Lots of fighters on the regional scene had their moment in the spotlight in February. Among the dozens who won titles, main events and the hundreds that won fights, here are some that stuck out.
Titan FC Bantamweight Champion Danny Sabatello (10-1)
Titan FC Bantamweight Champion Danny Sabatello fought on the “Contender Series” last Summer, and although he had a dominant performance, he was denied a UFC contract.
Sabatello, with an impressive 10-1 record in MMA, made his bones in wrestling. He’s a three-time NCAA Championships qualifier and a two-time 141-pound Big Ten Championship winner.
He’s an insanely good wrestler with frantic forward pressure, and he has a high pace he put on until the finish or a decision. He was called one-dimensional by White, but why switch anything up when you are so good at a certain thing?
Since the appearance on the “Contender Series,” Sabatello defended his Titan FC title in February. In another familiar performance, Sabatello dominated the full course of his fight against Da’Mon Blackshear.
Sabatello is ready for a big promotion. If the UFC wanna make the mistake of passing Sabatello up, then Bellator would be wise to call them digits.
Thunder Fight Light Heavweight Champion Jailton Junior (13-2)
Jailton Junior is one of the top prospects out of Brazil currently. Fighting at 205 currently does nothing but help his chance of getting to a bigger show someday. Junior will also fight at heavyweight in the future.
Junior made a huge statement beating former UFC fighter Ildemar Alcântara last October. Junior was actually the first fighter to submit Alcantara, and he’s fought other really good jiu-jitsu specialists. Aide from that win, Junior is on an eight-fight win streak. He is also undefeated at light heavyweight.
Junior will maintain distance with front kicks and power kicks. It’s usually not long before he shoots in on the legs to ground the fight. Methodically, “Malhadinho” will transition to dominant positions. He’s really good at closing the show with a strong submission base and heavy ground and pound.
In February, Jailton Junior won the Thunder Fight 205-pound title. That should solidify his spot on a big promotion. Not every day you have a legit light-heavyweight prospect as a free agent.
FEN Lightweight Champion Mateusz Rębecki (13-1)
Mateusz Rebecki is a BJJ black belt and a two-time gold medalist in ADCC (Poland). He trains out of Berserker Team with fighters like Michal Materla, Tomasz Narkun, and many more established veterans.
Rebecki is the raining defending Fight Exclusive Night (FEN) Lightweight Champion, which is a solid promotion based out of Poland. In February, Rebecki marked his fifth FEN title defense.
Rebecki, who has been into jiu-jitsu for years. He is actually a two-time ADCC gold medalist. In other BJJ competitions, he’s taken home a slew of bronze medals as well. Outside of his gold medals, his biggest accomplishment in jiu-jitsu is his BJJ black belt.
He has beat Łukasz Kopera, Marian Ziółkowski, Magomed Magomedov, Daguir Imavov, and Kaik Brito, who is someone I’m also high on. Rebecki has virtually dominated all of those opponents proving he’s just levels above. There’s really no reason Rebecki should be fighting outside a big promotion.
Future MMA Featherweight Champion Elismar Lima (24-7)
Among this list, Lima may not the best-looking record and is 32-years-old. With that said, his resume speaks volumes. Lima has been in the sport for nine years and despite enduring a lot of setbacks, he’s had more success.
Lima has only lost to good fighters as of late, and on the other side has beat good fighters. Names like Viktor Kolesnik, Rafael Barbosa, Khasan Askhabov, Melquizael Costa are all solid names he has defeated.
Lima is a dangerous striker with a lot of pop in his hands. His forward movement, accuracy and bodywork are all stellar. His biggest issue is his takedown defense, but he does well off his back.
Lima has paid his dues on the regional scene and enough is enough and he deserves a big opportunity.
Russian Heavyweight Kirill Kornilov (8-0-1)
Kirill Kornilov is a former kickboxer who has competed for GLORY, but his primary focus has now shifted to MMA. With that experience in kickboxing, MMA seems to be the sport built for him, with his striking talents boosting him to an impressive 8-0-1 record.
In the span of 14-months, Kornilov has put in the work fighting seven times.
Kornilov’s punches are what have caused the end of lots of his fights. He has a really good jab and uses a lot of feints to produce openings for him to exploit.
He’s 29-years-old, which is young for the heavyweight division. It wouldn’t hurt to get some more time before jumping to a big promotion. He has still been able to impress and has the record to back him up.