2012 World MMA Bantamweight Scouting Report: #7 - Sirwan Kakai

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Photo by Patrick Jenkinson

Name: 22px-flag_of_sweden Sirwan Kakai
Nickname: Zohan
Age: 22
Height: 5' 6"
Location:
Gothenburg, Sweden

Not to be outdone by the rest of the world in producing talent, Scandinavia has become a hotbed for prospects over the last few years. A rapidly growing support system of regional promotions and adequate training facilities have created an environment that helps fighters grow and compete at a high level. The growth has been so dramatic, in fact, that the UFC will head to Sweden in 2012.

One of the emerging prospects that the UFC may want to target is Sweden's Sirwan Kakai (6-1). The 22-year-old bantamweight is likely on the UFC's radar already after he participated in a casting call for The Ultimate Fighter season 14 earlier this year, making it past the first round of cuts before getting the axe himself. Despite not making it onto the reality series, Kakai has the potential to make a splash inside the Octagon in the near future.

Since turning professional three years ago, Kakai has put together a solid six-fight winning streak that was recently capped off by a win over Scotland's James Doolan at Superior Challenge 7 in April. Primarily a ground fighter early in his career, Kakai's stand-up game has evolved considerably since his professional debut. His performance against Doolan was the perfect showcase of those improved skills, frustrating the Scotsman with heavy leg kicks and an enhanced boxing game before winning via guillotine choke in the second round.

Kakai should have no problems continuing his progression into an elite level talent. A member of Team GBG in Sweden, which houses fellow prospects Bruno Carvalho, Assan Njie, and TUF'er Hamid Corassani, Kakai also trains with Brad Pickett, making trips stateside to American Top Team in Florida with the UFC bantamweight.

Kakai's potential is high with the people he's surrounded himself with, particularly a great bantamweight fighter like Pickett and the plethora of solid training partners at his disposal. He isn't quite a UFC-quality talent just yet however. His improving stand-up game still lacks threatening power, and his strength of record makes one skeptical of his chances against better competition stateside. On the upside, it's difficult to dismiss him as a future UFC fighter due to the shallow depths of the talent pool at bantamweight.

Kakai needs to climb the ladder in 2012. Specifically, he needs to test himself against stronger competition, which is hard to find within the confines of the 135 lb. weight class in Europe. Irishman Paul McVeigh may serve as the perfect opponent until Kakai can find something more suitable like a UFC veteran. If he wins a couple of important bouts against legitimate competition, consider him a lock for a stint in the UFC in 2012.

Video footage of Sirwan Kakai in action after the jump...

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Sirwan Kakai Highlight

Sirwan Kakai vs. Thomas Back
The Zone FC - February 26, 2011

Sirwan Kakai vs. James Doolan
Superior Challenge 7 - April 30, 2011

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