The @MMAWizzard knows prospects, and he’s got his eye on plenty of quality talents across the world who will be stepping inside the cage this weekend. Read on to learn about all of the best under-the-radar talents fighting in Brazil, UK, Finland, Canada, and the U.S. regionals, with plenty of highlight videos to get you hyped for their fights.
Fight2Night 2, Friday. (Brazil)
-W115, Virna Jandiroba (10-0): Jandiroba is a high-level BJJ black belt with 9 submission finishes in her 10 wins, including an RNC finish of UFC veteran Lisa Ellis at the first Fight2Night show last November. She has very solid wrestling to compliment her solid submission style, and she is good at getting inside in the clinch, getting her hands together, and dumping her opponents to the mat. So far she hasn’t had any problems getting the fight to the mat or completely dominating once the fight hits the ground. She fights Ericka Almeida (7-2) who is a former UFC fighter coming off her release after losses to Aisling Daly and Julianna Lima. Almeida is mainly a grappler, and that’s an area where Virna should be superior.
-W115, Marina Rodriguez (6-0): Marina is a Muay Thai fighter who is excellent in the clinch and throws particularly lethal knees. She’s a high volume striker who overwhelms with rapid attack and is very strong. Rodriguez has been able to overpower low level competition but she is still green. Her takedown defense is a question mark, I’ve seen her get taken down before but she is active off of her back. She fights Samara Santos (10-2) who despite her record is actually not too good at all.
-185, Faycal Hucin (11-3): He is a very strong and athletic guy he has good wrestling being able to suplex his opponents to the mat easy. On top, he is very heavy he has solid ground and pound and is a submission threat, as he dabbles in submission grappling when he’s not inside the cage. On the feet, Hucin has good footwork and some power in his hands. He fights Paulo Thiago (17-9) who is a former UFC vet on a current 2 fight win streak. Thiago isn’t the same elite fighter that he was at his peak, but he’s still a very good grappler and a win over Thiago would be huge for Faycal.
Cage 39, Saturday. (Europe Nordic)
-135, Janne Elonen-Kulmala (15-4): This 27 year old native of Finland can really do it all, but he shines the most on the mat where he has really dangerous jiu-jitsu. Despite his good ground game Janne tends to spend most of his time on the feet. He throws wild but accurate punches that connect a lot, has shown power in his hands, and has an excellent chin to back it up. At times he tends to slow down and he keeps his hands down really low, but he’s on an 11 fight win streak against good opposition and he always finds a way to win. He fights 23 year old Brazilian Diego Silva (6-2) in the main event. Silva is pretty green and I think Janne will be better everywhere.
-125, Aleksi Toivonen (4-0): His only loss in his career is in the amateur scene against rising star Jose “Shorty” Torres in the 2014 IMMAF World Championships semfinals. Since going pro Toivonen has shown superior grappling and submission skills, tapping all 4 of his opponents with two armbars, a kneebar, and an RNC to his credit. He doesn’t tend to stay on the feet too long but he has shown his ability to land the head kick. Generally he doesn’t waste time before shooting in for the takedown or throwing his opponents to the mat with his solid wrestling skills. His ground game is top level with excellent transitions. His ability to pass guard with ease is one of his strong points, and the way that he sets up his submissions is just amazing. He fights 20 year old Oleg Lichkovakha (3-1) who is nowhere near the level as Aleksi.
Fightstar Championship 9, Saturday. (UK)
-185, Mike Shipman (9-1): After losing his first pro fight, this London Shootfighters prospect has gone on a tear, finishing all nine of his fights with seven of them coming in the 1st round. Shipman is a threat everywhere, as he great timing on his wrestling and is adept at getting the body lock and slamming his opponent to the mat. On top, he is very heavy with excellent control and has a knack for grabbing the neck finishing four of his submissions by choke. On the feet, Shipman has big power in his hands – enough to end the fight in one punch or sit his opponent on his ass. Overall he looks like a very good fighter. He fights Kevin Fryer (5-2) who has heavy hands but Shipman shouldn’t have a problem with him.
KOP 55, Saturday. (Michigan)
-135, Cody Stamann (13-1): A wrestler by trade, on the feet Stamann isn’t great but he has been getting better. He brings string pressure, moving forward with combinations and throwing plenty of volume but it’s just not very technical and is sometimes stiff. Stamann is starting to mix a lot of kicks in combination with his punches and he also has some power. But his wrestling is where he shines, as he is very physically strong and can get most opponents to the mat without much of a problem. Cody moves great on the ground and can go for a submission anywhere but it’s his pace, cardio, and constant pressure for three rounds (and he’s even gone five rounds twice) that really make him stand out. He fights Zac Church (8-4) who is decent but no chance I see him winning this.
265, Brett Martin (2-0): Martin carries a lot more weight than most fighters but that doesn’t stop him from being an interesting prospect at 265. He is foremost a wrestler and he’s a very strong guy who can lift up other heavyweights and slam them to the mat. Once on top he is staying there, as he knows how to use his weight but he doesn’t just lay and pray. He has very good ground and pound and he also has knockout power on the feet but prefers to rely on his wrestling. He fights Destin Allen (0-1) who is a low level opponent.
LFA, Saturday. (North Dakota)
-170, Logan Storley (4-0): Storley is an elite level prospect whose first four fights came in the old RFA promotion on AXS TV. Logan is a four time All-American wrestler and he has been dominant in his first four fights. He’s an explosive wrestler who has had no trouble securing easy takedowns and once he’s on top he shows heavy pressure and lands big ground and pound, finishing each of his fights by TKO. On the feet he hasn’t showed too much yet but he has a powerful right hand and has done a good job throwing straight punches as he moves forward. He fights Andres Murray (1-0) on this FloCombat.com card, who I can’t find too much on.
BFL 48, Saturday. (Canada)
-265, Arjan Bhullar (5-0): Arjan is a former Canadian Olympic wrestler and his wrestling game is his best weapon so far in MMA. He is an agile and skilled wrestler especially for a heavyweight, as he can get the double leg or the body lock for the takedown. Once he gets on top of you ge’s good at staying on top for the rest of the round. Bhullar’s striking isn’t great as he hasn’t shown a lot of power like most heavyweights but he is very aggressive and always pushing forward with strikes to set up his takedowns. He fights Joey Yager (11-5) who is a tough guy but I’m sure he won’t be able to stay off of his back.