The history of the Lightweight division has been one of turmoil. From the rocky beginnings of coming and going, to the thought that the smaller guys can’t sell a card, the Lightweights have always been a hot topic. Jens Pulver, B.J. Penn, and Frankie Edgar have helped pave the way for all Lightweights past and present.
In order to be a successful Lightweight you have to have power in both hands, high level wrestling, and speed…. Lots of speed. In order to compete in this division you must be able to compete in every aspect of MMA.
I have created this list after watching hours of fights from different MMA Promotions from all over the world. The rules were simple:
- The fighter could not have greater than 3 fights in the UFC.
- Fighter must be under the age of 32.
*As in all things in life, there can and will be exceptions
· Derek Loffer
Facebook: Derek Loffer
Derek Loffer is a raw young talent who has the shot to make a big splash in the Lightweight division. He has power in his hands and throws kicks from any position. He takes more shots than he needs to and he will have to clean up his striking in order to make the step to the next level. His big opportunity comes next month against Rick Hawn. This fight should show how Derek has evolved his game over the last year.
Steven Ray is putting Scottish MMA on the map. Ray has proven that distance is key when fighting in the Lightweight division. He has a sneaky body lock that he uses to get his opponents to the ground. From there Ray uses his tremendous ground game to finish the fight. His hands are sloppy, yet powerful. Back to back wins over UFC vet Curt Warburton was a great way to end 2014. Hopefully he continues to fight top competition in Cage Warriors in 2015.
Brent Primus is another fighter who appears to be comfortable no matter where he is in the cage. His calm demeanor and patience in tough situations helps him while in areas of weakness. Primus has a solid wrestling game and enough power in his hands to finish fights. It is yet to be determined if he has the pure raw talent to fight top competition. 2015 should help us decipher exactly what type of talent Primus is going to be.
Record : 5-0
Larue Burley is another guy who has done the most with every opportunity he has been given in his early MMA career. Solid hands and a good transition from his stand up game to the ground has given Burley the upper hand in his fights thus far. After a successful 3 fight stint in Bellator Burley takes his talents to RFA this April. If he can string together 2 to 3 wins there, this jack-of-all-trades could be in the UFC before we know it.
Gregor Gillespie is on the path that is often seen in the MMA community. The Edinboro University NCAA Wrestling Champion is a perfect 4-0, all 4 being finishes in the first round. He has showed his amazing wrestling, above average submission game, and destructive ground and pound. As with most college wrestling prodigy’s it will be interesting to see how his striking develops. If Josh Koscheck, Johnny Hendricks, and Ben Askren are any indication, Gregor Gillespie is a name MMA fans will be praising for years to come.
Darrel Horcher has some of the most technical striking in the Lightweight division. Add sneaky knockout power and you have yourself a deadly combination. His pure boxing will take him far, but he needs to work on his wrestling. The lightweight division is loaded with impressive wrestlers so his wrestling development is key. He continues to build his very impressive resume in the CFFC. Look for him to fight again sometime this summer.
Lowen Tynanes has seen a ton of success in his very young MMA career. Lowen can be best described as grinder, using his takedowns to pound out his opponents. We need to see more of his stand up game if he plans on making a jump to the next level. He only competed once in 2014 due to a contract dispute, but there is no doubt this dedicated young fighter was in the gym throughout his time off. Look for him to continue his rise in early 2015.
The tall and lanky Valdimir Sikic uses his height to pick apart his opponents inside the ring. Even when tired, Sikic has a way of knowing when to go for the finish. Only one of his 10 victories has gone to decision and that was his very first pro fight. It’s hard to praise him too much because his level of competition isn’t quite there, but a few impressive wins in 2015 could launch him up the rankings.
Vlad Popovskiy is a relentless buzz saw that keeps pushing the fight forward until he gets what he wants. He only boxes for as long as he has to before taking the fight to the ground and beating up his opponent. From beginning to end Vlad has an eerie calm about him. If he can get his striking on the same level as his ground game he has the opportunity to be a champion within the next 2 years.
Mansour Barnaoui loves to stand in the pocket and throw bombs. He has great power and the ability to trade with the best. He is no slouch on the ground either, with 7 of his 11 victories coming by submission. He needs to work on his takedown defense and his ability to change levels to avoid his opponent’s big shots. The BAMMA Lightweight Champion hasn’t fought in over a year, but with the company pushing strong in 2015 you should expect to see Mansour very soon.
Maxim Divnich is an amazing talent who shows tremendous patience and poise while fighting. He has the power in his hands and wrestling in his arsenal to compete with the best of the best in the Lightweight division. While his power never waivers, he seems to fade a bit in the later rounds. If he can work on his cardio and make it through some championship rounds, Divnich can be the next Russian to become a star in the United States.
Musa Khamanaev reminds me of a Russian Chad Mendes. Musa is absolutely relentless with his takedowns and is great at transitioning on the ground. His ground and pound is extremely effective and he has the ability to go for a submission if it is there. While he has power, he is most effective as a counter puncher. If he can get more aggressive with his striking, he will be on his way to the UFC by the end of 2015.
Twitter: @Mateusz Gamrot
Mateusz Gamrot is one of the most complete prospects we have seen in any weight class thus far. Gamrot has extreme power in every kick and punch to go along with his ability to change levels at the drop of a dime. He isn’t afraid to go for a submission while dominating top position and has the killer instinct to finish a fight. The KSW killer could be a big player in the Lightweight division by the end of 2015.
That is all for the Lightweight division. Make sure to check us out next week as we look into the Featherweight division. Also, make sure to scroll on down and take a look at all of our past rankings. We have had some changes and also have some big fights coming up this weekend. Including XFO 55 that we will be attending and giving live results throughout.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment, shoot me an e-mail or as always you can find me on twitter @TimmyStreetz. Next week we move to the Lightweights, so let us know who you think should make the Top 10 Prospect list. Until then, keep your hands up and your chin down…
|HW – Ranking||Name||Record||Last Fight||Next Fight|
|1||Marcin Tybura||12 Wins 0 Losses||R1 Submission over Denis Smoldarev||Not Announced|
|2||Dmitriy Sosnovskiy||8 Wins 0 Losses||R1 TKO over Ivo Cuk||Not Announced|
|3||Chi Lewis Parry||6 Wins 0 Losses||R1 TKO over Alain Ngalani||Not Announced|
|4||Timothy Johnson||8 Wins 1 Loss||R1 TKO over Travis Wiuff||Fights Shamil Abdurahimov at UFC Fight Night on April 4th in Fairfax, VA, USA|
|5||Smealinho Rama||9 Wins 1 Loss||R1 TKO over Derrick Mehmen||Fights Blagoi Ivanov at WSOF 21 on June 5th in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
|6||Javy Ayala||8 Wins 3 Losses||R1 Submission over Raphael Butler||Not Announced|
|7||Cody East||9 Wins 1 Loss||R1 TKO over Vernon Lewis||Fights Joe Cason at Legacy Fighting Championship 40 on March 20th in Duluth, GA, USA|
|8||Joe Cason||9 Wins 1 Loss||R1 TKO over Robert Morrow||Fights Cody East at Legacy Fighting Championship 40 on March 20th in Duluth, GA, USA|
|9||Augusto Sakai||7 Wins 0 Losses||R1 TKO over Matt Frembling||Not Announced|
|10||Tom Aspinall||2 Win 0 Losses||R1 Submission over Ricky King||Not Announced|
|HM||Curtis Blaydes||2 Wins 0 Losses||R1 TKO over Brad Faylor||Fighting Maurice Greene on 2/28 at XFO55 on 2/28 in Countryside, Illinois, USA|
|HM||Brandon Griffin||4 Wins 0 Losses||R1 TKO over Tyler East||Not Announced|
|HM||Tanner Boser||6 Wins 0 Losses||R3 TKO over Jordan Tracey||Fights Tim Hague at Unified-MMA 22 on March 20th in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada|
|LHW – Ranking||Name||Record||Last Fight||Next Fight|
|1||Shamil Gamzatov||7 Wins 0 Losses||R1 Submision over Yuri Gorbenko||Not Announced|
|2||Abdul-Kerim Edilov||14 Wins 4 Losses||R1 Submission over Gillard Alfredo Fagundes||Not Announced|
|3||Gadzhimurad Antigulov||15 Wins 4 Losses||R1 Submission overpreviously ranked Artur Astakhov||Not Announced|
|4||Shamil Nurmagomedov||18 Wins 3 Losses||R1 TKO over Maxim Futin||Not Announced|
|5||Stephan Puetz||12 Wins 1 Loss||R2 TKO over Valery Myasnikov||Not Announced|
|6||Ken Hasegawa||9 Wins 0 Losses 1 Draw||Decision against Matt Thompson||Fights Ryuta Sakurai on 2/28 for DEEP in Tokyo, Japan|
|7||Mikhail Mokkhnatkin||6 Wins 1 Loss 1 Draw||Draw against Jiri Prochazka||Not Announced|
|8||Jiri Prochazka||11 Wins 2 Losses1 Draw||Draw against Mikhail Mokkhnatkin||Not Announced|
|9||Karl Moore||5 Wins 0 Losses||Decision over Lloyd Clarkson||Not Announced|
|10||Karl Albrektsson||4 Wins 0 Losses||R2 Submission over Tomasz Janiszewski||Not Announced|
|HM||Misha Cirkunov||8 Wins 2 Losses||R1 TKO over Rodney Wallace||Not Announced|
|HM||Neal Ewing||5 Wins 0 Losses||R3 Submission over Travis Cox||Not Announced|
|HM||Artur Astakhov||10 Wins 3 Losses||R1 Submission Loss to #3 Gadzhimurad Antigulov||Not Announced|
|MW – Ranking||Name||Record||Last Fight||Next Fight|
|1||Emiliano Sordi||13 Wins 4 Losses||1st Rnd Submission over Bubba McDaniel||Not Announced|
|2||Igor Svirid||10 Wins 1 Loss||1st Rnd KO over Leandro Ataides||Not Announced|
|3||Brandon Halsey||8 Wins 0 Losses||1st Rnd Submission over Alexander Schlemenko||Not Announced|
|4||Tim Williams||10 Wins 1 Loss||Unanimous Decision victory over Ron Stallings||Fights Anthony Smith at CFFC 46 on February 28th in Chester, Pennsylvania, USA|
|5||Ben Reiter||15 Wins 0 Losses||Unanimous Decision victory over Shamir Garcia||Not Announced|
|6||Krasimir Mladenov||12 Wins 0 Losses||Unanimous Decision victory over Brandan Kornberger||Fights Clifford Starks at WSOF 19 on March 28th in Phoenix, Arizona, USA|
|7||Anatoly Tokov||18 Wins 1 Loss||3rd Rnd TKO over Enoc Solves Torres||Fights Adam Zajac at ACB 15 on March 21st in Nalchik, Russia, Russia|
|8||Bubba Bush||8 Wins 2 Losses 1 NC||NC against Kevin Casey||Not Announced|
|9||Alfonso Gonzales||7 Wins 1 Loss||3rd Rnd Submission over Jordan Currie||Fights Nick Ring at HFC on June 19th in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada|
|10||Miles Anstead||5 Wins 0 Losses||Unanimous Decision over Jared McComb||Fights Markhaile Wedderburn at HKFC on March 20th in Calgary, Alberta, Canada|
|HM||Victor Reyna||5 Wins 1 Loss||1st Rnd TKO over Evan Thompson||Not Announced|
|HM||Oluwale Bamgbose||4 Wins 0 Losses||1st Rnd TKO over Devon Morris||Not Announced|
|HM||Neiman Gracie||2 Wins 0 Losses||2nd Rnd Submission over Dustin Holyko||Fighting Bobby Flynn at Bellator 134 on February 27th in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA|