Jack Hermansson – 5-0-0 - Norwegian – 22 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 13-5, Last Fought: Sep ’11
22 year old Norwegian Jack Hermansson trains at Team Hellboy under the tutelage of top MMA fighter Joachim Hansen. He is one of the best wrestlers from Europe in MMA, and has been training Greco-roman wrestling since the age of 9. He has finished all 5 of his fights, with 4 coming by brutal knockouts and the other by Submission. He has fought some top fighters considering how inexperienced in his career he is – in just his 3rd fight he knockout out the previously unbeaten Ali Arish (11-0) via head kick. In his most recent fight in September, he knocked out CWFC fighter Mike Ling (8-2) in the first round. Hermansson recently signed for the Fight UK promotion, and will fight for their Middleweight title in his next fight.
Mikkel Parlo – 7-0-0 - Danish – 21 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 17-9, Last Fought: Mar ’12
Parlo makes up an all Scandinavian top 2, and brings a perfect 7-0 record to the table. The 21 year old has finished 6 of his 7 fights and 5 of them have come due to punches. The stand up specialist has fought a great wealth of talent so far, which is simply astounding considering his age - his wins include Gregor Herb (10-4), Vincent Del Guerra (9-3), Dan Edwards (8-3) & Martin Tondryk (7-4). It is rumoured that Bellator are sniffing around regarding a Season 7 tournament. Parlo is a relatively small Middleweight who has weighed as little as 177 pounds in previous fights, so the drop to Welterweight should be expected.
Sean Strickland – 9-0-0 - American – 21 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 23-6, Last Fought: Apr ’12 – KOTC Champion
Strickland became the KOTC Middleweight Champion in December when he TKO’d the former long time champion Brandon Hunt (8-2) in the very first round. In the rematch last week, Strickland was again victorious by TKO, this time doing the job 24 seconds faster. Just 1 of Strickland’s fights has gone to the judges’ scorecard, and he has finished 6 of them in the very first round. He also holds wins over Donavin Hawkey (5-1) and Brett Sbardella (4-1).
Jason South – 8-0-0 - American – 34 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 20-6, Last Fought: Feb ’12
South is the oldest fighter on the Middleweight list at 34 years old, but he is still the number 4 prospect. Although he doesn’t have a background in any martial art; he has steadily become a jiu-jitsu expert. He started training jiu-jitsu 6 years ago, which makes it even more impressive that he has won a host of jiu-jitsu tournaments and even medalled at the pan-ams. The 34 year old impressively ended the unbeaten streak of top collegiate wrestler Tim Ruberg (8-0) in his most recent fight, when he submitted him in the 2nd round. South trains with UFC fighters Court McGee and Ramsey Nijem. Just last week he signed with top regional promotion XFC.
Tim Williams – 6-0-0 - American – 25 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 13-8, Last Fought: Apr ’11 – LITC Champion
The 3rd of 10 Americans on this list, Williams was 6-0 as an amateur as well as being 6-0 as a pro. He is a jiu-jitsu purple belt, and his accomplishments include coming 2nd in the Gi purple belt division, and placing 3rd in the NAGA purple belt division in 2008. Williams is a finisher, and finished all of his amateur and pro fights. Of the 12 pro and amateur record combined, he has finished 8 in the first round, with 8 coming by Submission and the other 4 by TKO. He has fought a solid level of competition, and in his most recent fight the LITC Champion TKO’d UFC and IFL veteran Andre Gusmao (6-2).
Rumen Dimitrov – 12-0-2 - Bulgarian – 30 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 20-17, Last Fought: May ’11 – MAXFIGHT Champion
Dimitrov is the first of 2 Bulgarian fighters on the Middleweight list. Dimitrov is a specialist Sambo fighter, and has in fact won a bronze medal in two consecutive years (2007 & 2008) at the World Combat Sambo Championships. The 30 year old has finished 10 of his 12 wins, with 6 coming via TKO and 4 by Submission. In 2010 he beat UFC veteran Shonie Carter (49-26), and in his most recent fight he handed Mikel Cortes (5-1) his 2nd career defeat. Dimitrov has a twin brother who is also a successful mixed martial artist (and interestingly competes at a lower weight class), holding a 17-2 record.
Joseph Henle – 6-0-1 - American – 28 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 12-10, Last Fought: Jan ’12
Some may remember Henle as he was a member of The Ultimate Fighter 11. On TUF, Henle submitted current UFC fighter Constantinos Philippou to get into the house, but lost to another UFC fighter in Seth Baczynski in the last 16. Since TUF fights are exhibition fights, Henle is still undefeated in his pro MMA career. Henle’s background is in Tae Kwon-Do, where it took him just 5 years to get his black belt - and he was also a Tae Kwon-Do champion in his state. The 28 year old also competed in wrestling and American football whilst at university, so is a natural athlete. As well as having a perfect 6-0 record as a pro (with 4 stoppages), Henle was also 7-1 as an amateur.
Jake Mapes – 5-0-0 - American – 28 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 5-3, Last Fought: Sep ’11
28 year old Mapes is a jiu-jitsu black belt under Xande Riberio. Surprisingly he has won 3 of his 5 fights by TKO, with 1 Submission and a Decision. At brown belt Mapes won bronze in the Pan American games and World Championships, and is also an American National Champion in the brown belt division. He received his black belt in 2009 and is a jiu-jitsu instructor at The Arena (where he also trains) – home of fighters such as Roger Huerta, Rani Yahya & Myles Jury. He has not been fighting a top level of opposition, though in August he beat Matt Lagler (5-4).
John Michael Shiel – 8-0-0 - Irish – 25 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 13-7, Last Fought: Feb ’12 – Man of War Champion
The lone Irishman on the list, Shiel has impressively finished all 8 of his wins, and even more impressively finished 7 of them in the very first round. Although from Ireland, Shiel has moved to Canada to get the best possible training. He is predominantly a stand-up fighter, and has 6 of his 8 wins have come via TKO. The 25 year old has already beaten some top fighters in his young career, and his best wins are over TUF vet Ross Pointon (6-14) and CWFC fighter Victor Cheng (7-1). Shiel is on the smaller side of Middleweight, and if he fights in the big leagues he may have to cut to 170 pounds.
Nicolas Penzer – 7-0-0 - German – 23 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 9-9, Last Fought: Apr ’12 – Respect FC Champion
German fighter Penzer has arguably the finest record in this list – 7 wins with 7 Submissions (4 Armbars & 3 RNC’s) in the very first round. His average fight time is just 1 minute 45 seconds, and his wins aren’t just over debutants either. In his most recent fight 2 weeks ago he needed just 60 seconds to submit the experienced Sebastien Risch (8-2), and with the victory he won the RFC Middleweight title. Penzer is a jiu-jitsu expert, who has previously competed in the ADCC trials. One downside is he has not competed outside of Germany, so it would be nice to see him sign for an organisation such as CWFC.
Krzystof Jotko – 10-0-0 - Polish – 22 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 15-5, Last Fought: Apr ’12
Polish fighter Jotko has finished 5 of his 10 wins. He is a Polish amateur Champion, and held an incredible 35-5 amateur record. Early in his career Jotko won the ZSSZ 8 man 1 night Middleweight tournament, finishing 2 men by TKO and one by Decision. He has some decent wins in his career, including Tomasz Kondraciuk (6-3). After his most recent win a few weeks ago over Damir Hadzovic (4-1), he announced he was to make the drop to Welterweight, which appears a good move.
Rafal Lewon – 6-0-0 - German – 29 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 6-2, Last Fought: Apr ’12
The 2nd of 3 German’s on the Middleweight list, Lewon was actually born in Poland but fights out of Germany. He is one of Eastern Europe’s top wrestlers, and was a Polish junior wrestling champion, as well as a runner up in the senior division. The 29 year old has made an impressive start to his MMA career, finishing all 6 of his fights in the first round. The wrestler has won by a mix of TKO’s and Submissions, and has seen just 1 fight go past 3 minutes. After not fighting a great level of fighters in his first 5 fights, he recently took a step up and needed just 90 seconds to stop Maurice Van Waeyenberghe (7-2).
Jeremy Smith – 7-0-0 – South African – 27 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 13-5, Last Fought: Mar ’12 – EFC Africa Champion
South African fighter Smith is a former pro Thai Boxer, holding a 10-1 record before he turned to MMA. It is therefore unsurprising that 4 of his 7 wins have come via TKO. Just 1 of his fights have gone to the scorecards, in December 2010 when he handed Strikeforce veteran Joe Ray (5-0) his first defeat in a tough decision. In Smith’s most recent fight, he submitted Garreth McLellan (5-1) to take the EFCA Middleweight title from him.
Travis Clark – 6-0-0 - American – 33 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 10-6, Last Fought: Jun ’11 – NAAFS Champion
Heavily tattooed fight Clark is unbeaten in all his combat sports – his records include 6-0 in pro MMA, 6-0 in amateur MMA, 3-0 in kickboxing and 2-0 in boxing. On top of this, he was also a former state champion wrestler back in 1998. Clarke hasn’t always had it easy, and before he started his MMA career, a dirt bike accident left him in a wheelchair for a year. Now fully recovered, Clark finished all 6 of his amateur fights (5 in the 1st round) and has finished 5 of his 6 pro fights (4 in the first round). As an amateur he held the OVT Light heavyweight title and beat Bellator fighter Dan Spohn (6-2). In his most recent fight he captured the NAAFS Middleweight title with a 3rd round TKO over Alan Aeschlimann (3-1).
Bojan Velickovic – 6-0-0 - Serbian – 23 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 11-0, Last Fought: Dec ’11
The 8th European fighter in the top 15, Velickovic is just 23 years old and is another that has finished all of his fights. He is a very well rounded fighter, and has gained 5 Submission wins so far in his career, as well as a knockout. All 6 of Velickovic’s wins have been over unbeaten fighters, though most have been in the 2-0 or 3-0 range so not very experienced. Unlike a lot of European fighters, Velickovic does have international experience, and in August he handed Jason Lee (3-0) his first loss whilst fighting for top American regional promotion Ring of Fire.
Mike Kent – 8-0-0 - Canadian – 27 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 12-10, Last Fought: Jan ’12 – CECR Champion
Kent is a hulking Middleweight and has also competed at Light heavyweight before. The 27 year old comes from a kickboxing background, and has used this to help him get 7 finishes in 8 fights – with 4 Submission wins and 3 TKO wins. The Canadian trains at Titan MMA alongside Bellator fighter Roger Hollett. In June of 2011 he won his MMA title, when he won a rematch (their first fight ended in a split decision win for Kent) against Alderick Keith (4-1) to capture the CECR Middleweight title. It was recently announced he had signed with top Canadian promotion MFC. Kent also possesses one of the worst tattoos seen in MMA since Alan Belchers!
Marcin Naruszczka – 10-0-0 - Polish – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 14-7, Last Fought: Apr ’12 – Respect FC Champion
Another 10-0 Polish talent like his training partner Krzystof Jotko (number 11 on the list), Naruszczka is actually the RFL Light Heavyweight champion, though he normally competes at Middleweight. The well rounded Pole has finished 6 of his 10 fights, with 4 coming by TKO and 2 by Submission. Naruszczka has previously trained with the World’s Strongest Man Marius Pudzianowski; though it has been well documented the two didn’t get on. His wins include experienced fighter such as Mario Stapel (19-15) and Artur Kadlubek (12-8). He is scheduled to fight at this weekend’s KSW event against Borys Mankowski (11-5).
Benjamin Brinsa – 11-0-0 - German – 22 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 8-21, Last Fought: Oct ’11 – FFC Champion
Just 1 of the young German’s 11 wins have gone to the judges’ scorecards – he has finished 8 of his fights in the very first round, with 4 of his wins coming via TKO and 6 via Submission. Unfortunately there is a down side to having such an impressive record – the strength of his opponents. Between then his opponents are just 8-21, and the only fighters he has fought with a positive record have less than 4 fights. His best win is over 42 year old Maik Stumbries (6-9), which says a lot. He is nonetheless a talented young fighter, with an excellent stand up game.
Krasimir Mladenov – 7-0-0 - Bulgarian – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 6-8, Last Fought: Feb ’12
Just like his compatriot and number 6 on this list Rumen Dimitrov, Mladenov is a Sambo specialist and in 2010 he won gold in the European Sambo Championships, after winning bronze the previous year. The Bulgarian is primarily a grappler, and he has gone to a decision in 4 of his 7 wins. He fights for top Bulgarian promotion MAX FIGHT, and in his 4th fight he got an impressive Submission win over Svetoslav Zahariev (7-3).
Jordan Beercroft – 4-0-0 - Canadian – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 8-3, Last Fought: Feb ’12
The Canadian is a tall Middleweight at 6’4”, and he’s used his length well to help him get 2 TKO’s and a Submission win during his 4 fights. Beecroft set the tone in his first MMA fight when he knocked out his opponent in just 13 seconds. He fights for Canadian promotion BFL, and picked up his career best win in May of last year when he TKO’d the experienced Mike Jorgensen (6-2) in the first round.
Matt Howard – 9-0-0 - English – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 11-28, Last Fought: Oct ’11 – Knuckleforce Champion
One of 2 Brits on the list, Howard has one of the most impressive records. He has won 9 straight fights and finished all of them, with 8 of the 9 coming in the very first round. Howard has powerful stand up game, stemming from his background where he was a successful amateur boxer. He has used his background to help him get 8 TKO victories. He has not fought the best talent so far, but he was recently signed by top British promotion BAMMA, so he should get a step up in class soon. He was due to fight at BAMMA 9 in March, but had to pull out due to injury. Howard is actually a gypsy, and regularly spars with Jimmy Wallhead.
Johnny Cisneros – 6-0-0 - American – 32 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-7, Last Fought: Apr ’12
Heavily tattooed American Cisneros fought his first 4 fights as a light heavyweight, and dropped to Middleweight earlier this year. Cisneros trains under the tutelage of UFC vet Mike Guymon, and recently went to the judge’s scorecard for the first time in his career after finishing his first 5 fights by TKO. He fights for KOTC, and they currently rank him as their number 6 Middleweight. The 32 year old got his best win last year over Paul Arras (5-2).
Tolly Plested – 6-0-0 – English – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 3-7, Last Fought: Apr ’12 – ZTFN Champion
Plested trains with UFC fighter Oli Thompson at 1st Gen Fitness, where he is the head jiu-jitsu instructor. His background is in boxing, but he soon moved on to jiu-jitsu where he is a brown belt under World Champion Ze Marcello. In 2010 he came 3rd in the British no-gi Open Elite Division, and in the same year he won the WUMA European cup. Plested is a big middleweight who also competes in strongman and power lifting events, and he recently signed for top British promotion UKMMA. He hasn’t fought great competition so far, but hopefully that will soon improve. Plested has finished all 6 of his fights, with 5 coming in the very first round.
Joe Williams – 6-0-0 - American – 26 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 10-18, Last Fought: Sep ’11 – RITC Champion
26 year old Williams is a stocky middleweight who has finished 5 of his 6 fights within the distance. Williams won the Respect in the Cage Middleweight title in June with a hard fought decision over Fernando Gonzalez (17-8). He successfully defended his title in his most recent fight in September with a 3rd round submission win over Vince Alaalatoa (5-1).
Cole Davids – 5-0-0 - Kiwi – 23 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 8-8, Last Fought: Apr ’11
Davids fights out of New Zealand, but he was originally from Zimbabwe. The 23 year old has finished all 5 fights within the distance, with 4 wins coming via TKO. He doesn’t have a traditional background in martial arts, and is very well rounded. Davids is a small Middleweight and has previously fought at 180 pounds, so a drop to Welterweight is not out of the question. In his most recent fight last April, he Stopped Donavin Hawkey (6-2) with punches.
Mike Pitz – 8-0-0 - American – 30 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 11-21, Last Fought: Oct ’11
Pitz has finished 7 of his 8 fights, with 4 of them coming in the very first round. As well as being 8-0 as a pro, he also had a perfect 3-0 amateur record. Pitz trains out of Midwest MMA – the same camp that houses UFC fighter Clay Guida. He has not been fighting top competition, and recently beat his most experienced fighter to date in October when he knocked out Robert Morrow (6-10).
Tyler Klajeski – 5-0-1 - American – 25 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 8-8, Last Fought: Aug ’11
Klajeski trains out of Minnesota and is unbeaten in his first 6 fights. The 23 year old has finished 3 of his 5 victories, with all 3 coming by Submission. In just his 4th MMA fight, Klejeski beat veteran Miguel Cooley (15-19) under the KOTC banner. In July he drew with fellow prospect Leo Bercier (7-1).
Michel Dos Prazeres – 10-0-0 - Brazilian – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 17-12, Last Fought: Mar ’12
Brazilian Middleweight Dos Prazeres has made a perfect start to his MMA career, winning all 10 fights. He made his debut 7 years ago back in 2005, and has fought sporadically recently – fighting just twice in the last 4 years. He recently signed with top Brazilian promotion Jungle Fight and won in 90 seconds. 6 of his 10 wins have gone the distance, with the other 4 coming by decision. In 2010 he got his best career win when he ended the unbeaten streak of Andre Lobato (5-0).
Josip Artukovic – 6-0-0 - Croatian – 26 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 2-1, Last Fought: Apr ’12
The only Croatian on the Middleweight list, Artukovic has impressively finished all 6 of his wins in the very first round. He specialises in jiu-jitsu, and has Submitted 5 of his 6 opponents, with the other victory coming by TKO. The downside is that his 6 opponents have had just 3 fights between them – so he has got his record by facing novices. He has fought throughout Europe, but he is due a much needed step up in competition. The 26 year old trains alongside top European fighter Maro Perak.
Kokichi Katahira – 4-0-0 - Japanese – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 3-8, Last Fought: Sep ’11 – DEEP Future King
The lone Japanese fighter on the Japanese list, Katahira is the winner of the 2011 DEEP Future King Tournament at 185 pounds. On his way to winning the 8-man 1-night tournament, Katahira finished all 3 fights via Submission, and all 3 in fact by kimura. In the final he beat Kazuki Nomoto (4-4). He props up the Middleweight list due to the poor level of competition he has faced.