Here are some of the better prospects in action this weekend.
EFC Africa - 27 Mar - Johannesburg, South Africa
Garreth McLellan (10-2) vs. JP Kruger (5-1)
McLellan avenged his most recent loss last time out when he submitted Jeremy Smith to win the EFC-Africa MW title. This will be a rematch of a 2009 fight that was the pro debut for both men, and ended with McLellan winning by submission.
Fight Nights - 28 Mar - Moscow, Russia
Konstantin Erokhin (5-1) vs. Brett Rogers (14-6)
Erokhin is a Russian Master of Sport in Sambo, who finished 2nd in the HW Russian Sambo championships. Since dropping his MMA debut he has five straight 1st round KO's, including his last fight over UFC veteran Sokoudjou. Now he gets another fight against a well known fighter, and could get a lot of attention with big win. Erokhin looks like he could cut to LHW without much trouble but is doing just fine as a smaller HW.
Mikhail Mokhnatkin (4-1) vs. Kilichbek Sarkarboev (3-1)
Mokhnatkin has won bronze medals at the European and World Sambo championships. He is coming off a 1st round TKO of Valentijn Overeem.
Cage Warriors FC - 28 Mar - Amman, Jordan
Abu Azaitar (8-2) vs. Jack Marshman (14-4)
I almost passed on Azaitar, but then I realized he is German at a time that UFC is expanding back into Germany later this year. Another win or two, and he will be a very real candidate for UFC.
Marcin Lasota (7-0) vs. Paul Marin (7-3)
Lasota is my #9 FLW prospect, and could have a UFC slot on the line in this one. He brings an outstanding grappling game and evolving striking game that helps him set up his takedowns.
Unified MMA - 28 Mar - Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Tanner Boser (4-0) vs. Nick Campbell (5-4)
Boser is a Karate Black Belt, because it was the only martial art offered in his hometown. He has been dabbling in MMA since age 19, only getting to a serious camp last year.
Jungle Fight - 29 Mar - Foz do Igacu, Parana, Brazil
Mario Israel (9-0) vs. Jonas Bilharinho (4-0-1)
Age: 30 Age: 23
Height: 5'6 Height: 5'11
This one could be a great striking battle, and most likely will end with someone getting KO'd. Israel, the JF BW champion packs great power that has helped score KO/TKO's in six of his nine fights. Bilharinho has KO/TKO'd his last three opponents, and uses his height well to score with ease against his fellow BWs.
MMA Super Heroes - 30 Mar - Sao Paulo, Brazil
Thomas de Almeida (15-0) vs. Vinicius Zani (7-3)
15 fights, 15 stoppages, 14 in the 1st round... Almeida is one of the best prospects in the sport, and could be arriving in the UFC any day now. Patrick Wyman had him 4th on his searching for Future Champions series.
Kalindra Faria (13-3) vs. Laura Balin (4-1)
Faria brings a nine fight winning streak into this one. She has well rounded game and very capable either on her feet or the ground.
Faria vs. Damm - A bit of a Palhares moment at the end
Not going to profile any prospects but Super Fight League is going down from Mumbai, India on March 30th. I just find it intriguing to see the growth of a professional MMA culture in a new country, even if they are still at least a few years from producing UFC level fighters.
Review from last week:
Tech-Krep FC - 21 Mar - Krasnodar, Russia
Tyler East (11-4) was TKO'd in the 2nd round by Sergei Kharitonov (21-5). I know Kharitonov is doing some work with Glory, but I wouldn't be surprised to see UFC, Bellator and WSOF make a run at getting him in their organization.
Legacy FC - 21 Mar - Tulsa, OK
Gilbert Burns (6-0) vs. Mike Budnik (13-4) was cancelled.
Kamila Porczyk (2-0) won a UD over Iryna Shaparenko (5-1)
Cage Warriors - 22 Mar - Copenhagen, Denmark
Nicolas Dalby (12-0) scored a big head kick KO over Sergei Churilov (15-2)
With multiple European shows on the schedule in coming months, do not be surprised to see England based FLW Pietro Menga (11-0) get picked up by the UFC. He picked up a UD over Sotir Kichukov (12-2) last weekend at an FCC event.
Niklas Backstrom (7-0) remained unbeaten with a 1st round TKO of Max Coga (9-2). Backstrom is another fighter that UFC is likely taking a close look at to be part of their expanded European schedule.
I'm not perfect, if I've missed a prospect let me know in the comments section.