There is nothing bigger, pun intended, in Mixed Martial Arts than an exciting Heavyweight fight. Unfortunately, the Heavyweight division has seen a slight decrease in these massive superstars. From the world of MMA to the world of Boxing, marketable Heavyweights have been few and far between. After a long search I have found who I believe to be the Top Prospects for the Heavyweight division. These fighters are impressive, aggressive, and have the necessary attributes to become a big star in the Heavyweight Division MMA scene.
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 more 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
Tanner is a gritty fighter who is able to finish the fight in any position. He may be able to drop to Light Heavyweight at some point, but that is to be seen. Tanner fights Tim Hague on March 20, 2015 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for the Unified Organization.
Griffin has extremely fast hands and is not afraid to stand and bang. He has shown the ability to finish on the feet or the ground. He has finished all 4 of his professional fights. Look for him in early 2015 with a West Coast Promotion.
Blaydes is still very new to the sport but with 3 consecutive TKO’s in his first 3 fights paired with his collegiate wrestling at Northern Illinois University, Blaydes has all the potential in the world. Blaydes is scheduled to fight Allen Crowder for the “Battle in the South” Promotion on April 10th.
Tom is another one of those fighters who is relatively new to the sport but has the potential to be a huge star. He is a purple belt in jiu-jis and moves extremely quick for a Heavyweight. I would like to see him work his way into a promotion like Cage Warriors and step up his level of competition.
Augusto works well within the clinch and throws leg kicks with a purpose. He only fought once last year and it was an impressive TKO victory in Bellator. If he focuses on improving his takedown defense he could have a very successful 2015.
Cason is a great combination of Speed and Power. He fought Ovince St. Pruex in the Strikeforce Challengers series in 2011 but has only fought once since. His lone fight last year was a TKO win over veteran Robert Morrow. His fight against Cody East should prove to be a valuable test. More on him right now.
Has very impressive stand up and has won 4 of his last 5 fights via TKO. East trains at Jackson MMA in New Mexico and is the current Legacy Heavyweight Champion. A victory over Joe Cason could be the push East needs to get a call from the UFC. The fight goes down on March 20th in Duluth, GA for Legacy Fighting Championship.
On a 3 fight win streak in Bellator. All finishes. Efficient ground game and powerful hands. He could benefit from more defense and head movement. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ayala versus the aforementioned Augusto Sakai. If he can capitalize on that, he could see a title shot by mid to late 2015.
Great movement on the feet and is good at changing levels. His only loss was against UFC veteran Anthony Hamilton by a flash head kick knockout. Rama responded well with 3 straight victories. One of which was against former UFC fighter Tim Hague. Watch his fight with Derrick Mehmen to see just how quick he can be.
He uses his wrestling to set up the rest of his game. Likes to use dirty boxing and has vicious ground and pound. Seems as if he sometimes forces his shot, he will need to be more technical with higher competition. His last fight, a TKO win over UFC Veteran Travis Wiuff, was impressive enough to get him into the UFC. An impressive debut could put him right in the mix in the UFC HW division.
Chi Lewis Parry
Of course there had to be one to make me break my own rules, but I couldn’t allow myself to leave Chi off this list. He has very efficient stand up and is great in the clinch. He is great at using his 6’9” frame to keep smaller Heavyweights at a distance. Works well off of his back but may have trouble with a pure wrestler. A few more impressive victories could earn him a call from the UFC.
Dmitriy has some great stand up and destructive ground and pound. He show cased his power with a TKO victory early last year against Aleksander Emelianenko. He is contracted with Bellator and was scheduled to make his debut last summer against Manny Lara, but Lara was pulled from the fight due to illness. Hopefully we see Dmitriy on U.S. television very soon because he extremely fun to watch.
What else can I say besides he is very impressive everywhere. He moves well on his feet and works his opponents to the ground smoothly and quickly. Has a Fedor-esq demeanor and sneaky power. It would be nice to see him verse the top tier competition but being with M-1 could prevent that. The best chance of seeing him in America is; Scott Coker and Viacom can making another deal with M-1 Global.
Well hopefully, you at least agree with some of our Top Heavyweight Prospects. If not, let us know. Do you have a fighter who you think should crack the Top 10? Send us some information or a video. As always, leave a comment or find me on Twitter @TimmyStreetz. Next week we move on to the Light Heavyweights. Until then keep your hands up and your chin down…