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The New Bloody Elbow Scouting Report: Methodology and Criteria

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T.P. Grant and Zane Simon are taking over the Bloody Elbow Scouting Report in a tireless effort to scout the next generation of MMA fighters and find the diamonds in the rough.

Anton Tabuena

Bloody Elbow has long been the home of outstanding prospect scouting. The initial World Scouting Report started by Leland Rolling and Rory MacLeod (smoogy) in 2011 highlighted many standouts including UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman and former Bellator Bantamweight Champion Eduardo Dantas, in addition to a huge number of Top 10 fighters and contenders. Patrick Wyman took over scouting duties with his outstanding Search for Future Champions series in 2013, which saw the arrival of Mirsad Bektic, Aljamain Sterling and several more in the UFC ranks.

With Wyman's departure from Bloody Elbow, I have taken up the torch of prospect scouting, joined by noted tape junkie Zane Simon. Together we seek to continue this fine tradition of prognostication here at BE and are happy to announce the re-launch of the Bloody Elbow Scouting Report.

These reports will consist of the Top 10 prospects in a given weight class, with the 10-6 prospects covered in a single article and the Top 5 getting an article of their own. Some weight classes might warrant special EXTRA! editions where we feel there is notable talent outside of the Top 10. This look at a division isn't as deep as previous Scouting Reports, but this is a different era of MMA, one in which prospects are gobbled up at a shocking rate, so these scouting reports need to be nimble enough to stay ahead of the curve.

This article seeks to quickly lay out the process that Zane and I use to find and sort these prospects to produce these reports.

What qualifies as fighter as a "prospect"?

Defining what a prospect in MMA is a vital step to narrow down the pool of fighters to consider. For this process, we used Patrick Wyman's analysis of MMA prospects from late 2013 as a foundation to build off.

The first indicator to look at the age of the fighter. For this list fighters needed to be under the age of thirty at the time of consideration to qualify for the prospect list. While there are certainly MMA fighters who will make their UFC and Bellator debuts after the age of thirty, their chances of continuing to have large strides of development are quite a bit lower.

Additionally, a fighter must be in his first 6 years of professional fighting. Wyman clearly demonstrated that most fighters who make the UFC do so in their first 5 years of fighting professionally and that after that point the chances of a fighter becoming a top level talent decrease. Fighters with extreme outliers may get a fight or two forgiven on this rule depending on situation, such as the case with Ryan Hall who took a single MMA fight in 2006, returned to focus on his grappling career, and then returned to MMA as a full time commitment in 2012.

Finally, fighters must have no fights in the UFC at any level, no fights in Bellator, and no fights on the main card of a World Series of Fighting card.

How do you rank one prospect over another?

Zane and I take several factors into account. We score a fighter in several physical skill categories against an average UFC fighter in that skill set: striking, clinch, takedowns, and ground fighting. In each we consider the fighter's offensive and defensive abilities.We also take into account the age of the fighter, the age they started their career in, the camp they train at, their base skill-set, their athletic ability in reference to other fighters, and if they have shown improvement across their career.

We grade the fighters separately and then come together to compare notes and come up with an agree upon ground of 10 fighters worthy of your attentions. We determined fighters that are worthy of attention are not necessarily the most "UFC or Bellator ready", but instead fighters who have the best chance of becoming Top 10 Fighters in their divisions at some point in their careers.

When does it start?

Very soon, Zane and I have already distilled down about 70 welterweights to a Top 10 plus a few extras to be highlighted that should be getting posted up in the next few weeks. One trend that has already emerged is that American prospects have been getting snatch up so quickly that the list has taken a very international flair as overseas and particularly European prospects have dominated our early searches.

So keep your eyes peeled and enjoy as Zane and I risk our eyesight and marriages watching far too much regional MMA to unearth the next generation of MMA champions.

For some additional insight, check out the recent Tete-a-Tete with Zane Simon and Patrick Wyman, looking at the development of prospects in MMA:

2015 Bloody Elbow Scouting Report

Flyweight Bantamweight Featherweight Lightweight Welterweight
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EXTRA!
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EXTRA!
#1. Duquesnoy
#2. MagomedovTemirov
#3. Froes
#4. Jordan
#5. Motta
#6. Vitruk
#7. Askhabov
#8. Grundy
#9. Matmuratov
#10. Azhiev
EXTRA! #1 EXTRA! #2
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#1. Usman
#2. Mustafaev
#3. Nurmagomedov
#4. Khaliev
#5. Scope
#6. Vartanyan
#7. Kadestam
#8. Piraev
#9. Amosov
#10. Tokov
EXTRA!
Middleweight L. Heayvweight Heavyweight W.Strawweight W. Bantamweight
#1. Hawes
#2. Dzhanaev
#3. Rountree
#4. Jurisic
#5. Piechota
#6. Svirid
#7. Antigulov
#8. Todhunter
#9. Gavrilovic
#10. Nunes
EXTRA!
#1. Mokhnatkin
#2. Martell
#3. Kurbanismailov
#4. Astakhov
#5. Ankalaev
#6. Edilov
#7. Prochazka
#8. Albrektsson
#9. Moore
#10. Gamzatov
EXTRA!
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EXTRA!