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MMA Latest News’ Monthly Top 50 Prospects Outside the UFC: July ’15

Iain MacMillan



To many people who aren’t fanatics of the fight game, the terms “UFC” and “MMA” are synonymous. There are even people who think the sport itself is called “UFC”. It is pretty clear, and for good reason, that the Ultimate Fighting Championship is the largest and most recognizable fight promotion on the planet. When fans discuss who is the best of the best at any given time, they usually point towards the belt holders in the Zuffa owned UFC promotion as the fighters or are on the top of the food chain.
What many people don’t know is that there are copious amounts of athletes who are signed to other promotions who are easily skilled enough to be in the prestigious ranks of the UFC, and some who may even be good enough to fight for a UFC Title. A sport that has quickly become international in nature has talent hiding in every corner of the globe. To give these men and women some recognition for their accomplishments and skills, I have compiled my list of top 50 fighters not in the UFC.

These rankings get updated on a monthly basis. Movement in the rankings is based on results of the previous months fights, as well as signings by the UFC.

The only two criteria I use to make these rankings are;
1) The fighter has not previously fought professionally under the UFC, and
2) The fighter has competed at least 4 times as a professional.

Fighters formally on the list who are now signed by the UFC:
Fighter                                   Last Month on List (Rank #)            Date Signed by UFC
Tom Breese                            March ’15 (#19)                                   March 24th, 2015
Nicolas Dalby                         March ’15 (#17)                                   March 24th, 2015
Christiane Justino                  March ’15 (#2)                                     March, 2015
Jessica Aguilar                       May ’15 (#20)                                     June, 11th, 2015

NR = Not Ranked Last Month
– = No Movement in Rankings since Last Month
+X = Moved up in Rankings since Last Month
-X = Moved down in Rankings since Month

Number of Fighters in each promotion in Top 50:
Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 1.23.48 PM

50) Darrell Horcher 11-1 (-)
Previous Fight: Win vs. Jordan Stiner at CFFC 45, February 7th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

49) Alex Enlund 11-2 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Nad Narimani at Cage Warriors 73, November 1st 2014
Next Fight: Not Announced

48) Jeremy Kennedy, 7-0 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Mario Pereira at Battlefield Fight League 34
Next Fight: Not Announced

47) Josh Hill, 11-1 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (SUB) vs. Josh Rettinghouse at GWFC 2: Coming Home, May 30th, 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

46) Blagoy Ivanov, 12-1 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (SUB) vs. Smealinho Rama at WSOF 21, June 5th, 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

45) Adriano Moraes 13-1 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Asuka Mikami at ONE Championship 25, on March 13th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

44) Marcin Tybura 12-1 (-)
Previous Fight: Loss (TKO) vs. Stephan Puetz at M-1 Challenge 57, on May 2nd 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

43) Bruno Menezes 15-5 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Nildo Nasciomento at Jungle Fight 77, May 9th 2015
Next Fight: vs. Ariston Franca (18-2) at Jungle Fight, August 22nd, 2015

42) Eduardo De Souza Silva 11-3 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (SUB) vs. Anderson Berlingeri dos Santos at Coliseu Extreme Fight 12, May 9th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

41) Ivan Buchinger 29-4 (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (TKO) vs. Allyar Sarkerov at M-1 Challenge 56, April 10th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

40) Jonas Bilharinho 6-0-1: (-1)
Previous Fight: Win vs. Fabiano Fernandes at Jungle Fight 76, April 11th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

39) Saul Rogers 10-1 (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (TKO) vs. Mine Nozomi at Real FC 2, May 2nd 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

38) Hakeem Dawodu, 5-0 (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (TKO) vs. Chucka Willis at WSOF 21, June 5th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

37) Ramazan Emeev 12-3 (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (SUB) vs. Vyacheslav Vasilevsky at M-1 Challenge 56, April 10th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

36) Pietro Menga 12-0 (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (SUB) vs. Steve McCombe at BAMMA Fight Night, August 2nd, 2014
Next Fight: Not Announced

35) Geane Herrera 8-0 (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (TKO) vs. Josh Rave at RFA 25, April 10th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

34) Deanna Bennett 7-0: (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Norma Rueda Center at Invicta FC 11, February 27th 2015
Next Fight: Not Scheduled

33) Yuki Motoya 14-4 (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (SUB) vs. Jong Heon Chae at Deep 72, on May 16th, 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

32) Toni “Dynamite” Tauru 10-2-1 (-10)
Previous Fight: vs. Bibiano Fernandes (#1) at ONE Championship 29, July 18th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

31) Luke Sanders 10-0 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Terrion Ware at RFA vs. Legacy, May 8th, 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

30) Tom Duquesnoy 10-1 1NC (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (TKO) vs. Krzysztof Klaczek at BAMMA 18, February 21st 2015.
Next Fight: vs. Brendan Loughnane at BAMMA 22, September 19th, 2015

29) Julio Cesar Neves Jr. (30-1): (-1)
Previous Fight: Loss vs. Jordan Parons (SUB) at Bellator 137, March 15th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

28) Henry Corrales 12-1 (-2)
Previous Fight: Loss (Sub) vs. Daniel Straus at Bellator 138, June 19th 2015.
Next Fight: Not Announced

27) Sergei Kharitonov, 23-5: (+3)
Previous Fight: Win (TKO) vs. vs. Kenny Garner at M-1 Challenge 59, July 3rd, 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

26) Douglas “The Phenom” Lima 26-6 (-14)
Previous Fight: Loss (UD) vs. vs. Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 140, July 17th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

25) Stephan Puetz 13-1 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (TKO) vs. Marcin Tybura at M-1 Challenge 57, on May 2nd 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

24) Marcin Held 21-3: (-)
Last Fight: Win (SUB) vs. Alexander Sarnavskiy at Bellator 136, April 10th 2015.
Next Fight: Not Announced

23) Timur Valiev, 9-1 (-2)
Previous Fight: Win (TKO) vs. Ed West at WSOF 19, March 28th, 2014
Next Fight: Not Announced

22) Brandon Halsey 9-0 (-2)
Previous Fight: Win (TKO) vs. Kendall Grove at Bellator 137, May 15th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

21) Andrey Koreshkov 18-1 (NR)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. #27 Douglas Lima at Bellator 140, July 17th, 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced

20) Brett Johns 12-0: (+3)
Previous Fight: Win (SD) vs. Anthony Gutierrez at Titan FC 34, July 18th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced
His recent Split Decision win was enough to earn himself a spot in the Top 20, but his fight vs. Anthony Gutierrez may have raised concerns more than anything. Johns missed weight and was stripped of his Titan FC belt, which is now vacant. This is not the first time this has happened as his was stripped of his Cage Warriors belt last year for the exact same reason. Brett Johns needs to either move up in weight or figure out whats causing the cutting issues, or he may not get an opportunity from the UFC, who does not take missing weight very lightly.

19) Michael Chandler 12-3 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (SUB) vs. Derek Campos at Bellator 138, June 19th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced
The former Bellator champion got back to his winning ways as he snapped his 3 fight losing streak in a BIG way vs. Derek Campos last month. After out classing Campos all over the mat, he submitted him in the 2nd round. Michael Chandler has learned from his losses and looks to be better than ever. Another impressive win could launch him even further up this list and he may even land among the top 10 where a lot of people think he belongs.

18)  Krasimir “The Wrestler” Mladenov 12-0 (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Brendan Kornberger at WSOF 17, January 17th 2015.
Next Fight: Unannounced
This undefeated (13-0) Bulgarian fighter, who is currently signed with the WSOF, is an impressive grappler who has won every fight in dominate fashion. His last win came in January of this year at WSOF 17 where he picked up a unanimous decision victory over Brendan Kornberger.

17) Igor Svirid 11-1 (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (TKO) vs. Leandro Ataides at ONE FC 22 – Battle of Lions, November 7th, 2014
Next Fight: Not Announced
Since losing his first professional bout, Svirid (10-1) has been on a 10 fight tear and is only hitting his peak now. The 28 year old from Kazakhstan is currently the ONE Championship Middleweight champion. His fight to claim the ONE crown back in November of last year lastest a total of 17 seconds as he defeated Leandro Ataides by TKO.

16) Alex Reyes 11-2 (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (SUB) vs. Joshua Aveles at KOTC – Coming Home, March 15th, 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced
While Reyes may not be facing the highest level of competition, this King of the Cage fighter is on a 11 fight win streak. He has dropped two spots solely to other guys that were behind him gaining momentus wins this past month.

15) Michael Page 8-0 (+15)
Previous Fight: Win (KO) vs. Rudy Bears at Bellator 140, July 17th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced
“The Venom” has launched himself into the ever so prestigious Top 20 of our list. With his unorthodox but seemingly effective style, Michael Page has become one of the most watched and popular young prospects across the entire MMA Community. We have yet to see Page take on top level competition, as his given competition has been lackluster. It is time to give Page a step up in competition, and in doing so we will get a better idea for real this hype train really is.

14) Alexa Grasso 7-0 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Mizuki Inoue at Invicta FC 11 – Cyborg vs. Tweet, Febuary 27th, 2015
Next Fight: vs. Livia Renata Souza (8-0) at Invicta FC 14, September 12th, 2015
This young and talented mixed martial artist may be the brightest potential star for the UFC as she displayed her skill as well as her marketability in her latest win at Invicta FC 11. The 21 year old is undefeated, boasting an impressive 7-0 record that includes 4 first round KO/TKO finishes, all of which came in the first two minutes of the fight. She will have her toughest test to date when she takes on Livia Renata Souza in September.

13) Pannie Kianzad 8-0 (+5)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Jessica-Rose Clark at Invicta FC 13, July 9th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced
The MMA world is searching for the woman who can potentially take down their bantamweight queen, Ronda Rousey, and Swedish fighter Pannie Kianzad may just be that woman. Kianzad is the former Cage Warriors bantamweight champion, and with an undefeated 8-0 record with 3 TKO/KO finishes to go a long with it, she is looking to be one of the top female European prospects. She won her Invicta FC debut this month with a win over Jessica-Rose Clark. I’d love to see her matched up with the winner of Grasso/Souza.

12) Patricio Freire 24-2 (+1)
Previous Fight: Win (KO) vs. Daniel Weichel at Bellator 138, June 19th 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced
Bellators featherweight champ (23-2) could be a nice addition to the already electrifying 145 lbs roster of the UFC. Freire is the winner of 7 straight in which he finished 5 of his opponents inside the distance (1 SUB, 4 KO/TKO). He defended his belt against Daniel Weichel earlier this month by KO’ing him early in the 2nd round. Freire could easily be top 10 on this list.

11) Emanuel Newton 25-8 (-)
Previous Fight: Loss (UD) vs. Liam McGeary at Bellator 134, February 27th, 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced
Before his recent loss to Liam McGeary, Emanuel Newton (25-8-1) was on the top of a lot of peoples list of talented fighter who weren’t in the UFC for a long time. Despite the loss, the former Bellator Light Heavyweight Champ still draws a lot of interest among fans who would like to see him become a part of the UFC’s roster and compete with the sports best. It has recently been announced that he will take part in a 4-man tournament which includes Phil Davis, Muhammad Lawal, and Linton Vassell. His first opponent is yet to be determined.

10) Lance Palmer 10-1: (-)
Previous Fight: Win (SUB) vs. Chris Horodecki at WSOF 21, June 5th 2015.
Next Fight: Not Announced
Palmer defended his title in early June at WSOF 21 in impressive fashion, submitting Chris Horodecki in the 2nd round. The WSOF Featherweight champion proves that he is one of the top fighters in the world and deserves to compete among the elite. Fighting out of Team Alpha Male, Palmer has all the tools to be a star in the MMA world. You can check out my exclusive interview with the WSOF champion right here.

9) Marat Gafurov 11-0 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (SUB) vs. Ev Ting on May 22, 2015 at ONE Championship 28
Next Fight: Not Announced
This Russian ONE Championship fighter is undefeated (11-0) and has added yet another (6) first round submission as he defeated Ev Ting in the first round late last month. Undefeated and on fire, look for this impressive submission artist to continue his streak all the way to the top of Asias premier fight promotion.

8) Liam McGeary 10-0 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Emanuel Newton at Bellator 134, February 27th, 2015
Next Fight: vs. Tito Ortiz on September 19th, 2015
This undefeated (10-0) English fighter sky rocketed on this list when he defeated Emanuel Newton for Bellators 205 strap in an exciting 5 round contest. While a few more fights could leap frog him right in to the top of this list, his 9 finishes (5 KO/TKO’S, 4 SUBS) has more than earned his spot in the top ten. He will defend his title vs. former UFC LHW champion Tito Ortiz in September.

7) Marlon Moraes 14-4 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Josh Hill at WSOF 18, Febuary 12th, 2015
Next Fight: vs. Sheymon Da Silva Moraes at WSOF 22, August 1st, 2015
Moraes (14-4) has been hot lately, he’s on a 9 fight win streak (3 of which came via first round finishes) and is currently the WSOF bantamweight champion. The 26 year old is coming off a win vs. formerly undefeated fighter Josh Hill on February 12th of this year and has looked increasingly better each time we see him compete.

6) Will Brooks 16-1 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Dave Jensen at Bellator 136, April 10th, 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced
Will Brooks is the owner of the biggest jump in the rankings from last month as he had a convincing win over Dave Jensen at Bellator 136. He has been improving each fight, and continues to impress with each performance. He may very well hold on to Bellators 155 pound strap for as long as he’s signed with the organization. Personally, I dream of one day seeing a fight between Brooks and #5 ranked Gaethje who is the current WSOF champ of the same weight class. At UFC 188 we witnessed former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez take on former Bellator champ Eddie Alvarez. Brooks vs. Gaethje would have a striking resemblance as they are two of the most prominent young champions in the two most competitive promotions next to the UFC.

5) Justin Gaethje 14-0 (-)
Previous Fight: Win (TKO) vs. Luis Palomino at WSOF 19, March 28th, 2015
Next Fight: vs. Luis Palmomino at WSOF 23, September 23rd, 2015
Nobody can say this guy doesn’t put on a show for the fans, as Gaethje defended his WSOF lightweight strap once again in a potential FOTY candidate against Luis Palmomino at WSOF 19 last month. This slugger with no fear showed some vicious strikes with an iron jaw to back it up. With a win against former UFC standout Melvin Guillard already under his belt, Gaethje will be looking for an opportunity to fight the sports best in his near future. WSOF has decided to grant Palmomino a rematch, which will happen in late September of this year at WSOF 23.

4) Mamed Khalidov 30-4 (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Brett Cooper at KSW 29, December 6th, 2014
Next Fight: Not Announced
This Polish fighter has been dominating KSW for a long time, as he;s won 10 straight with the organization. Khadilov (30-4) holds impressive wins over high level mixed martial artists such as Melvin Manhoef and Kendall Grove. Unfortunately, the 34 year old’s time to compete in the UFC may be running out as his biggest opportunity passed come and passed him by when the premier promotion came to his home country a few months back.

3)Ben “Funky” Askren 14-0 1NC (-1)
Previous Fight: No Contest vs. Luis Santos (61-9-1) at ONE Championship 26, April 24th, 2015
Next Fight: Not Announced
While keeping his undefeated record in tact due to an eye poke vs. Luis Santos in April, Askren looked very beatable and was losing the fight up until the doctor stoppage. The rematch vs. Santos will be one to watch as he will try to regain his aura of wrestling invincibility.

2)Vitaly Minakov 14-0 (-1)
Previous Fight: Win (UD) vs. Cheick Kongo at Bellator 115, April 4th, 2014
Next Fight: Not Announced
This undefeated (14-0) Russian heavyweight is Bellators current champion who’s most recent title defense came against former UFC fighter Cheick Kongo. His 12 finishes (8 KO/TKO’s, 4 SUB’s) is exactly the kind of excitement and skill that the UFC’s heavyweight division desperately needs. He will need to fight soon in order to regain his top spot on our list as he hasn’t fought for over 15 months.

1) Bibiano Fernandes 18-3 (+3)
Previous Fight: Win (SUB) vs. Dae Hwan Kim at ONE FC 23 – Warrior’s Way, December 5th, 2014
Next Fight: vs. Toni Tauru #22 at ONE Championship 29, July 18th 2015
Fernandes (17-3) is the former Dream champion as well as currently the ONE championship bantamweight champ has been crowned the new champion of our list! He’s been on a 10 fight win streak which included 5 finishes, with his earliest win being one of his most impressive as he KO’d former Cage Warrior champ, Toni Tauru who was ranked 22nd on this list before the fight. One of Fernandes’ three losses came to future UFC HOFer Urijah Faber back in 2006 with King of the Cage.

We would love to hear your opinion about our list, so please tweet to us at @MMAlatestnws, or at me directly at @IainMMac to let us know who we left off, who should be on next time, and who doesn’t deserve to be on our list!

Onnit Primal Bells


Michael ‘GIP’ Cutting BACK! in 2018; Wants Anthony ‘Pretty Boy’ Taylor in the Bellator MMA Cage!



After losing his Bellator debut to talented Irish prospect, James Gallagher at Bellator 158 – Daley vs. Lima. There was some potential for self-loathing. A near 17 months on, and after making a re-overture to Bellator MMA President: Mr. Coker, it would seem as if Michael ‘GIP’ Cutting now has that drive to fight again.

Speaking with MMA Latest, Michael details the drive behind his intent for that return.

“My missus has stood by me through it all and has pushed me to fight for what I want. At times I was going to leave it all behind, she taught me that it’s better to try and fail then to not try at all. If I don’t try I’ll have already failed. Win or lose she has my back and she’s with me for me, she cooks all my meals – pushing me to train. So I thank her for all her support and hope she knows how much I appreciate and love her. The last year has taught me so much, good and bad. I’ve realized that if I want it that bad, I’ve got to fight for it and I need to do it now. Let’s face it, fighting is what I know. So Michael ‘GIP’ Cutting is coming back stronger and better than ever. I was fighting at 50% of my skill-set and just having too much fun; now don’t get me wrong – I’ll still have fun but Nothing and Nobody will get in my way this time. I’ve let too much stop me from getting my dreams and my goals in the past and it has cost me so much; well no more, that’s for sure! 2018 is my year and I’m coming back for the wins ‘kill or be killed’ this time! I’m doing this for me, my girlfriend and my three children in hoping one day I can give them the life I dream of. Everyone deserves a second chance – so where’s mine; I’m waiting!”

With Michael’s micro intent detailed, what is Michael’s long-term (macro) aspirations?

“My aim is to get to the UFC one day! The determination is real and I don’t care who I have to fight or how many fights it takes; I will get there! I will be making weight at every fight after working hard and continuing to do so; my game plan is different; my thought process has changed! I’m a different person. I move, think and train differently to others! My first goal after I’ve made weight and won my fight in May 2018 [return fight at Featherweight; previously Featherweight & Bantamweight], I’m looking to get on the Bellator MMA roster at 145; under (exclusive) contract with that promotion!”

Human resources can run thin sometimes; that’s true with the mental capacity’s ability to endure; process; then manage all personal distractions and demons that come into our life from outside or inside sources. The focus on one’s career as well as persisting personal unhappiness – it raises ”what is the point!’. It would seem as if Michael’s love & passion for MMA; the reason he got into Martial Arts & MMA will be the beacon for personal achievement; a beacon for fulfillment; a beacon for happiness, along with his family’s love & support to carry that motivation going forth.

“Fighting is what I do, it’s in my blood and since the first day I witnessed guys like Royce Gracie, Anderson Silva, and B.J Penn perform MMA and the technique behind it all”, Michael tells MMA Latest.

“I knew it was something I had to do. And now honestly, I couldn’t see myself doing anything else! jujitsu and MMA saved me from being like the other kids from my town: doing nothing and going nowhere in life. I didn’t want that for me. I became a black belt in 2 years of training at jujitsu under my instructor a good friend, Michael Magary. I’m now a 2-time jujitsu world champion!”

So with Michael placing his marker tentatively, but meaningfully down on the 2018 MMA calendar – what mat, and what frames would Michael desire to show his art, and newfound regime at/against? We’ve already viewed the re-overture to Scott Coker via a tweet, and Michael’s May 2018 debut stated above. Let’s potentially dial in further to the canvas Michael would like to showcase his art for.

“I’m determined now more than ever to get back into the cage and choke the first neck I can. I’m back, trust me! Anthony ‘pretty boy’ Taylor called me out a year ago, calling me a ‘bum’ making it personal – so now I want his neck or any limbs. let’s make this fight happen Bellator MMA. He will be my first fight back in that Bellator cage and he will be my first win at putting everything right and making a big comeback.”

Wishful thinking or intents of a man who knows he will get what he wants? They say “if you work hard enough and believe enough, you’ll achieve anything”. We’ve witnessed foundation to such statements coming to fruition in MMA before. Conor McGregor is what some would call ‘special’, or maybe he’s a man who desired & Aspired. That said, Scott Coker will be the determining factor towards giving the green light towards Cutting stepping into the Bellator MMA cage; unless Bellator MMA work alongside a third party promotion, such as ATAK Promotions like a previous London Bellator MMA Event. Is a tweet enough, or will Cutting have to earn his spot on the full-time Bellator MMA roster? It would seem as if Cutting has the desire to earn his spot if must, but you need a platform to progress up those levels.

Cutting has had few trying to blacklist him from U.K MMA cards. The MMA world in the U.K is a small one. It’s hard to break into that international MMA scene, and even more tougher to break out onto the North American MMA scene from the U.K. Conor McGregor said it best when he coached Season 22 of the Ultimate Fighter to his European Team (paraphrasing) “you guys have had the harder road than those in the other locker room”.

Michael’s experience and abilities alone should be enough to secure a spot on many various MMA European events. Can Micheal push through the stone wall that certain individuals have placed in front of him? Will Michael get that opportunity? He has the credentials – having already showcased his abilities on the BAMMA and Bellator MMA canvases.

Some would be happy enough with that achievement alone. Micheal isn’t done achieving and won’t be kept down, no matter what. That should be music to any regional/second tier promoters ears. You want a reliable guy who you know has an unnerved desire to make it to the top. Michael ticks the skill/desire/reliable boxes to make a Champion for any region second-tier promotion. Will Micheal be granted his wishes; will he be given a chance by Bellator MMA President: Scott Coker? Will Michael attain his goals for 2018? We can’t answer those questions, but i ask you to keep an eye out and show support to a family man trying to provide a better life for his family, with the only thing he knows how to, and that is through his passion.

After a torrid 2016; an inactive 2017 – What will Mike Cutting title 2018?

Onnit Primal Bells
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Rany Saadeh pleased with the opportunities ACB brings, promises a finish in his debut on Saturday



The BAMMA Flyweight belt was ruled for years by none other than Rany Saadeh, During his reign as champion he successfully defended the belt on two occasions. His dominance over the division saw him go undefeated in BAMMA and without a loss since 2012. Following the expiration of his contract, Rany vacated his BAMMA belt to explore new challenges.

He has now signed with ACB and is set to make his debut in only a matter of days at ACB 74 in Austria where he will take on Darren Mima. In a recent catch up with Rany, he explained his reasoning behind joining ACB and his goals in the promotion.

“ACB is the fastest growing organization in MMA. They’ve promised me an active career with events all over the world and a tempting bonus structure. It was just what I was looking for. I’ve looked into the competition and I can honestly say that the competition at flyweight is just as good, if not even better than in the UFC. Being the ACB title holder would make me a legit world champion.”

Ahead of his bout with Mima, we are set to see some new stuff from Saadeh as he claims to have changed up his style after a solid camp for this fight, guaranteeing us a surprise.

“I didn’t need to change anything for him but my style changed in general since my last fight. I’ve had an excellent camp with high-level training partners and coaches. I’m very grateful for my coaches who have put hours of private work into me this year. Especially with my new boxing coach Luciano Robledo, I can guarantee a surprise.”

The confidence is evident as he tells me how he sees the fight going. Promising his well-rounded arsenal of both strikes and grappling are worthy of bonuses, something he’d be very keen on considering the set-up in ACB.

“I will not just completely dominate but also finish.” He began, “I can imagine this fight being a wild brawl and dropping my opponent. Also on the ground, I have some slick submissions that are bonus-worthy.”

Having been successful in BAMMA, Rany is striving for more glory as plans on taking home the ACB title becoming the first Western European to do so.

“Of course!” he says with determination in his voice, “I’m coming into ACB as a world champion and the #1 ranked flyweight in Western Europe. After winning this fight, the title fight is right there”

It’s now been over a year since we’ve seen, “Prince” enter the cage. A decision voluntarily made by the German as he adjusted his game.

“It was mid last year when I had started to adjust my game. These changes take time and as the wished competition wasn’t there, I decided to take some time off fighting to prepare for a bigger challenge.”

Now having departed ways with BAMMA, the British promotion now has a new champion in Daniel Barez. Unfortunately for Rany, his reasons for leaving was the lack of competition has beaten everyone put in front of him with money being an issue that stepped in the way too. Despite any negativity derived from his departure, he does not rule out a return to the promotion where he was once Flyweight king.

“The competition in Europe just got very thin. With five fights in BAMMA, I somehow wasn’t very impressed with the opportunities left. Neither I got the fights, nor the purse that I needed to take my career further. After two title defenses, it felt like I was standing still which isn’t just BAMMA’s fault. Altogether, they are a great promotion and I wouldn’t exclude a return.”

When the UFC announced they would have the best flyweights from around the world enter the TUF house with a shot at the belt going to the winner. Many would have thought Rany Saadeh would have been up there. The season had champions from all over the world but no one from BAMMA, something strange considering the number of champions they signed in the past year from the promotion.

In an unfortunate circumstance for Saadeh, it was not his fault he wasn’t in the house as the UFC did come knocking but BAMMA just weren’t letting their champ go. Despite this situation, there is no bad blood anymore as Saadeh has moved on with things now.

“The UFC was definitely interested in putting me on the show and it is not true that BAMMA wasn’t asked. They were asked but didn’t want to be part of it. Without their permission, I wasn’t able to take part in the TUF. But I’m not mad at that anymore, I feel like it will make better opportunities possible.”

Having missed out on a possible UFC opportunity before, it isn’t on his mind anymore as he remains pleased with his life and is mainly looking to support his family in the future.

“I really don’t care, I’m set for the next few fights. All I want now is a decent living from fighting and provide for my family in the near future. ACB is not just giving me the chance to reach that goal but also giving me the challenges that I need. So far, I’m a very happy person”

Onnit Primal Bells
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Today’s MMA news round-up



Today has been a pretty busy day when it comes to MMA news. We’ve had it all today from new champions to commissioners being slapped to fighters being flagged by USADA. It’s been hectic to say the least so here are the highlights of today’s news.

1. Conor McGregor causes havoc at Bellator 187

Yes, that’s correct, Conor McGregor at Bellator. Following the win of his teammate and friend Charlie Ward at Bellator 187 the UFC Lightweight Champion entered the cage to celebrate with Ward, however, their celebrations did not go to plan. Referee Marc Goddard wasn’t pleased with this in the slightest and tried get McGregor out. This didn’t go down too well as McGregor confronted the referee who initially pushed him. See the video here:

This unfortunately was not the only incident as Conor appeared to slap an official who tried to get him off the top of the cage.
Credit to @BryanLaceyMMA for this one

2. Bellator to hold 8 Man Grand Prix for Vacant Heavyweight Championship

Earlier today it was confirmed by MMA Fighting that Bellator would crown a new Heavyweight champions following a report from MMA Junkie. There is no official dates yet, however, they do hope to start on January 20th and crown a new champion by the end of the year. There are some big names bidding to become the new champion, they are:

Fedor Emleianenko
Frank Mir
Matt Mitrione
Roy Nelson
Ryan Bader
Rampage Jackson
King Mo Lawal
Chael Sonnen

3. Anderson Silva flagged by USADA for potential doping violation, out of UFC Shanghai Main Event

Former UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva failed a USADA doping test and was pulled from the UFC Shanghai Main Event. The sample was collected from an out of competition test on October 26th. This is now his second time failing a doping test. Last time he was hit with a one year suspension and a heavy fine. No more information on the matter has been made available yet in relation to suspension.

4. UFC newcomer Grant Dawson also flagged by USADA for potential doping violation

USADA had a field day today in terms of fighters testing positive for doping. Grant Dawson, who has yet to even get a date for his debut was flagged for a sample collected on October 18th. The 23 year old was signed after impressing on Dana White’s contender series where he scored a second round submission on Adrian Diaz.

5. Martin Nguyen becomes ONE Championship’s first ever two division champion

Featherweight Champion Martin Nguyen stepped up to Lightweight to clash with title holder Eduard Folayang in effort of making history. Many ruled Nguyen out but he silenced all critics when viciously knocked out Folayang to take home another title. See the knockout here:
Credit to @Jolassanda for the video.

 6. All but one fighter make-weight for UFC Norfolk

Things were running smoothly today at the UFC Norfolk weigh ins until Matthew Lopez stepped up to the scales for his bout with Rafael Assuncao. He weighed in 2.5lbs over for his bout. The fight will go ahead, however, Lopez will lose 20% of his purse. Both Pettis and Poirier successfully made weight for their Main Event fight tomorrow night.

7. One new BAMMA champion while Lahore defends his belt in style

Despite some streaming troubles for the first two fights, BAMMA finally got one up in time for fans to see the final 3 fights. In the World Flyweight Title fight, Andy “Taz” Young fell lost his belt to Spaniard Daniel Barez via Majority Decision, After being docked a point in the opening round Barez came back strong to take home the World Title.

In the Main Event of the evening then, the anticipated match up between Alex Lahore and Richard Kiely went down. There was a lot of hype surrounding this one in the build up to the fight but it went as planned for Lahore. The champion pressured for a takedown in the first until finally succeeding, following some work on the mat it looked as if Kiely was about to gain some advantage on top. Only for Lahore to lock in a Kneebar and finish off the fight retaining his belt.

8. Cage Warriors 89 gets a shake up

The Cage Warriors Belgium card had an incredible addition today as they announced via newsletter that Karl Amoussou will defend his belt against Dominique Steele in the Main Event. The fight for the Vacant Heavyweight Championship was then demoted to co-main with a change in opponents for Mauro Cerilli. Dutchman Nills van Noord stepped up to face the Italian after Light Heavyweight Champion Karl Moore was forced off the card due to injury. This dampened his hopes of becoming the first Cage Warriors two division champion since Conor McGregor.

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