Scouting the best prospects with five fights or fewer: Part 1

From left to right: Bellator welterweight Aviv Gozali, iKON flyweight Bella Mir, Bellator light heavyweight Christian Edwards, LFA flyweight Clayton Carpenter, DWCS veteran Chelsea Hackett.

Here at MMA-Prospects, we aim to introduce you to the sport’s top up-and-coming fighters, future champions, and stars of tomorrow.

In this three-part series, MMA-Prospects will look at the world’s best prospects with five fights or fewer.

I took not only to the U.S. regional scene, but to the world, including Brazil, Australia, Peru, Poland, China, the U.K., France, and many more countries to find the best rising pros. After weeks of scouting, I’ve come up with 100+ fighters. I believe that all these fighters are top-notch prospects, and if not, at least worth watching.

From this series, I guarantee future UFC fighters, top fifteen contenders, and potential champions. Some may be Bellator championships in the future, or maybe PFL one-million-dollar winners or ONE Championship titleholders.

Aviv Gozali
Division: Welterweight
Record: 5-0
Finishes: 5 SUBs
Age: 20
From: Bat Yam, Israel, but living in New York, U.S.
Gym: LAW MMA, Renzo Gracie Academy
Athletic Inspirations: Jon Jones and Conor McGregor
Style: Submission Specialist

Aydemir Kazbekov
Division: Bantamweight
Record: 5-0
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO, 1 SUB
Age: 23
From: Kaliningrad, Russia
Gym: AKA Thailand
Athletic Inspirations: “I practice every day to be the best. I take example from UFC champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov,” Kazbekov told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Wrestler

Austin Bashi
Division: Bantamweight
Record: 1-0
Finishes: 0
Age: 19
From: West Bloomfield, Michigan, US
Gym: Warrior Way
Athletic Inspirations: “My two favorite fighters are Demetrious Johnson and Frankie Edgar. I love their styles and their heart by always pushing the pace,” Bashi told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Wrestler

Alex Pereira
Division: Middleweight
Record: 3-1
Finishes: 3 KO/TKO
Age: 33
From: São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, Brazil but living in Bethel, Connecticut, US
Gym: Teixeira MMA & Fitness
Style: Kickboxer

Axel Osuna
Division: Flyweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 3 SUB
Age: 23
From: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico but now living in Zapopan
Gym: Samurai FC
Athletic Inspirations: “I am very inspired by my team and my brother but if I talked about an athlete it would be  Ricardo Lopez, Muhammad Ali, George St Pierre, and Khabib Nurmagomedov,” Osuna told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Submission grappler

Armen Petrosyan
Division: Light-heavyweight
Record: 4-0
Finishes: 4 KO/TKO
Age: 30
From: Krasnoyarsk, Russia but living in Yerevan, Armenia
Gym: Fireball Fight Club
Style: Muay Thai

Alexandros Moumtzis
Division: Featherweight
Record: 4-0
Finishes: 0
Age: 20
From: Lamia, Greece
Gym: Black Belt Academy
Athletic Inspirations: Nick and Nate Diaz
Style: Grinder

Adriana Vukovic
Division: Flyweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO, 2 SUB
Age: 22
From: Zagreb, Croatia
Gym: American Top Team Zagreb
Style: Well-rounded

Anastasia Nikolakakos
Division: Atomweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO
Age: 31
From: Toronto, Ontario
Gym: Grants MMA
Style: Wrestler

Abel Sosa Diaz
Division: Featherweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 2 SUB, 1 KO/TKO
Age: 25
From: Sparta, Greece but living in San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina
Gym: Rogo Team
Athletic Inspirations: “Honestly, I’m not a fan or follower of any particular fighter, but I do look closely at most of them and try to take the best of today’s elite fighters, their transitions, and what makes them different from the rest. My motivation is to be a complete and dominant athlete, like Khabib Nurmagomedov and Jon Jones, for example,” Diaz told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Submission Specialist

Andrew Richardson
Division: Flyweight
Record: 4-0
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO, 1 SUB
Age: 24
From: Sacramento, California, US
Gym: Team Alpha Male
Athletic Inspirations: “Joe Benavidez is the guy for me, I actually got my job writing at MMAmania after doing a breakdown of his skills before the first ‘Mighty Mouse’ fight. Fast-forward some years and I’m lucky to call him a good friend,” Richardson told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Wrestler/Grappler

Allan Begosso
Division: Bantamweight
Record: 4-0-1
Finishes: 2 SUB, 1 KO/TKO
Age: 25
From: Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil but living in Sacramento, California, US
Gym: Team Alpha Male
Athletic Inspirations: Vasyl Lomachenko and Jose Aldo
Style: Striker

Abubakar Sabirov
Division: Lightweight
Record: 4-0
Finishes: 4 KO/TKO
Age: 25
From: Dresden, Germany
Gym: Gladiator Dresden
Athletic Inspirations: Dustin Poirier
Style: Brawler

Bryan Battle 
Division: Middleweight
Record: 4-1
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO, 2 SUB
Age: 26
From: Baltimore, Maryland, US but living in Weddington, North Carolina
Gym: Hayastan MMA Charlotte
Athletic Inspirations: “I have several, to be honest. I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from the obsession that Michael Jordan displayed, or the creativity that Anderson Silva had, the technical prowess of GSP was amazing. And the savagery and mental fortitude of a Marvin Hagler. Just to name a few,” Battle told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Submission Grappler

Ben Ellis
Division: Featherweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO
Age: 28
From: Wales
Gym: The Mat Academy
Athletic Inspirations: “A lot of my family have done pro sport so I’d say them especially my grandfather who boxed. I like DC as well,” Ellis told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Wrestling/Grappling

Bartosz Skrok
Division: Lightweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO, 2 SUB
Age: 28
From: England
Gym: Team Highlight Reel
Athletic Inspirations: ” I love Shinya Aoki, and I am a huge Nick Diaz fan, but I can’t say I fight anything like them,” Skrok told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Grappler

Bella Mir
Division: Bantamweight
Record: 2-0
Finishes: 1 SUB
Age: 17
From: Las Vegas, Nevada, US
Gym: Zenith MMA/Syndicate MMA
Style: Jiu-Jitsu

Benjamin Šehić
Division: Heavyweight
Record: 2-0
Finishes: 2 SUB
Age: Unknown
From: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Gym: Knights Training Center
Style: BJJ

Blake Bilder
Division: Featherweight
Record: 3-0-1
Finishes: 1 SUB
Age: 30
From: Cottage Grove, Minnesota, US but living in Costa Mesa, California
Gym: Raw Talent Boxing
Athletic Inspirations: “Yeah, actually my first favorite fighter was my boy Manuel Contreras Jr. He was the top-ranked fighter in the country for boxing and really changed my life by the information he gave me when I started boxing with him. He would have been one of the best ever but he fell off course and the streets got the best of him,” Bilder told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Boxing

Bernise Alldis
Division: Flyweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 3 KO/TKO
Age: 32
From: Orpington, Bromley, UK but living in Orpington, England
Gym: Keddles Gym
Athletic Inspirations: “My inspirations growing up was [boxer and kickboxer] Lucia Ryker and Germaine de Randamie,” Alldis told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Kickboxing

Clayton Carpenter
Division: Flyweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO, 1 SUB
Age: 24
From: Pheonix, Arizona, US
Gym: The MMA Lab
Style: Well-rounded

For more on Clayton Carpenter, read this author’s entry in October’s “The Future” article, here.

Criszaida Adames
Division: Strawweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO, 1 SUB
Age: 27
From: Puerto Rico/Dominican Republic but living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Gym: Martinez BJJ
Athletic Inspirations: “Will Martinez, Kyle and Chris Daukaus, Matt Turnball, Kayla Harrison, and Valentina Shevchenko,” Adames told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Well-rounded

Caolan Loughran
Division: Featherweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO, 1 SUB
Age: 24
From: Tyrone, Ireland but living in Liverpool, England
Gym: Team Kaobon Liverpool
Athletic Inspirations: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Style: Well-rounded

For more on Caolan Loughran, read this author’s interview with the Irishman, here.

Christian Natividad
Division: Bantamweight
Record: 2-0
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO
Age: 24
From: Ewa Beach, Hawaii, US but living in Tempe, Arizona
Gym: Arizona Combat Sports
Athletic Inspirations: Kevin Natividad (Brother)
Style: Striker

Cody Law 
Division: Featherweight
Record: 2-0
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO, 1 SUB
Age: 25
From: Windber, Pennsylvania, US but living in Coconut Creek, Florida
Gym: American Top Team
Style: Well-rounded

Carlos Mota
Division: Flyweight
Record: 5-0
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO
Age: 25
From: Para, Brazil but living in Rio de Janeiro
Gym: Pr1mera Gym
Athletic Inspirations: “For me, it’s coach Francisco Bueno. He fought in PRIDE. I also like Jon Jones and Conor [McGregor], too,” Mota told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Striker

Cody Haddon
Division: Bantamweight
Record: 1-0
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO
Age: 22
From: Perth, Western Australia
Gym: Coringa Jiu-Jitsu
Style: Grappler

Corbin Howard
Division: Bantamweight
Record: 2-0
Finishes: 1 SUB
Age: 23
From: From Jefferson City, Missouri, US but living in O’Fallon
Gym: ATA
Style: Well-rounded

Chelsea Hackett
Division: Flyweight
Record: 3-1-1
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO
Age: 21
From: Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Gym: Potential Unlimited Mixed Martial Arts
Athletic Inspirations: Israel Adesanya and Valentina Shevchenko
Style: Muay Thai

Ciaran Clarks
Division: Featherweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 1 SUB
Age: 25
From: Drogheda, Ireland
Gym: Straight Blast Gym Ireland
Athletic Inspirations: “I love all the underdogs those who came back after every set back one that comes to mind straight away is Michael Bisping,” Clarks told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Grinder/Positional grappler

Chelsea Chandler
Division: Featherweight
Record: 3-1
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO, 1 SUB
Age: 29
From: Stockton, California, US
Gym: Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
Athletic Inspirations: “I started MMA at the Diaz brothers gym. I’ve always had inspiration from Nick Diaz. My main coach Victor Gladon trained with him for over 20 years, so a lot of my style is from them,” Chandler told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Brawler

Christian Edwards
Division: Light-heavyweight
Record: 4-0
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO, 1 SUB
Age: 22
From: Muskogee, Oklahoma, US but living in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Gym: JacksonWink MMA
Athletic Inspirations: “Well, growing up, I was actually a huge fan of Anderson Silva but honestly, I was always inspired by GSP and Jon Jones because I could tell just by looking at the way that they carried themselves inside the Octagon and in interviews, they know what it takes to be the best. And that’s why I fight: to be the best ever,” Edwards told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Well-rounded

Read more about Christian Edwards in MMA-Prospects’ Joe McDonagh’s entry for October’s “The Future” article, here.

Cameron Church
Division: Lightweight
Record: 4-1
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO, 1 SUB
Age: 30
From: Tracy, California, US but living in South Lake Tahoe
Gym: Escobar Training Grounds
Style: Striker

Đani Barbir
Division: Middleweight
Record: 4-0
Finishes: 3 KO/TKO, 1 SUB
Age: Unknown
From: Makarska, Croatia but living in Zagreb
Gym: American Top Team Zagreb
Athletic Inspirations: “I draw inspiration from athletes like Michael Jordan, Michael Phelps, Muhamad Ali, Drazen Petrovic, etc… From people who do extraordinary things. As for the skill in MMA, they are all my inspiration, I take something from everyone. I love the philosophy of Bruce Lee, everything works in the fight,” Barbir told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Striker

David Martinez
Division: Bantamweight
Record: 4-0
Finishes: 4 KO/TKO
Age: 22
From: Ecatepec de Morelos, Mexico
Gym: Bonebreakers MMA
Athletic Inspirations: Melissa Martinez (Sister) and Anderson Silva
Style: Kickboxer/Striker

Devin Goodale
Division: Bantamweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 1 SUB
Age: 27
From: Corona, California, US but living in Nashville, Tennesse
Gym: Alliance MMA
Athletic Inspirations: “Definitely Dominick Cruz. Watching his work ethic stay so strong and consistent after all these years and injuries has been really inspiring. When I first got to Alliance, I’d see him come in the gym at night and be practicing footwork. I’d do a whole hour-long training session and look over and he’d still be doing footwork drills. It shows in his fights; his footwork is second to none in MMA. He’s on some ‘mamba mentality’ type shit. But he’s also a really humble, cool dude for how much success he’s had. So, yeah, definitely Dom,” Goodale told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Kickboxer

Daniel James Allen
Division: Middleweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO
Age: 28
From: San Jose, California, US
Gym: American Kickboxing Academy
Style: Wrestler

Dalton Rosta
Division: Middleweight
Record: 4-0
Finishes: 3 KO/TKO
Age: 25
From: New Castle, Pennsylvania, US
Gym: Mat Factory Wrestling Club
Athletic Inspirations: Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson
Style: Wrestler

For more on Dalton Rosta, read MMA-Prospects’ Joe McDonagh’s entry from November’s “The Future” article, here.

Daniel Ladero
Division: Light-heavyweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 3 SUB
Age: Unknown
From: Málaga, Spain, but living in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Gym: Taz Jinamar
Style: Submission Grappler

Denzel Freeman
Division: Light Heavyweight
Record: 2-0
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO
Age: 29
From: Atlanta, Georgia, US but living in  Boca Raton, Florida
Gym: Blackzillians
Style: Well-rounded

Dario Drotar
Division: Featherweight
Record: 4-0
Finishes: 4 KO/TKO
Age: 23
From: Gherla, Romania but living in Helsingborg, Sweeden
Gym: Spartan MMA
Style: Brawler

Davion Franklin
Division: Heavyweight
Record: 2-0
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO
Age: 26
From: Atlanta, Georgia, US but living in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Gym: Jackson Wink MMA
Athletic inspirations: Jon Jones, Israel Adesanya, Mike Tyson, and Kobe Bryant
Style: Wrestler

Daniel Argueta
Division: Featherweight
Record: 5-0
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO, 3 SUB
Age: 27
From: Orland Park, Illinois, US but living in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Gym: Jackson Wink MMA/Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu
Athletic Inspirations: Cub Swanson and Robert Alencar
Style: Jiu-Jitsu

Emilio Trevino
Division: Light-heavyweight
Record: 5-0
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO, 1 SUB
Age: 25
From: Boise, Idaho, US
Gym: Jet House Martial Arts
Athletic inspirations: “I get my inspiration from my son I do admire guys like Mike Tyson, Roy Jones, Canelo, Mayweather, Loma, Raymond Daniels… like I could go on forever. I love really skilled defensive fighters,” Trevino told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Jiu-Jitsu

Elmar Umarov
Division: Lightweight
Record: 2-0
Finishes: 2 SUB
Age: 25
From: Krasnodar, Russia but living in St. Louis, Missouri, US
Gym: St Charles MMA
Athletic inspirations: “Definitely my countryman Khabib, he is not only a great fighter but a good role model for younger fighters,” Umarov told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Well-rounded

Earl Small
Division: Welterweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 3 SUB
Age: 26
From: Pennsville, New Jersey
Gym: 302 BJJ
Style: Submission Specialist

Ergys Sigeta
Division: Welterweight
Record: 4-0
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO
Age: 23
From: Albania but lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Age: Grant’s MMA
Style: Wrestler

Elvin Espinoza
Division: Lightweight
Record: 4-0
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO, 2 SUB
Age: 27
From: Miami, Florida, US
Gym: Round 5 MMA/Bushido Muay Thai
Athletic Inspirations: “Michael Jordan. So many ups and downs he encountered in his career and still never gave up,” Espinoza told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Wrestler

Edwin Cooper Jr.
Division: Featherweight
Record: 3-1
Finishes: 2 KO/TKO
Age: 27
From: Joliet, Illinois, US but living in Albuquerque, New Mexico
Gym: Jackson Wink MMA
Athletic Inspirations: “Team JacksonWink has kings, so all in,” Cooper Jr. told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Wrestling

Felix Klinkhammer
Division: Welterweight
Record: 5-0
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO, 4 SUB
Age: 27
From: London, England
Gym: London Shootfighters
Athletic Inspirations: “I can’t narrow it down as there are so many. I draw inspiration from people in my gym so anyone in their respective field where I feel I could learn from them,” Klinkhammer told MMA-Prospects.
Style: Karate/Jiu-Jitsu

Ferdun Osmanov
Division: Lightweight
Record: 3-0
Finishes: 1 KO/TKO, 2 SUB
Age: 24
From: Devnya, Bulgaria but living in Varna
Gym: Desant MMA Team
Athletic Inspirations: Khabib Nurmagomedov
Style: Grappling

Federico Pasquali
Division: Featherweight
Record: 5-0
Finishes: 3 KO/TKO, 1 SUB
Age: 26
From: Sarzana, Province of La Spezia Italy, Italy
Gym: MatSide Jiu Jitsu
Style: Striker

Freddy Emiliano Linares
Division: Bantamweight
Record: 4-0
Finishes: 3 KO/TKO, 1 SUB
Age: 23
From: Guayaquil, Ecuador
Gym: Predator MMA
Style: Jiu-jitsu