The Middleweight division has long been one of my personal favorites. The fighters have the speed of the lower weight classes to go along with the power of the big guys. The fluidity of their striking, the power of their takedown, and the slickness of their submission game is exactly what makes the MW division so great. These 13 fighters all have the opportunity for that greatness.
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 30.
*As in all things in life, there can and will be exceptions
Neiman Gracie is doing everything right in the very early stages of another Gracie career. His hands are better than expected and of course the jiu-jitsu champion is smooth and cut throat on the ground. After fighting twice for World Series of Fighting Neiman is headed to Bellator. It will be fun to see what Scott Coker has in mind for the exciting young Gracie.
Oluwale Bamgbose has been in the sport for less than 2 years but he has dominated from the start. He has finished every opponent via TKO and has not left the first round. He has great power in both hands and some very powerful kicks. It will be interesting to see him against someone with powerful wrestling but he started 2015 off right with a TKO win at Ring of Combat 50 on 1/23
Victor Reyna has the potential to be a headliner for a large promotion within the next few years. He has very fast and powerful hands, along with the desire to always finish fights. He has been knocked out so his chin needs to be watched, but that shouldn’t hold him back. Legacy Fighting Championships may be looking at a future champion. Watch Victor on 2/13 at Legacy’s next event
Miles Anstead is a Nova Uniao black belt that has looked extremely impressive in his young MMA career. As expected he could use some work on his feet but he transitions well to the ground and should face some fantastic competition this year in Maximum Fighting Championship.
Again, I am breaking my own rule, but while Gonzales is 34 he has only been fighting professionally for about 2 years. He is smooth on his feet and can finish the fight on the ground. He was 2-1 in 2014 and has already had a submission victory in 2015. Alfonso is scheduled to fight former UFC Fighter Nick Ring in June.
Bubba Bush has good power but predominately uses his striking to set up the take down. He has a fantastic body lock that he uses to get the fight to the ground where he has a good ground game. His last fight was a loss to Kevin Casey in the UFC but it was overturned to a No Contest after Casey tested positive for steroids. Look for Bush to get another shot inside the octagon in 2015.
Anatoly Tokov is everything you have come to expect in a Russian fighter. He is quick on his feet and methodical with his takedowns. He has tremendous power in his ground and pound. Go watch his fight with Albert Duraev from last March for proof of that. He hasn’t lost in over 3 years and is systematically beating every Middleweight M-1 can throw at him. Hopefully we can see him fight a big name in 2015.
Igor Svirid has shown the ability to win no matter where the fight goes and has a great combination of speed and power. The Kazakhstan native put himself on the map with his 17 second KO of Leandro Ataides last November. If OneFC can continue to bring in high-level competition Svirid could be a star in 2015. Look for him to defend his title against Michal Pasternak sometime in 2015
Ben is another Bellator fighter who is flat out terrifying. He wrestled at 285lbs at the University of Pennsylvania and moved down to Lima, Peru after college to teach children English. That’s where he fell in love with MMA and has never looked back. As is the case with most wrestler his striking is questionable, but his wrestling, ground and pound, and pure size makes him a tough out for anyone in the MW division. Look for him to get a crack at Champion Brandon Halsey sometime in 2015.
Tim Williams possesses all the tools you would expect from a UFC fighter. He is an effective striker with a dominant ground game. He has appeared on the Ultimate Fighter twice and in his last fight beat UFC fighter Ron Stallings. He doesn’t have the KO power that you see in some Middleweights but that doesn’t seem to matter. He has finished every fight and his only loss was due to a cut. A win over Strikeforce and Bellator veteran Anthony Smith later this month could earn him a shot in the UFC.
Brandon has made is quite clear what he is going to do when he fights. Take you down, beat you up, and if you don’t quit he will submit you. It will be interesting to see him up against someone with a similar wrestling style so we can see more from his stand up. It’s hard to consider the Bellator Middleweight Champion a prospect, but at just 28 years old Brandon is on the cusp of being a huge star. A repeat of his 2014 performance will make Brandon Halsey a household name.
As his nickname “The Wrestler” would lead you to believe, Krasimir Mladenov controls most of his fights on the ground. He needs to drastically improve his hands and work on setting up his takedown, but when he gets a hold of someone. That’s it. He is in control. He is still a little green in terms of fighting top competition, but he should get a higher level opponent very soon in World Series of Fighting.
Very impressive ground game and vicious ground and pound. Hands are improving with every fight. Hasn’t lost since 2012. Has wrestling skills not often seen outside of the U.S. Could become a star in Bellator in 2015. If he puts in the work he has the ability to compete with the best in the world within any organization. Look for him to get a high profile fight in Bellator in 2015
*Emiliano was fighting at LHW and was consequently on the LHW Prospect List. He will continue to fight at MW so we made the change. Sorry for the confusion.
Anderson Silva had run the Middleweight division for years, but the whole division is open now. Any of the fighters on this list have the ability to become the new face of the MW division in the MMA community. Next week we move on to the Welterweights. Make sure to take a look below at the HW and LHW rankings from previous weeks. There have been several changes in the LHW ranking, along with updates to fighters next fights. As always let us know what you think! Agree or disagree 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 Middleweights, so let us know who you think should make the Top 10 Prospect list. Until then, keep your hands up and your chin down…
The Top 10 Prospects for the previously released weight classes.
|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 4thin Fairfax, VA, USA|
|5||Smealinho Rama||9 Wins 1 Loss||R1 TKO over Derrick Mehmen||Not Announced|
|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 onMarch 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 onMarch 20th in Duluth, GA, USA|
|9||Augusto Sakai||7 Wins 0 Losses||R1 TKO over Matt Frembling||Not Announced|
|10||Tom Aspinall||1 Win 0 Losses||R1 Submission over Michael Piszczek||Fights Ricky King at BAMMA 18 on February 21st in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England|
|HM||Curtis Blaydes||2 Wins 0 Losses||R1 TKO over Brad Faylor||Not Announced|
|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||Artur Astakhov||10 Wins 2 Losses||R1 Submission over Evgeni Guryanov||Fights Gadzhimurad Antigulov on 2/21 for UMMAP in Krasnodar, Russia|
|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||Draw against Jiri Prochazka||Not Announced|
|8||Jiri Prochazka||11 Wins 2 Losses||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||Darren Stewart||2 Wins 0 Losses||R1 TKO over Pelu Adetola||Not Announced|
|HM||Neal Ewing||5 Wins 0 Losses||R3 Submission over Travis Cox||Not Announced|