Here are some of the better prospects in action this weekend.
I've also updated my top 10 HW prospects after three fighters from the list I put out in December have signed with either UFC or WSOF. You can find the updates here.
Tech-Krep FC - 21 Mar - Krasnodar, Russia
From a sheer physical talent standpoint, East is one of the best HW prospects in the world. He has a wrestling background, outstanding athletic ability and looked to be improving his standup game as he stayed busy back in 2012. What holds him back is a history of Cocaine use, Domestic Violence, and a recent year long stint in prison. Since getting out of prison his only fight ended in no contest, so I really have no clue what to expect out of him here. With all his issues East might not be welcome in any of the major US organizations until he can put up some wins and time in front of his issues. Kharitonov at 33 years old has won two in a row since losing to Josh Barnett in the Strikeforce HW Grand Prix, and could punch his own ticket back to the bigger shows with a win here.
Legacy FC - 21 Mar - Tulsa, OK
Gilbert Burns (6-0) vs. Mike Budnik (13-4)
Burns is a 2011 BJJ World Champion, and brings some of the best pure BJJ credentials to MMA. He is a very powerful fighter, who is training with the Blackzillians to round out his MMA game.
KSW - 22 Mar - Warsaw, Poland
HW Age: 30 Height: 6'2 Bedorf is a very accomplished grappler with a 2003 Polish Freestyle wrestling championship to go with several trips to the ADCC world championships. He is currently riding a four fight winning streak, and could be on the UFC's radar as they expand into Poland later this year.
Both Bedorf and Sylvia suffered back injuries leading up to this fight.
Iryna Shaparenko (5-0) vs. Kamila Porczyk (1-0)
Shaparenko has submitted four of her first five opponents.
Cage Warriors - 22 Mar - Copenhagen, Denmark
Nicolas Dalby (11-0) vs. Sergei Churilov (15-1)
Age: 29 Age: 28
Height: 5'11 Height: 6'0
Dalby has great striking, pressuring his opponents from the opening bell. His weakness is against stronger wrestlers who can put him on his back and control him on the ground. Churilov could be able to take advantage of Dalby's weakness as he has seven wins by submission, including his last four fights. An Unknown factor in this fight is what impact the events in Churilov's native Ukraine will play in terms of being a potential distraction.
Europa MMA - 22 Mar - Essex, England
Niklas Backstrom (6-0) vs. Max Coga (9-1)
Backstrom was on Patrick Wyman's top 25 prospects list. He uses a dominating top game to control his opponents, and this fight could be his last step in heading towards the big leagues.
Review from last week:
King of the Cage - 6 Mar - Highland, CA
Henry Corrales (9-0) stopped Seth Dikun (10-7) in the 3rd round.
RFA - 7 Mar - Lincoln, Nebraska
Andrew Sanchez (5-1) stopped Miles Marshall in the 2nd round, and earned a future shot at the RFA MW title.
Chidi Njokuani (10-4) and Chris Heatherly (7-1) ended in a no contest after an illegal elbow to Heatherly's spine. Up until the fight ended, Njokuani struggled with Heatherly's wrestling as has been his weakness throughout his career.
Fight Exclusive Night - 8 Mar - Warsaw, Poland
Tymoteusz Swiatek (13-1) submitted Gerard Linder (4-1) in the 1st round. The 20 year old Polish fighter is likely on the radar of UFC and Bellator at this point.
At a CES event in Rhode Island, Charles Rosa (8-0) submitted Brylan Van Artsdalen in the 1st round.
In a battle of two of my top 10 LHW prospects Stephan Puetz (10-1) pulled the upset over Viktor Nemkov, winning a split decision. That was a big statement win for Puetz as it came on the heels of UFC announcing they are holding a show in his native Germany later this year.
I'm not perfect, if I've missed a prospect let me know in the comments section.