Weekly MMA Prospect Report: Tonon’s Time the Shine?

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Rivan Kuniev Credit: Tapology

Eagle FC 46 | US | Friday

Heavyweight, Rizvan Kuniev (11-2-1)

Kuniev has some sort of background in Wushu Sanda which you can tell from watching his fights. On the feet, he doesn’t hold that heavyweight power but is agile and diverse, unlike most of the big guys out there. Kuniev is primarily a kickboxer who fights behind some flashy kicks from a lot of different angles. He’s well-rounded also being able to wrestle well, and he has a good top game. He fights Anthony Hamilton (18-10).

Middleweight, Ikram Aliskerov (11-1)

Along with other accomplishments, Aliskerov is a two-time world combat sambo champion out of Makhachkala, Russia. His only career loss is to UFC fighter Khamzat Chimaev. Since that loss, Aliskerov has won his next three fights. While he has a wrestling background, Aliskerov likes to stand and trade with his opponents. He has a good jab along with some impressive accuracy and timing on both his strikes and level changes. A lot is still unknown about him, but with the power, speed, and accuracy he shows on the feet while being an accomplished wrestler, he looks promising. He fights Nah-shon Burrell (19-11).

Welterweight, Archie Colgan (3-0)

Colgan wrestled in college for the University of Wyoming and did really well. You can see all his accomplishments and his record here. In MMA his wrestling has transitioned over really well. He’s a smaller guy but it’s easier for him to get underneath for the takedown. Colgan along with top-notch wrestling has a powerful right hand. A superb wrestler with knockout power. He fights Dylan Mantello (4-1).

Welterweight, Tyler Ray (9-2)

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. Ray recently beat veteran John Howard dominating him to a decision. He fights Thomas Webb (16-7).

PFL Challenger Series 4 | US | Friday

Featherweight, Edwin Cooper Jr (5-1)

Cooper is a three-time Illinois high school state champ, an NJCAA National Champ, a D2 finalist, and he was a national qualifier at the University of Iowa. Cooper is a top-level wrestler. To wrestle is his intention in every fight as it should be. He’s very aggressive, strong, and crafty. Cooper has a deep gas tank being able to impose his will on you constantly. He’s got lock-down top control and some good ground and pound when the opening is there. He fights Troy Lamson (13-4).

LFA 126 | Brazil | Friday

Featherweight, Jonas Bilharinho (9-1)

Bilharinho is an absolute sniper with an incredible sixth-sense-like ability to finish the fight. He’s a master of the range being able to control the distance. Bilharinho throws laser straight punches and a very quick left kick to the body. He just throws a lot of snapping kicks and long punches to commit on bigger strikes. Bilharinho is very technical and still explosive when he wants to be. Dana should take another look if he wins this. He fights Rafael Barbosa (14-4).

Featherweight, Rafael Barbosa (14-4)

In 2019 Barbosa was a hit prospect but would lose three fights in a row. Since that setback Barbosa has won his next two fights. He fights with a karate stance, lasering the jab along with an excellent right kick to the liver. The Brazilian is slick on the feet and does a good job with his movement. Barbosa has some solid head movement, slipping and ripping his counters. He is still green on the mat though, but at his young age, there is still lots of room for improvement. He fights Jonas Bilharinho (9-1-1).

Welterweight, Gabriel Bonfim (11-0)

Bonfim is a long striker who at times gets drawn into brawls but his accuracy and power has held up. Where he excels more is on the mat using his superior jiu-jitsu. He has eight submission wins all coming by a way of a choke. If he can at least get a fight or two he’s going to be hard to deny. He fights Eduardo Garvon (13-3-1).

Lightweight, Ismael Bonfim (16-3)

Bonfim is a really good talent out of Brazil with a lot of upsides. Along with a good amount of MMA experience, he has competed in boxing as well. As an amateur boxer, his record was 24-3 and as a pro it’s 4-1. All his boxing experience has played dividends for Bonfim in MMA. His hands are super sharp and not only is his striking good he has a ground game in his back pocket. His boxing skills show he’s a good counter striker, with frequent combinations, a good jab, and excellent bodywork. He fights Andrey Augusto (12-2-1).

Light-heavyweight, Rodolfo Bellato (7-1)

Bellato has been a training partner of the Nogueira brothers for a number of years and has cornered them in the UFC before. Along with competing in various jiu-jitsu competitions, with many medals won, he’s also competed in kickboxing — most notably for WGP. Being well-versed in all areas Bellato is primarily a jiu-jitsu guy that will smash your face in with brutal ground and pound. A huge submission threat as well, as all three of his subs are by a different type of lock. He fights Thiago Vieira (11-4).

Featherweight Gabriel Alves Braga (6-0)

Only 6-0 and 23-years-old, Gabriel Alves Barga has been really impressive. Brazil has tons of highly regarded prospects and Braga has been flying under the radar. Braga has a solid ground game with his ground-and-pound but prefers to stay standing. Braga is very technical as he loves to throw from all different kinds of angles. He throws a bit of everything including knees and elbows and puts all his strikes together perfectly. Braga rips the body frequently and he mixes that into combinations very well. He’s always throwing output, mixing in all his weapons. He fights José Delano (9-2).

 Slam FC Underdog 5 | Italy | Saturday

Featherweight, Michele Baiano (6-0)

Baiano stood out to me and many others when he knocked out Nizar Ben Amara who had eyes on him. He’s a slick striker that holds a lot of power, speed, and technique. Baiano has good straight punches and is an excellent pull-counter striker. He throws a lot of kicks mixing it up as well. Footage does lack so there is still be more to be seen. Baiano fights Mohammad Reza Naseri (3-1-1).

War of Titans 2 | Spain | Saturday

Bantamweight, Farid Basharat (7-0)

Basharat is the brother of UFC fighter and Contender Series contract winner Javid Basharat. Just like his brother he has tons of upside being a really good talent with a high ceiling. On the feet, Basharat fights comfortably with his hands low relying on counters and movement. He also switches stances frequently and uses a lot of backward movement. Basharat mainly fights in bursts when standing, throwing many flying knees. That said, he takes a lot of risks. Basharat has excellent kickboxing and a wide diverse attack. He’s stronger on the mat and to get it there he has a good single leg and trips along the cage. Jiu-jitsu is his best weapon even if that is just with control or winning important scrambles. He fights Raul Guzmán (6-4).

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