World MMA Scouting Report Update: Lightweights

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#1 - Thiago Michel (8-2)

Recent Bouts
11/27/2010: vs. Alessandro Ferreira (3-1) - Loss (1:10 R1, RNC)
04/09/2011: vs. Erick Barbosa (6-4) - Win (4:55 R1, TKO)

News
Michel was heavily rumored to be involved in a potential bout under BAMMA within the last couple of months. He is now rumored to be targeted by Bellator.

Following his status as our #1 lightweight prospect on the 2011 World MMA Scouting Report, Michel was submitted by relatively unknown Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu player Alessandro Ferreira at Brasil Fight 3 in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil. Ferreira, a Chute Box fighter, was able to choke out Michel at the 1:10 mark of the first round via rear naked choke, laying doubt as to whether Michel could live up to our ranking. 

Michel rebounded impressively this past Saturday with a knockout win over Ze Mario Team lightweight Erick "Parrudo" Barbosa at Brasil Fight 4, putting together a whirlwind of offense in the final moments of the first round to finish Barbosa. The performance included a stunning spinning kick, solid takedown defense, and pinpoint accuracy with his punches, causing Barbosa to flee along the fence in the final minute of the fight. Michel chased down "Parrudo", kicking him in a manner that was nearly identical to the end of the Njokuani-Horodecki fight. The blow stunned the already-dazed Barbosa, allowing Michel to punch his way to victory with five ticks left in the round.

Michel's takedown defense is continuing to improve, and he's a far superior striker to most lightweights in the division. The jury is still out as to whether he can live up to the hype, however, as he still has a weakness in his submission defense. It was a ballsy pick on our part, but Michel is a very exciting lightweight to watch.  

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#2 - Ricardo Tirloni (10-1)

Recent Bouts
11/20/2010: vs. Alexandre Pedroso (1-5) - Win (1:46 R1, Brabo Choke)

News
Tirloni was scheduled to fight Hacran Dias at Shooto 20 on December 11th. Unfortunately, he suffered a foot injury and was unable to compete on the card, derailing his progression to the big leagues for now. 

I was able to reach Ricardo via Twitter (@RICARDOTIRLONI), and he stated that he will have news regarding an upcoming fight, possibly by this weekend. Don't feel too bad for Ricardo's layoff however, he is, after all, dating the beautiful Aline Zermiani. Baller status? Check. Reason to not get off the couch? Check.

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#3 - Magno Almeida (9-1)

Recent Bouts
09/17/2010: vs. Mike Campbell (9-4) - Win (4:03 R1, RNC)

News
There was a rumor that Magno may have signed with Strikeforce a couple of months ago, but those have proven to be false. No clear signs as to what is next for Almeida.

From some of the information I've gathered, Almeida has made the move out to California to train under Rafael Cordeiro at King's MMA. He's also been spotted at Brazilian Top Team in Orange County. I'm not sure if this is a permanent move or simply a training excursion, but it can only help him progress into the right direction.

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Get updates on our #4 through #10 lightweight fighters after the jump...

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#4 - Yui Chul Nam (10-3-1)

Recent Bouts
01/27/2011: vs. Adrian Pang (18-7-2) - Loss - Decision (Split)

News
There were rumors that Nam may be occupied by South Korea's mandatory military service. It's possible that it may be cutting into his training time, but he returned to the ring in January to battle nemesis Adrian Pang at Legend Fighting Championships IV in the main event of the evening. The two had previously met at the LFC's inaugural event back in January of last year, fighting to a draw.

Nam showed small improvements in his striking game, notably in his technical punching ability, but he has yet to master the art of defense. Wading deeper into Pang's wheelhouse, Nam went for broke repeatedly, leaving himself open to counters. Fortunately, he was able to get the better of Pang over the course of three rounds. Not surprisingly, the judges proved to be as incompetent in Hong Kong as they are in the North America, awarding Pang the victory. Interesting factoid: Nam got jobbed in both bouts against Pang. Go figure.

Nam is still training out of Team Posse in South Korea, while also working toward a graduate degree in physical education.

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#5 - Henrique Mello (12-2)

Recent Bouts
None

Upcoming Bouts
04/15/2011
: vs. Julio Cesar de Almeida at Sienna Fight

News
Mello hasn't fought in over a year. He'll return to the ring today as he battles Julio Cesar "Field" de Almeida at Sienna Fight in Rio de Janeiro. If he can string together some quality wins, it wouldn't surprise me to see his name on the UFC's radar very soon. 

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#6 - Reza Madadi (10-2)

Recent Bouts
10/29/2010: vs Carlo Prater - Win - Unanimous Decision

Upcoming Bouts
04/30/2011: vs. Rich Clementi at Superior Challenge 7

News
Madadi has been busy utilizing social media to call out exiting UFC fighters in order to prove he can hack it in the world's top promotion. Following Paul Kelly's loss to Donald Cerrone at UFC 126, Madadi made it known that he wanted to fight Kelly, asking for the fight to be made via his Facebook. While that bout never came to fruition, another UFC veteran did answer the call. Rich Clementi will make his way to Sweden to square off with Madadi at Superior Challenge 7 on April 30th.

Madadi's wrestling and relentless pace should prove to be a difficult task for Clementi to stop. I don't anticipate Clementi giving Madadi too many problems in the meeting, and it should solidify Madadi as one of the top lightweights outside of the UFC.

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#7 - Alexander Sarnavskiy (13-0)

Recent Bouts
12/10/2010 vs. Arsen Ubaidulaev - Win (0:43 R1, RNC)
03/25/2011 vs. Beau Baker - Win (2:32 R2, RNC)

Upcoming Bouts
05/07/2011
 vs. Joseph Ambrose at Mayor's Cup in Russia

News
Sarnaviskiy won in his debut on American soil in March as he fought late replacement Beau Baker on M-1's first televised event on Showtime. Baker possessed a credentialed wrestling background, an iron chin, and a physical toughness that was concerning to 
Sarnavskiy's efforts to maintain his unblemished record. Fortunately for Alexander, Baker wasn't able to deal with his striking prowess or impenetrable takedown defense. Over two rounds, Sarnavskiy battered the Virginia-native with brutal uppercuts, straight punches, and kicks. Baker's chin was the only thing allowing him to hang on, and that became moot in the second round as Sarnavskiy choked out Baker following a stunning flurry on the feet.

The victory was impressive, and it should produce a little interest in Sarnavskiy with American fans who haven't watched him fight. The logical next opponent under the M-1 banner is Jose Figueroa, who defeated Artiom Damkovsky at the same event to obtain the belt. Before that can happen, Sarnavskiy is set to fight AKA product Joseph Ambrose on May 7th in Russia.

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#8 - Ole Laursen (5-2)

Recent Bouts
None

News
Ole is currently injured. I asked James Goyder (@JamesGoyder), sports journalist in Thailand, about Ole's current status, and he believes that Ole won't be returning to MMA unless Martial Combat gets the ball rolling again in the region. There are some other shows making attempts to get a foothold in the region, but it's uncertain whether Ole will entertain offers at this point in his career. Ole will never be a UFC-caliber talent. He is, however, a damn exciting fighter who can headline a regional event if the opportunity presents itself.

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Recent Bouts
None

News
No word on DeLorenzi at this moment. I've reached out to a number of contacts hoping to find out a little more about what he's been doing lately. I believe I read at one point that he had been injured in the lead-up to a fight, and that may be why he's on the sidelines right now with no mention of any upcoming bouts. If anything comes my way, I'll be posting it here.

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#10 - Al Iaquinta (3-0-1)

Recent Bouts
None

News
No word on Iaquinta. It looks like he's actively training at Serra-Longo's camp, helping teammates prepare for fights, and improving his skills before he steps back into the cage. I believe he was injured when we published the report, so that may be hindering his ability to take fights at the moment. If any of our Serra-Longo readers have any information, please post in the comments.

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