Here are some of the better MMA prospects in action this weekend.
Gladius Fights 6 - 29 Jun - Berlin, NH
Lewis Corapi (5-0) vs. Marc Stevens
Corapi is a 25 year old who trains out of the Sityodtong Academy in Mass, and could have a bright future moving forward at LW. He returned from nearly 2 years off from the sport earlier this year to pick up a couple of stoppage wins. One of the stoppages came from a leg kick TKO, where the ref was forced to step in, and that isn't surprising considering that he trains with team Sityodtong, but he has also shown solid top control, and a well rounded game in other fights I've seen. He will be facing a UFC, Strikeforce, and Bellator veteran in Stevens that would be a good name to have on a resume moving forward if he can pick up the win.
Substance Combat - 29 Jun - Toronto, Canada
Todd Stoute (4-0) vs. Pat Walsh (3-1)
Walsh recently dropped to LHW, and then lost his first fight at the weight class but I'm still pretty high on his long term prospects. He brings a college wrestling pedigree and good transitions from striking to grappling into the cage, but will need to rebound against the undefeated Stoute to remain a prospect to watch. Stoute will be fighting for the first time since Dec 2011, but has the quickness and movement to give Walsh problems on the feet. Stoute appears to have a bit of a criminal history relating to rape back in 2004, not relevant to the fight, but something that will come up if he ever ends up in a UFC or Bellator fight.
Neelan Hordat-Reece (3-0) vs. Kyle Nelson (3-0)
A couple of un-defeated young Canadian prospects meet in this one. Hordat-Reece started his MMA career in 2010 while living in Singapore, and training with Evolve MMA, but appears to be back living and training in the Toronto Canada area. He had UFC fighter Sean Pierson in his corner last time out in May. Nelson is a striker first with good power, but appears a little stiff at times in his fights.
PinnacleFC - 29 Jun - Canonsburg, PA
Mark Cherico (4-0) vs. Donny Walker
Cherico is a 27 year old prospect who was 9-0 as an Amateur before turning pro, and racking up 4 straight 1st round submissions. In his last fight he arm barred fading Strikeforce vet, Billy Vaughn, and now faces UFC vet who has seen better days in Donny Walker. The best skill I've seen from Cherico is his ability to transition from strikes to takedowns before his opponent reacts. When he gets top position, he is very active at working for the submission, and transitioning from one attempt to the next until he gets what he is looking for.
Inka FC 22 - 29 Jun - Lima, Peru
Ben Reiter (10-0) vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima (11-2)
Reiter has built a nice record fighting 9 of his 10 fights in the Inka Fighting Championships in Peru. This time out he will be facing a Strikeforce veteran who should be the toughest challenge of his career.
Jungle Fight 54 - 29 Jun - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Bethe Correia (5-0) vs. Erica Paes (2-1)
I was going to pass on this fight, as Correia is listed as a FLW... but her opponent Paes is the only women who owns a win over Cyborg, albeit back in 2005. Paes lost her next fight after the Cyborg fight, and then did not fight again until this April where she won by submission. A win by either women would have to put them on the radar for at least Invicta, if not UFC.
Review from Last Week
Lance Palmer remained undefeated in a very close fight, that many people watching believed was a draw, when Palmer lost a point late in the 5th round for a low blow. It also appeared during the fight that Palmer has been working so much on his striking, that his elite level wrestling has suffered, as he was taken down several times, and struggled to get his own takedowns. It was a good fight, that will give Palmer and his coaches a lot to work with when he gets back in the gym. Sergio Pettis looked great as he scored a 1st round KO, and moved one step closer to UFC. Pedro Munhoz also looked very good with a 1st round submission, where he looked like he was just on a different level than his opponent.
Chris Birchler (5-0) won the CFFC HW title with a split decision win over Joe Stripling. I haven't seen the fight, but I found some varying accounts of how close the fight actually was. A few people made it sound like Birchler won easy, while a few others thought Stripling won the fight.
Cody East (7-1) won an unanimous decision victory over veteran fighter Nick Rossborough. This is East's fourth straight win, and second straight over a Strikeforce veteran, that can only help to get him on the radar of UFC, and Bellator.
Vale Tudo Japan
Shooto Brazil - Manaus
In a battle of two FLWs that should be on the UFC's radar, Adriano Moraes improved to 9-0 with a 3rd round TKO over fellow top prospect Dileno Lopes (12-1). Don't be surprised if both of these guys end up in UFC at some point.
If I've missed any fights, or prospects that you know of, let me know in the comments section.