MMA Prospect Watch for 9/26/14

This weekend MMA fans have 4 events to watch on television and pay per view:

1) UFC 178: Johnson vs. Cariaso on Fox Sports 1 and Pay Per View

2) Bellator 126: Shlemenko vs. Halsey on and Spike TV

3) Titan FC 30: Brilz vs. Magalhaes on Internet stream and CBS Sports Network

4) Legacy FC 35: Dennis vs. Leite on

I am going to attempt to start a weekly post looking at interesting prospects on the larger cards, they won't always being airing on TV or even on an easy to find stream, so I'll be doing a little research. The entire point of these posts will be to look at the young, up and coming fighters fighting on these cards and analyzing their records, their backgrounds, their potential ceiling and the bottom line: what's going to happen in this fight.

Some weekends won't have a post I'm sure, and if these posts aren't met with much enthusiasm I may discontinue like I did my record posts from a while back. All the numbers I use are based on adding up the available records on sherdog, tapology, and mma underground. I am not copying this down from another site or posting it anywhere else.So on to the first event and the first fighter:

UFC 178

Fighter I'm looking at:
Kevin Lee (vs. Jon Tuck 8-1)
Lightweight (155 lbs)
Age: 22 Height: 5'9" Reach: 75.5
Record: 8-1 (UFC 1-1)
Pro Since 2012
50% Finish rate (4 Subs)

Opponents Combine Record At Time of Bout:
60-21-1 (Win rate 73%) *(10 of those loses belonged to 1 fighter: Moon, Eric)

Looking at the numbers:
Honestly I was surprised at these numbers, with his opponents having such a high win rate. The biggest knock is the lack of experience for post of his opponents which average to only 6.67-3. Still, these numbers are promising.

Bottom line:
Prospects are by definition developing, raw fighters and Kevin Lee is about as raw as they come: good wrestling, decent striking but great at nothing at this point. I picked against him in the Iaquinta fight by picked him in the Ronson fight. At 22 years old he has plenty of time to develop. His long reach and athleticism will carry him as a good fighter in the lightweight division for years to come barring any crippling injuries. With luck, timing and living up to his potential he could be a contender by 2016-2017.

Prospects for this weekends fight:
He's fighting Jon Tuck, who is also 8-1. A few differences in these fighters are that Tuck is a bit older at 30. Another key difference is that 7 of Tuck's 8 wins are finishes, compared to just 4 for Lee. Tuck is a little taller but lacks the cardio of Lee which is where this fight is determined. An early finish favors Tuck where a decision win will likely go to Lee. Lee is the favorite and I'm picking him to win a comfortable 29-28 across the board decision.

Second Fighter:

Bellator 126

Fighter I'm Looking At:
Stuart Austin
(vs. Dan Charles 7-2)
Heavyweight (Last weigh in 235 lbs)
Age: 26 Height: 6'3" Reach: UKN
Record: 8-0 (Bellator 1-0)
Pro Since 2010
88% Finish rate (4 TKO/KOs, 3 Subs)

Opponents Combine Record At Time of Bout:
7-7 (Win rate 50%)

Looking at the numbers:
Don't let that 7-7 record fool you, United Kingdom fighter Stuart Austin didn't fight an opponent with a win on their record until his fifth fight! The opponents overall average record is just .875-1.16. His last fight saw him fight 4-3 Craig Hudson at Bellator 119 in May where he won via submission at the end of the first round.

Bottom line:
His opponents have been so poor I don't know what to think about Mr. Austin. He's looked good, has gone undefeated... but whose he fought? At 6'3" and 235 lbs he isn't a giant heavyweight and could probably make 205 lbs if he wanted to. He's an athletic young heavyweight in a sport that badly needs them though, so he already has potential. It really all depends on when he's tested by a better fighter.

Prospects for this weekends fight:
He's fighting Dan Charles who at 7-2 looks like a big step up in competition. That being said, Mr. Charles is 0-2 in his last two fights and has been knocked out in both. He hasn't fought since November of 2013 when he was knocked out in 13 seconds. Mr. Austin is being groomed by Bellator and he probably should be because if his skills are really up to snuff then he could be a contender for their title in a few years. Expect a knock out win for Mr. Austin. You can see him on the Bellator 126 prelim fights on

Quick Looks:

Titan FC 30:
Anthony Gutierrez (5-0)
Age 23

Infamous for missing weight on TUF 18 and not even trying to cut additional weight and was kicked off the show. Still, he's fighting on the Co-Main of Titan FC 30 against UFC vet Walel Watson. It'll be interesting to see how much he's developed since the show and if he really has any promise.

Gleristone Santos (26-4)
Age 26

I realize that a 30 fight veteran doesn't seem like a prospect but Mr. Santos is only 26 years old and has been a pro since 2005, which would put him at 17 or 18 years old making his pro debut. His last loss was 8 fights ago in 2011 to UFC vet Carlo Prater. I consider myself a pretty hard core MMA fan but I don't think I've ever heard of him. I'll be watching his fight with 19-8 Robert Washington pretty closely to see if we've got a contender or a can crusher.

Legacy FC 35:
Myron Denis (10-3)
Age 25
Light Heavyweight

Mr. Denis is the Legacy FC 205 lbs champion, winning the vacant title against former UFC title challenger Paul Buentello in March via split decision. Mr. Dennis is on a 3 fight win streak and has finished 8 of his 10 wins. He'll be defending his title on the main event of Legacy FC 35 against 4-0 36 year old Brazilian Leonardo Leite.

Andrew Todhunter (6-0)
Age 26

Mr. Todhunter has finished all of his fights by submission and at 6'0" with a 73" reach was a bit undersized at middleweight. His fight on Friday on will be contested at a catch weight of 175 lbs against 18-14 journeymen Levi Avera. Avera is a Bellator and Strikeforce veteran and hopefully will make it a contest even if he's on a 4 fight skid. I think Todhunter could make a splash pretty quickly. I don't know a lot about his striking so I'll be watching this fight closely to see how good this prospect really is.

There it is ladies and gents. Sound off below if you like this format and if you'd like to see more of these posts. Have a good day!

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