MMA Prospect Watch: The Most Impressive Fighters from February

Josh Silveira PFL Challenger Series 1
Josh Silveira, PFL Challenger Series 1 at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida on February 18, 2022. (Cooper Neill for PFL)

We’re getting to it a little late this month, but here’s a look back at some of the most impressive MMA prospects in action back in February!

Featherweight, Jose Johnson (14-7)

Johnson improved his win streak following a victory over a top prospect in Mo Miller last November. This time he took out former TUF veteran Dulani Perry. It was the first punch Johnson threw, that being the right hand. It landed and knocked Perry out cold absolutely starching him. Johnson is always putting on highlight-reel performances.
Grade: B+

Bantamweight, Kasey Tanner (6-0)

A very easy win from the Fight Ready product Kasey Tanner. With no issue prior Tanner got the single-leg takedown. Tanner took the back and kept busy landing ground and pound. On the broadcast, it was announced that Tanner landed 72 punches and eventually the ref saved his opponent. He keeps his undefeated record and gets his first stoppage by TKO as a pro.
Grade: B

Flyweight, An Ho (1-0)

Someone I really liked as an amateur, An Ho made his pro debut for LFA and looked great. Ho kept the fight standing and threw with a lot of different looks. He was using a lot of quick spinning attacks that were thrown with no wasted motion. Ho was creating traps and finding success with his hands. He landed a spinning back fist dropping his foe. The fight was stopped maybe a bit too early after some ground and pound. Nonetheless, Ho looked stellar so watch for this 21-year-old.
Grade: A

Flyweight, Paris Moran (6-1)

Moran improves his win streak to five with a dominant performance. He fought really patiently and kept sharp in his striking. He fought off every takedown as well. Moran picked his shots picking apart his opponent Joey Elzea through three rounds. When he was landed it was in combinations up to four at a time. In round three Moran picked up the pace busting up Elzea and dropping him at one point. Moran could’ve finished the fight but fought smart.
Grade: B+

Light heavyweight, Bruce Souto (15-3)

Souto started off throwing the jab and some heavy kicks to the legs. His opponent Davis ended up catching a kick and putting Souto on his back. Souto had to fight through a front choke and did get back to his feet. The Brazilian landed a flying knee and some left hands as Davis was going down putting him out on his face. In a fight that was about 50/50 Souto shut the lights out.
Grade: B-

Light heavyweight, Josh Silveira (8-0)

Silveira remains undefeated and finishes the fight with an RNC in round three. On the feet, Silveira landed a lot of good kicks but it was the wrestling being the factor. He was getting double leg takedowns putting a lot of strength into multiple takedowns. In wasn’t until round three when Silveira took the back and sunk in the RNC forcing his opponent to tap. Not a pretty performance but he did his thing.
Grade: C+

Middleweight, Jordan Newman (4-0)

Newman dominated in this fight securing his undefeated record. His wrestling won him the fight but did land a few right hands to close the distance. Newman did let his opponent back up three times but took it right back down soon after. He smashed on top with active ground pound smashing with elbows. Newman couldn’t finish but did get a 10-8 from one of the judges. Just another solid wrestler Bellator has.
Grade: C+

Bantamweight, Jaylon Bates (5-0)

Of all his pro fights this one was his least impressive but Bates still looked apart. At times he went to his back but he scrambled and got takedowns of his own. While fighting long with his hands and a diverse kicking attack he blended in some wrestling. Bates was too much in the long haul never slowing and in round three finished with a RNC. One of many bright young stars Bellator has.
Grade: B-

Welterweight, Abdoul Abdouraguimov (14-1)

This was a career performance by Abdouraguimov winning the Ares FC title and beating former UFC fighter Godofredo Pepey. They tied up early and Abdouraguimov got two takedowns. Pepey used an omoplata to create a scramble but it was Abdouraguimov that capitalized. Abdouraguimov threw up an inverted triangle and cranked on the arm forcing Pepey to tap. The “Lazy King” proves he’s a top prospect in the welterweight division.
Grade: A

Flyweight, Kevin Fernandez (3-0)

Two young flyweight prospects between Kevin Fernandez and Cody Linne threw down, and Fernandez dominated. He did a lot of things in this fight but made it look so simple. On the feet, Fernandez fought with his footwork and kicks switching stances frequently and throwing a variety of kicks. He got the takedown each round and stayed on top staying busy enough and that was the story of the fight. Fernandez looked good but we need to see more.
Grade: C+

Lightweight, Malik Lewis (5-0)

Lewis got the TKO late round one in a fight he took control of from the beginning. He used his tall frame on the outside throwing a lot of kicks and trying to find the head kick. Lewis did a great job splitting the guard with his hands throwing from different angles and combos. Lewis threw from both sides attacking frequently. As he got more comfortable he cut the cage off more and his clinch work prevailed. He started to pull away with a few knees and it was a knee and a left hand that sat his opponent down. A few more shots came and the ref stepped in. Lewis looked great and keeps his “0”.
Grade: A

Flyweight, Cody Davis (5-0)

It didn’t work out for Davis in the beginning getting taken down a few times. He did quickly turn the tide hurting his opponent with a left hand. At the end of the first round Davis had an RNC sunk in and if there were a few seconds left his opponent may have gone to sleep. Davis won this fight with his wrestling and staying on his opponent from bell to bell. He looks like a promising flyweight prospect.
Grade: A-

Bantamweight, Daniel Argueta (7-0)

Since his stint on TUF 29 he’s had two impressive performances including this one handing Brazilian Mairon Santos his first loss. Santos was someone I scouted and was high on and Argueta ran through him. Santos didn’t have a moment to breathe in this fight as in all three rounds Argueta took him down quickly and smothered him on top. Argueta kept busy with heavy pressure and ground and pound until the ref stopped it in round three. Argueta with his pace, pressure, cardio, and the ground game is a force.
Grade: A+

Atomweight, Elle Wagman (4-0)

Wagman was on point this fight with her striking. She had her right hand doing the talking for her whether that was off a one-two, the uppercut, or down the middle. Wagman was landing at will finding her range often and accurately. She dropped her opponent in round three with a right to the body and a left to the head. Shortly after Wagman locked in a standing guillotine and the other girl tapped.
Grade: B+

Featherweight, Gauge Young (4-0)

Young has been a fighter-to-watch pro coming from a successful amateur career. He beat another promising prospect who had a similar path in Davis Evans. Early on Evans caught a kick and put Young down. Nothing came from it and when they separated Young threw a counter right over the shoulder. It landed putting Evans down and the extra shots put him out cold. A statement win from a serious prospect in Gauge Young.
Grade: B

Welterweight, Mikey England (6-1)

England moved his win streak to two beating a veteran in Zak Bucia. It was a mauling performance too from England. He easily took Bucia down in the start of rounds one and two. No time lost England landed a slew of damaging ground and pound creating a bloody mess. England landed a lot of cutting elbows and never let up until the ref stopped the fight. Strong wrestling and a threatening ground game.
Grade: B-

Featherweight, Jesse Butler (11-4)

In his last two fights, Butler beat two former UFC fighters in Anthony Ivy and this time Masio Fullen. Butler found a home with a lot of kicks going low and up high. Both guys just wanted to stand and trade and that’s what they did. In an exchange, Butler landed a right-left on the butting that spun Fullen around in brutal fashion. What a highlight-reel knockout.
Grade: A