Bellator 263 goes down this weekend but first, we are gonna dive into some prospects Bellator should sign.
Lightweight, Mansour Barnaoui (19-4)
Somehow someway Mansour Barnaoui isn’t fighting for a big promotion yet. He was last seen in 2019 dominating in South Korea for Road FC. The Frenchman hasn’t lost a fight since 2016 and that was to KSW double champ and current UFC fighter Mateusz Gamrot. In fact, his other three losses are to Ivan Buchinger and UFC’s Kevin Lee and Islam Makhachev. That’s some legit competition to be fighting and still be fighting in South Korea. Barnaoui brings that exciting finishing ability to the table and has a country in Frane behind him.
Lightweight, Yusuf Raisov (18-2)
Any hardcore MMA fighter knows who Yusuf “Wolf” Raisov is. He’s been one of the best if not the best prospect out of Brazil for the last six years. Being now a free agent and still on Twitter asking the UFC for a fight in just insane. The UFC should’ve snatched up Raisov as soon as possible. One man’s mistake is another man’s treasure and Bellator should jump the gun here. Bellator has done a great job signed top Russian talent so don’t stop now and take the best available.
Featherweight, Edwin Cooper Jr (4-1)
Edwin Cooper just screams “Bellator fighter”. Cooper is a three-time Illinois high school state champ, NJCAA national champ, D2 finalist, and he was a national qualifier at the University of Iowa. He has that style and pedigree Bellator goes after. Cooper has looked outstanding under the LFA banner who has helped him get his name out there and develop him as a fighter.
Bantamweight, Bryce Meredith (1-0)
Bellator is known for taking outstanding wrestlers transitioning into MMA and signing them early in their careers. Bryce Meredith fits exactly that bill and it’s only a matter of time before they possibly come calling. Meredith was a three-time NCCA Division-1 All-American wrestler out of the University of Wyoming. He just made his MMA debut last May and it was a rollercoaster of a fight. Meredith was dropped early but came back and won just minutes after. It was a fantastic debut that should have the attention of the Bellator brand.
Middleweight, Djati Melan (7-0)
Melan fighting out of Paris, France is an underrated prospect ready for a breakout opportunity. He’s fought for Cage Warriors and Ares FC but has never got his big opportunity yet. Not nearly as active as he should plays a factor in why someone like Bellator hasn’t signed him yet. As much as Bellator goes to Europe and a possible France card in the future Melan would be smart to bring aboard.
Lightweight, Brant Moore (9-1)
Moore first jumped out to a wider audience when he beat a good prospect in Nation Gibrick back in 2019. He’s become a staple of LFA, fighting for them in his last four fights. Moore had a dominant win in the main event of LFA 89 last August and dominated TUF 27 finalist Joe Giannetti. His sole loss was to a good prospect in Lucas Clay. “Killer Bee” is on the verge of an LFA title shot and even more a fight on a bigger show. Moore is a top lightweight prospect Bellator should get before anyone else does.
Lightweight, Achilles Estremadura (7-0)
Estremadura is a very good prospect fighting out of Vancouver, British Columbia. Most of Canada’s best prospects are on the come-up. Estremadura on the other hand is top-notch and is ready to fight at a higher level. Having won the BFL title back in 2018 to this day he’s still their champion with four title defenses. Estremadura hasn’t fought the best of guys but fighting guys with more experience and he’s dispatching of them easily. Probably not one of Canada’s best prospects but Canada’s best prospect. It would be a fantastic signing from Bellator.
Middleweight, Hunter Colvin (3-0)
Colvin is only 3-0 in MMA but has an extensive background in jiu-jitsu. He’s been competing in jiu-jitsu for ten years, has been grappling all across North America, and is a BJJ black belt. Colvin made his LFA debut just recently and put on a grappling clinic, securing a first-round rear-naked choke to hand Obinwa Ikebunna his first loss. He’s still pretty active in jiu-jitsu but Bealltor should strike while the irons hot.
Lightweight, Elvin Espinoza (5-0)
Elvin Espinoza is the type of fighter that can have the same type of success Jornel Lugo is having in Bellator. Espinoza went 6-2 as an amateur and was the reigning XFN lightweight champion. Ever since turning pro, he hasn’t lost a fight. You can tell by watching footage how much better he’s getting with each fight. Unknown but very talented. Underrated but not for much longer.
Lightweight, Mairon Santos (12-0)
Santos comes out of Paraná Vale Tudo, the home of Jessica Andrade and a slew of young fighters like Santos. “A Lenda” has had a few “easier” fights but has beat records like a 7-1, 5-0, 7-3, and another 7-1. He’s been built up perfectly and is a Brazilian that has both an impressive and legit undefeated record. Overall, there may be a few concerns but has performed as perfectly as possible. Bellator needs more talent from Brazil and this signing would be a good start.
Bantamweight, Levi Mowles (15-4)
Mowles has fought quality opponents his entire career. He’s only lost to Tony Kelley, Damon Jackson, Miles Johns, and Raufeon Stots who are already UFC and Bellator fighters. On the other side of the spectrum, he’s beat Jimmy Flick, Adrian Yanez, Jose Johnson, Ahmet Kayretli, and James Gonzalez. Mowles in no way has a padded record as it’s a rare occurrence you see this good of a resume still fighting regionally. Still young at only 26, Mowles is still a student of this sport getting better and better.
Featherweight, Jordan Vucenic (8-1)
“The Epidemic” Vucenic is the current Cage Warriors featherweight champion. He beat a very good fighter Morgan Charriere last March taking the title away from him Before that he handed top prospect, Paul Hughes, his first loss. Ever since coming to Cage Warriors in 2019 Vucenic has looked great and has boosted his name forward as one of the UK’s best prospects. Vucenic is definitely Bellator level and right now I think he’d rank in theirs featherweight rankings.
Lightweight, Zulkarnaiyn Kamchybekov (5-1)
Originally from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan Kamchybekov has been living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania training with Extreme Evolution Fight Camp. His only loss is to current UFC fighter Matt Semelsberger that went to a split decision. Kamchybekov has fought his entire career basically for CFFC. In his last fight, he won the CFFC lightweight title. Kyrgyzstan fighters have been killing it lately and Kamchybekov has been no different in his own right. Bellator needs their own Kyrgyzstan star and Kamchybekov fits that bill.
Lightweight, Kiril Gorobets (11-1)
Gorobets is one of the most electrifying prospects out there today. He’s a human highlight reel with finishes from a head kick, spinning back kick, Peruvian necktie, and a banana split. Gorobets is a legit all-around finisher and gets to work quite quickly with six first-round finishes. He’s dynamic on the feet throwing a bunch of different attacks from different angles. He’s very fun to watch and Bellator would be lucky to have him.
Welterweight, Mark Martin (6-1)
Mark Martin doesn’t have much MMA experience but is a highly touted wrestler. Some of his accolades including being a Fila junior national champ, a two-time Ohio high school state champ, and a three-time D1 national qualifier from Ohio State University. That’s right up Bellator’s alley. Martin is on a five-fight win streak and has been crushing in for LFA the last year. Martin would be a good fit for the promotion and can continue to develop within the company.
Middleweight, Ikram Aliskerov (11-1)
Aliskerov is a two-time world combat sambo champion out of Makhachkala, Russia, along with other accomplishments. His only loss in his career was to Khamzat Chimaev so no shame in that at all. He’s still better thank what he showed in that loss. He’s been on a three-fight win streak finishing all three opponents. If he stays with Brave CF long I feel he will win the middleweight title. I believe he’s one of the best middleweight prospects out there and he can be a Bellator fighter hopefully soonish.
Welterweight, Benoit Saint-Denis (7-0, 1 NC)
Another French fighter is Benoit “God of War” Saint-Denis. Even though Saint-Denis has been main eventing and co-main eventing Brave CF cards he’s hardly ever mentioned as a top prospect. Before signing with Brave in 2019 he was the Staredown Fighting Championship welterweight title-holder. He fights this Sunday Brave CF 52 in Milan, Italy. Another win and an impressive showing would be an underrated but wonderful signing from Bellator if they made it happen.
Welterweight, Elmar Umarov (3-0)
Umarov has a background in freestyle wrestling, sambo, and has dabbled in some boxing. He’s from Krasnodar, Russia but has been living in St. Louis, Missouri training out of St Charles MMA. Umarov is 10-0 combined – 3-0 as a pro and 7-0 as an amateur. As an amateur, he fought some good competition and so far that hasn’t been the case as a pro. Umarov still needs to prove a lot but is someone Bellator should look at signing sometime next year.
Welterweight, Abdoul Abdouraguimov (12-1)
Abdouraguimov is an outstanding prospect fighting for Brave CF and their former welterweight champion. His only loss is to a good Jarrah Hussein Al-Silawi and that was a rematch from with Abdouraguimov won the first meeting. His level of competition is really good. Some good prospects he’s beaten are Louis Glismann, Carl Booth, Rodrigo Cavalheiro, Sidney Wheeler, and former UFC fighter Viscardi Andrade. He’s got an exciting style Bellator would push in the promotion. He fights this Sunday at Brave CF 52 and with a win, he shouldn’t be denied anymore.
Featherweight, Alejandro Flores (19-3)
Flores had the opportunity of a UFC contract last Summer on the Contender Series. He fell short, but losing so fast he never had a chance to show his skillset. Since then he’s gotten back on the board with two very solid wins. Flores has fought good competition, has the experience, and a good-looking record. It’s a strong possibility the UFC is still looking at Flores so it would be a good scoop from Bellator. Flores is a good enough prospect to fight for any promotion so anyone would be lucky to have him.