Here are some of the better prospects in action this weekend. I'm not perfect, if I've missed a fight that you know of... or someone has pulled out of a fight let me know in the comments section.
EFC Africa - 12 Dec - Johannesburg, South Africa
Andrew van Zyl (8-1) vs. Ruan Potts (7-1)
Age: 30 Age: 33
Height: 6'3 Height: 6'2
This fight will complete a trilogy between these men. Potts won the first fight back in 2011 by submission, but then van Zyl avenged it with a unanimous decision victory earlier this year. Van Zyl's best trait that I see is that he is tough as nails, can take a shot, and then give it back to his opponent. Potts has a solid stand-up and ground game, but doesn't really wow in either area.
Golden Fighters - 12 Dec - Gramado, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Augusto Sakai (5-0) vs. Edison Lopes (2-0)
Sakai has stopped all five opponents to this point, including a win on the Bellator 94 prelims. He likes to grab the Thai clinch, and then use knees to the body, and eventually head. I suspect that if he tried Sakai could make LHW, as he carries extra weight into the cage with him.
Luis Rafael (24-0) vs. Adonilton Matos (5-2)
Rafael warmed up for this fight with a submission win last weekend. Matos will be just the 4th fighter with a winning record that Rafael has fought.
Cage WarriorsFC - 13 Dec - Amman, Jordan
Arnold Allen (5-0) vs. Doni Miller (3-1)
Allen is far from a finished product, but there is some very good potential for a very young fighter. Allen is very aggressive going for his submissions on the ground, sometimes to the point of being impatient. This could get him in trouble against better grapplers if he gives up a good position hunting for a sub that isn't there.
Sparta Combat League - 14 Dec - Denver, CO
Joshua Copeland (6-0) vs. Jesse Hernandez (6-0)
Age: 31 Age: 26
Height: 6'1 Height: 6'2
Copeland trains at Grudge training center in Colorado. He is another prospect who has some improving to do before he is ready for primetime, but the potential is there. The plus skill that Copeland has shown so far is power that can end a fight quickly. He needs to react better when guys start throwing at him, as he tends to go straight back, with just his hands up to block. Hernandez has stopped all of his opponents to this point, with a mix of TKOs and submissions. Even if the fighters are flawed, 7-0 Heavyweights are a rare commodity, and the winner of this fight will be in a good position to move up the promotional ladder.
BAMMA - 14 Dec - Birmingham, England
Scott Askham (11-0) vs. Ion Pascu (7-3)
Askham is looking to stand, but is not lost on the ground. He has smooth striking, and has a few takedowns. He does enough to keep top position while on the ground, but isn't looking very hard for any submissions, or forcing the action there.
Gladiator Arena - 14 Dec - Hala Osir, Pyrzyce, Poland
Lukasz Sajewski (11-0) vs. Kamil Gniadek (5-1)
After handing current Bellator fighter Marcin Held his first pro loss back in 2010, Sajewski only fought once in the next three years, which is likely the only thing keeping him out of one of the bigger shows right now. This will be his third fight since June, and a win here could be his ticket into the UFC.
Heat 29 - 15 Dec - Tokyo, Japan
Mikihito Yamagami (9-2) vs. Narongchai Dragontail (0-2)
Yamagami is ranked 22nd at FLW by the BE Metarankings. He has spent most of his career at 115lbs, but could be bumping up in an effort to catch UFC's eyes. This fight likely won't do that, as Dragontail is listed at 0-2 on both sites that I checked. Yamagami has competed as a kickboxer as well in addition to MMA over the years.
Review from last week:
Coliseu Extreme Fight - 5 Dec - Alagoas, Maceio, Brazil
Gilbert Burns (5-0) KO'd Paulo Bananada (19-9) in the first round. Link to video... not much happening in first round until last 10-15 seconds.
Leandro Higo (13-2) did not end up fighting after his first opponent pulled out late, and the replacement missed weight by a reported 18lbs.
CES MMA - 6 Dec - Lincoln, RI
Rob Font (8-1) picked up a decision over Matthew DiMarcantonio (4-4)
Fresquez Productions - 6 Dec - Albuquerque, NM
Holly Holm (6-0) picked up a decision over Angela Hayes (6-7). Holm is tentatively scheduled to fight again in March, but word is also out that she already turned down an initial offer from UFC.
Cody East (8-1) picked up his 5th straight win when he TKO'd Esteves Jones in the 1st round.
Legacy FC - 6 Dec - San Antonio, TX
Thomas de Almeida (15-0) may have punched his ticket to the UFC with a 1st round TKO of George Pacurariu (5-2). 22 year old Almeida has only been out of the 1st round once in his 15 fights.
OneFC - 6 Dec - Pasay City, Philippines
KSW 25 - 7 Dec - Wroclaw, Poland
Mamed Khalidov (28-4-2) picked up a 1st round submission victory over Ryuta Sakurai (24-18-6)
Fight Nights - 7 Dec - Moscow, Russia
Who is going to be the next Russian fighter added to the UFC roster? A good guess could be Marif Piraev (8-0) who scored a 1st round submission over Benjamin Brinsa (13-1). Considering that Brinsa signed with UFC earlier this year, but did not fight for them due to his out of the cage issues, this win has to have Piraev on the big show radars.
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship - 7 Dec - Newcastle, England
Chris Fishgold (10-0) picked up a UD Olivier Pastor (18-15). Fishgold used his grappling early, but had to survive late.
18 year old Polish BW Agnieszka Niedzwiedz (5-0) picked up a UD over Kerry Hughes (1-1).
Smash Fights - 7 Dec - Curitiba, Parana, Brazil
Luis Rafael (24-0) scored a 2nd round submission over Sidemar Carlos (1-3)