plenty of MMA prospects this week. There’s also the just-completed PFL 2021 World Championship, which saw several fighters go from prospect to champ. Read on!
PFL 2021 #10 | US | Wednesday
Lightweight, Kayla Harrison (10-0)
Harrison is a very accomplished grappler who won the gold medal in judo at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and gold at the 2011 and 2015 Pan-American Games. Along with that she is last year’s PFL million-dollar winner. The judo practitioner holds a black belt in her sport and has won two national championships. Harrison has been dominant thus far in her MMA career. Her wrestling and her judo have been on full display and once on top, she’s a nightmare. Harrison is just dominant on top. Her grappling is high level and she is both a submission threat and has fight-stopping ground and pound. She’s unstoppable. Harrison fights Taylor Guardado (3-1).
Heavyweight, Bruno Henrique Cappelozza (13-5)
Cappelozza may not have a great record nor is he the youngest but he is a nightmare opponent. In the last six years, he’s only lost to Jiří Procházka. Cappelozza is all action and violence. He has some strong wrestling but on the feet is where he’s at best. Everything he throws is with ill intentions whether if that’s with his hands or legs. Right away Cappelozza asserts himself as a big danger win or lose. He fights Ante Delija (19-4)
Heavyweight, Ante Delija (19-4)
Unlike his mentor Mikro Cro-Cop, Delija is a dangerous guy once it’s on the mat. He has no doubt learned from Cro-Cop as well, as he has some solid kickboxing and power in his hands. Delija is a physical guy who powers his foes down to the mat. “Walking Trouble” is indeed trouble on top as he has ferocious ground and pound. His grappling is no doubt pretty darn good and his ground punches are active, heavy, and he attacks the body as well. He fights Bruno Henrique Cappelozza (13-5).
Featherweight, Movlid Khaybulaev (18-0-1)
Khaybulaev is a very solid fighter all around, and he is really technical in his stand-up. He throws a lot of spinning attacks, not overdoing it, but that is a good thing. Khaybulaev uses the flying knee often, which he’s used to knock out opponents. With that said, he also has good wrestling; he is able to shoot in for a double leg or he can lift and slam you to the mat. Khaybulaev can usually get the fight down multiple times in a bout. There is a reason he has the record he has. He fights Chris Wade (20-6).
UAE Warriors 23 | Abu Dhabi | Thursday
Middleweight, Mohamad Osseili (4-0)
Lebanon’s Osseili is a prospect with a lot of hype. He’s a big middleweight standing at 6’5″ and uses every bit of it. Osseili with his reach is always up close in the face but is back far enough to where it’s only him landing at the end of his punches. He’s really good at pressing guys against the cage and letting his hands go. Osseili has really good hands attacking the body and throwing in combinations. In his last fight, he even showed to have a decent ground game and wrestling. His gas tank is a concern though going forward. He fights Glory fighter Yousri Belgaroui (2-0).
ONE Championship | Singapore | Friday
Strawweight, Julie Mezabarba (9-2-1)
Mezabarba made an impression in her last fight beating the 33-fight veteran Mei Yamaguchi. She’s got an impressive record MMA record and a black belt in kickboxing. Her style sees her mainly on the feet. Mezabarba fights well on the outside with her power punches and kicks. She likes to throw the superman punch when closing the distance. Even in the clinch she’s physically strong and has good muay thai. Mezabarba has won her last seven fights. She fights Stamp Fairtex (6-1).
Strawweight, Stamp Fairtex (6-1)
Nong Stamp (Stamp Fairtex) is a world kickboxing and Muay Thai champion, with a Muay Thai record of 63-15-5. Her sole loss in MMA to Alyona Rassohyna; Fairtex won the rematch last month. She’s shown her kickboxing and Muay Thai skills of course, and although she could throw more volume, she picks her shots well. Fairtex does have a submission win and overall has pretty good grappling. She fights Julie Mezabarba (9-2-1).
UAE Warriors 24 | Abu Dhabi | Friday
Bantamweight, Vinicius de Oliveira (16-2)
Oliveira is an absolute wild man when he’s in the cage. He reminds you of a lesser version of fellow Brazilian and UFC fighter Michal Pereira. Oliveira is an all-action freestyle-type athlete who will always put on a show. Being the diverse athlete he is, the Brazilian loves to go for broke throwing a lot of switch kicks, wheel kicks, going off the cage, and flying knees. He really brings that Brazilian capoeira style. Oliveira will also get takedowns and has an underrated ground game. He fights Sylvester Chipfumbu (7-3).
Lightweight, John Mitchell (3-0)
Out of Ireland, Mitchell is a bright prospect in the lightweight division. On the feet, Mitchell fights very well on the outside. He throws a good knee up the middle and has a strong straight jab. Even making guys pay when they plant their feet he’ll lunge in with lead hooks. Mitchell is an even better grappler. I have no complaint about his jiu-jitsu as well. He can open you up with constant ground and pound or take the back and secure the RNC. He fights Konstantinos Ntelis (6-1).
Welterweight, Daniel Skibińsk (18-5)
Since a pair of losses in mid-2016, Skibinski has won his next twelve fights. Outside of MMA, he was an ADCC Polish Championship in 2019 and won gold in No-Gi in Poland. Skibinski has strong wrestling with heavy top control. He’s a grinder with a good gas tank going the distance in ten of his wins. He’s not the flashiest fighter but has a high fight IQ and is really dominant. He fights Tahir Abdullaev (11-1).
Middleweight, Zaakir Badat (3-0)
Badat from South Africa is a serious dude once he gets the fight grounded. He’s ended all three of his pro fights on the mat. From ground and pound in the crucifix to a heel hook to a triangle Badat has “it” on the mat. Badat still has to answer a lot questions, including what his striking and gas tank look like. From what’s been seen his jiu-jitsu is top-notch. He fights Jonathan Wernz (1-0).
Welterweight, Themba Gorimbo (9-2)
A fighter from Zimbabwe Themba Gorimbo is so close to a UFC contract. With two unfortunate losses, Gorimbo is at his best on a three-fight win streak. He’s better on the mat, even off his back. Six of his wins have come by submission. That’s from attacking triangles and armbars off his back and guillotines in scrambles. Gorimbo is very skilled on the feet but his chin is a concern. He does throw straight punches and his hands are really quick and long. Offensively he’s good but defensively there are holes. He fights Handesson Ferreira (16-3-1).
Bantamweight, Soo Young Yoo (7-1)
Yoo does have a 13-second finish on the feet but is more of a wrestler. Yoo is pretty aggressive on his takedowns. At times he won’t get the takedown on the first attempt, but he’s good at re-shooting and getting it down. Yoo has exceptional transitional grappling and has excellent ground and pound. He’s good with transitions and is good at striking his way to a submission. He fights Sarvadzhon Khamidov (11-0).
Hexagone MMA 2 | France | Friday
Lightweight, William Gomis (7-2)
Gomis impressed me in his last fight when he beat a really tough opponent in Tobias Harila. Gomis is a really dangerous guy when he blitzes forward and off his back foot. He’s throws a lot of good kicks and his hands compliment his offensive output. He does a fine job of always staying busy. Not the cleanest on the mat but he can wrestler and grapple when needed. Gonna be tough to figure out Gomis on the feet where he’s so tricky. I really like Gomis and think he can be something one day. He fights Baba Boundjou Nadjombe (7-3).
Eternal MMA 62 | Australia | Saturday
Flyweight, Steve Erceg (7-1)
Ecreg can hold his own on the feet. Although he’s fully capable of landing his punches and getting finishes he is hittable. The man can wrestle also and does it at a high level. Ecreg can even chain wrestle very well as shown throughout his career. As good as his wrestling is Ecreg is an even better grappler. Methodically he transitions into dominant positions and no matter where he’s at he’s working to finish. He fights Paul Loga (7-5) who he already beat.
TFL 23 | Poland | Saturday
Featherweight, Sebastian Kotwica (11-2)
Kotwica is making his return from a four year layoff and he was someone I was high on at the time. Kotwica is very dangerous everywhere, as on the feet he has won by a head kick and is a heavy-handed striker. He also has solid wrestling but the ground and pound he throws is great. He has a relentless pace, especially with elbows. If he looks anything like he did when he was active he’s going to be a problem. Kotwica fights Marcos Schmitz (17-7).
GMC Fight Night | Germany | Saturday
Welterweight, Islam Dulatov (5-1)
Since losing his first fight, Dulatov hasn’t lost again winning his next five fights. Dulatov is huge at 6’6″ and uses his length to his advantage. He’s a really rangy guy with a good jab and straight punches. He makes opponents pay coming in with step-in knees and is just difficult to close the distance on. I’m not fully sold on him but lately, he’s been impressive. Dulatov fights Luis Silva (5-9-1).
MMA SERIES 43 | Russia | Saturday
Heavyweight, Oleg Popov (13-1)
Popov is a wrestler who has some decent power in his hands. He’s an aggressive guy constantly shooting and what he lacks in size he makes up for with his strength. Not entirely someone who will blow you away on the mat but he has some heavy top control and a submission game. Popov is getting better and better with each fight. He fights Alejandro Solorzano (9-2).
Heavyweight, Alejandro Solorzano (9-2)
Solorzano does have an impressive record but so far he hasn’t blown me away. “Goliath” is a big man weighing in at the heavyweight limit at 265lbs and standing at 6’5″. Solorzano is purely a striker which is a reason he took a bare-knuckle boxing fight. He’s a technical boxer that keeps his hands high and picks his shots. He could be more active but is someone that counters well and puts it together nicely once he commits. Solorzano fights Oleg Popov (13-1)
WCC 002 | Peru | Friday
Bantamweight, Renzo Mendez (15-6)
Mendez has had a lot of setbacks in his career already with six losses. However, he’s currently on a seven-fight win streak. “El Nene” on the feet is a banger. He loves to let his hands go, going head-hunting with big looping punches and head kicks. He’s super aggressive the entire fight. His takedown defense does need work but off his back his jiu-jitsu is strong. On top or off his back he has shown good grappling. He fights Andy Rios (5-3).
CFFC 102 | US | Saturday
Featherweight, Isa Dalipaj (3-0)
Dalipaj is born out of Cakran, Fier but has been living in the states in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He trains out of Renzo Gracie Philly. Not the most elusive guy as he does get hit and has been dropped. Dalipaj is an action fighter that’s going to press the pace every time. He takes damage to give some but it’s been him being able to withstand the damage and break his opponents with his offense. Dalipaj lands kicks to punches and vice-versa and breaks guys down. Not sold on him but he’s fun to watch. He fights Jose Perez (4-1).