MMA Prospect Watch: The Most Impressive Fighters from October

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Usman Nurmagomedov, Bellator 269
Usman Nurmagomedov, Bellator 269 Credit: Lucas Noonan/Bellator MMA

Lightweight, Usman Nurmagomedov (14-0)

Nurmagomedov right away landed a low calf kick that visibly hurt his opponent. Instead of pursuing that, he took the fight down off a well-timed double leg. As soon as Nurmagomedov passed the guard he went right into the mount. His opponent gave up his back and Nurmagomedov sunk in the RNC and the fight was over. Another easy day in the office for the Russian but he needs a step up bad in competition.
Grade: B

Welterweight, Charles De Oliveira (7-3)

Oliveira came out only worrying about the body. Three times consecutively he threw that left kick to the body. The third one hurt his opponent curling him up. Oliveira swarmed with more kicks to the body and a few left hooks to the body dropped him. Still curled up Oliveira landed ground and pound just to the body and the ref stopped it in under thirty seconds.
Grade: C

Lightweight, Kayla Harrison (12-0)

No surprise but for the second straight year, Harrison won the PFL lightweight tournament. The only surprising thing is she didn’t finish the fight in round one. Credit to her opponent Taylor Guardado for surviving early. Harrison was just too strong for her. Harrison got the fight down early and landed a barrage on strikes. Guardado got to her feet in round one but Harrison used a nice judo throw to put her back down. Harrison got the fight down early and round two and with more punches landed is was an elbow she got the finish with.
Grade: A

Lightweight, John Mitchell (4-0)

Mitchell beat another young talent in Konstantinos Ntelis and won all three rounds. Mitchell landed a lot of good shots on the feet but it was the wrestling and ground game that won him the fight. He was timing his takedown entries well. It was the work he was doing on the mat to keep it there. Mitchell was all over the grappling exchanges and landed active ground and pound. The Irish fighter has a bright future in this sport.
Grade: B+

Welterweight, Andre Fialho (14-3)

Fialho has had a few setbacks but is now on a four-fight win streak. In his third UAE Warriors fight, he beat former UFC fighter Stefan Sekulić. Fialho was aggressive early on cutting off the cage on Sekulić. Sekulić grabbed a single leg and Fialho pushed on the face and landed a nasty elbow dropping him. The follow-up punches put Sekulic out cold. Savage finish from Fialho.
Grade: B+

Bantamweight, Vinicius de Oliveira (17-2)

Oliveria moved his win streak to six and defended his UAE Warriors title. He defended it against EFC champion Sylvester Chipfumbu. This fight was high pace and both met center cage full force. Oliveria was landed a lot of hard outside leg kicks. Chipfumbu was trying to find his way in and was coming into looping overhands. One wobbled Chipfumbu and he took Oliveira down right away but Oliveira got back up quickly. He hit Chipfumbu with another looping right hand to a head kick stuffing Chipfumbu. Oliveria had him on his knees and he quickly took the back and sunk in the RNC.
Grade: A

Flyweight, Steve Erceg (8-1)

Erceg got tagged early from a right hand. That forced Ecreg to tie up with his opponent. He wasn’t able to get the takedown and they eventually separated. Erceg clipped his opponent and quickly secured a guillotine. He had the arm-in guillotine and went to the mount and his opponent was forced to tap. So quickly set up and perfectly executed. Erceg made his second title defense for his Eternal MMA flyweight title.

Flyweight, Giacomo Santoro (6-0)

Round one was a competitive back-and-forth fight on the mat. Both guys created and won scrambles. Round two and three were all Santoro. Santoro got the takedowns at will and dominated on top. His opponent kept moving but Santoro stayed light on top. Many times he transitioned into dominant positions. Never got close to finishing it but I feel like the opening was there a few times.
Grade: C

Lightweight, Daniele Scagliusi (3-0)

Scagliusi made light work of his opponent stopping him in a little over a minute. Scagliusi landed a body kick to a bodylock takedown. He quickly went into the mount and took the back. His opponent stood up but Scagliusi was still on the back. Working for the RNC his foe went back down and Scagliusi sunk it in. His opponent tapped but still went out cold.
Grade: C+

Heavyweight, Oleg Popov (14-1)

A one-sided fight improved the win streak of Popov to twelve. He dominated a tough Mexican prospect, Alejandro Solorzano. A minute in Popov took Solorzano down. He controlled the round on top landing short punches staying busy enough. In round two he landed a clubbing left hook into a takedown seconds in. Popov kept busy with ground and pound. It all added up and Solorzano wasn’t improving his position so the ref eventually stepped in.
Grade: A

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