Denis Smoldarev – 5-0-0 – Estonian – 23 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 13-4, Last Fought: May ‘13
Judo & Sambo fighter Smoldarev rises 3 places from last year’s list to take the top spot this year. The young Estonian is a big heavyweight at 6’5” and 265 pounds and has previously drawn comparisons to Brock Lesnar due to his sheer size. He has fought 4 of his 5 career fights for the M1 organisation, where he has beaten experienced fighters such as Akhmed Sultanov (12-4) and Denis Komkin (13-7). Most recently he has entered the M1 8-man M1 heavyweight grand prix, where he destroyed Ibragim Ibragimov (4-1) in the first round, although he was forced to pull out after the 1st round due to injury.
Marcin Tybura – 9-0-0 – Polish – 28 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 21-9, Last Fought: Oct ‘13
Polish fighter Tybura trains out of the well respect Polish camp ‘United Gym’. The 28 year old has finished 7 of his 9 fights, with 4 submissions and 3 TKO’s. In his past 4 fights Tybura has seen a big step up in competition - his 2012 victory over Poland’s top ranked heavyweight Szymon Bajor (9-1) prompted a call from M1, and since signing he has stopped Konstantin Gluhov (26-12), Chaban Ka (6-1) and Denis Komkin (13-11) in the very first round to win their heavyweight grand prix title. He is a well-rounded fighter and is a purple belt in jiu-jitsu.
Steve Mocco – 4-0-0 – American – 31 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-8, Last Fought: Nov ‘13
American fighter Steve Mocco is probably the most well-known fighter on the heavyweight list – he was a 4 time All-American wrestler, a 2 time NCAA champion, and represented USA at the 2008 Olympics in freestyle wrestling, winning 2 fights but losing in the quarter finals. Nicknamed ‘The Bear’, he has decided to train at American Top Team, one of the top camps in America where he trains alongside heavyweights such as Antonio Silva, Jeff Monson and Brett Rogers. He has won each of his first 4 fights, winning 3 of the 4 by submission, and in August he impressively beat veteran Lew Polley (12-4).
Josh Copeland – 7-0-0 – American – 30 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 9-3, Last Fought: Dec ‘13
On paper, Copeland has one of the best records out of all the heavyweights this year – he has a perfect 7-0 record, with 5 of the 7 being first round stoppages (4 of which under 2 minutes), with 4 of these by submission and 1 by KO. He held a solid 4-1 amateur record before turning pro and trains at the reputable Grudge Training Centre Camp – an excellent camp for heavyweights – where he trains with the likes of Brendan Schaub, Shane Carwin & Paul Buentello. In his most recent fight he won the battle of unbeaten prospects, handing Jesse Hernandez (6-0) his first defeat to defend his SCL title. He also holds a win over the previously unbeaten Richard Foster (3-0).
Duke Didier – 4-0-0 – Australian – 24 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 1-1, Last Fought: Mar ‘13
Australian fighter Didier is a high level Judo black belt and former Australian champion. The 24 year old was close to making it to the 2012 London Olympics with Team Australia and most recently he finished 3rd in the 2013 Australian Judo Championships. ‘The Duke of Canberra’ has used this talent to help him submit all 4 opponents so far, including an omoplata submission in his most recent fight.
Viktor Pesta – 9-0-0 – Czech – 23 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 12-9, Last Fought: Dec ‘13
Young Czech fighter Viktor Pesta has made a great start to his young career, winning all 9 fights, including 7 finishes with a mix of submission and TKO wins. Since making his debut 3 years ago as a 20 year old he has dominated all his fights, with wins over Seza Lajic (13-20) and Lukas Tupa (4-1). In March last year he actually lost an extremely controversial decision, though the SMMAF rightfully overturned the decision to a Pesta victory. The 23 year old has never fought outside of Europe, fighting in countries such as Czech Republic, Sweden and Denmark.
Jan Jorgensen – 6-0-0 – American – 29 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 13-4, Last Fought: Sep ‘13
Jan Jorgensen is a former University football player for Brigham Young University, but he has transitioned to MMA well, going a perfect 6-0 with 5 finishes (4 via TKO). The heavy handed high-school wrestler trains at John Hackleman’s The Pit, which houses fighters such as Josh Burkman and Court McGee. Among his wins include a 104 second TKO of the previously unbeaten Tyson Collett (3-0) and a unanimous decision victory over Kip Ramos (4-1). His most recent fight in September ended in a no contest when Jorgensen suffered an eye poke and could not continue.
Fernando Rodrigues – 5-0-0 – Brazilian – 26 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 4-3, Last Fought: Oct ‘13
Nicknamed ‘Santo Forte’, Rodrigues is possibly the scariest looking fighter on the list – he is a shredded 250 pound heavyweight. He trains at Team Nogueira in Sao Paulo and has torn through all his opponents so far, winning all 5 fights by TKO inside 2 rounds. He is the Max Sport heavyweight champion, though he hasn’t fought very experienced opponents so far – his best win was over Luis Cadeu (2-0).
Hideki Sekine – 5-0-0 – Japanese – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 4-12, Last Fought: Jan ‘13
Japanese fighter Sekine is a grappling specialist and holds a purple belt in jiu-jitsu. The short powerhouse of a heavyweight fights for the Japanese DEEP promotion, and actually wore a wrestling mask in his most recent fight. Nicknamed ‘Shrek’ due to his muscular physique, he has finished 4 of his 5 fights, with 3 of these coming by submission, including a 2010 win over Seigo Mizuguchi (7-7). Sekine competed in the 2013 ADCC jiu-jitsu tournament at heavyweight, where he won his first match but lost in the quarter finals. He beat fellow prospect Marcin Tybura (ranked number 2) in a jiu-jitsu contest last year.
Stuart Austin– 7-0-0 – English – 24 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 3-2, Last Fought: Nov ‘13
One of two English heavyweights on this year’s list, Austin may finally be the star heavyweight MMA fighter that England has been waiting for. His martial arts credentials are one of the best on the heavyweight list – he is a judo black belt and a former member of Team GB as a junior (his brother actually competed in the 2012 London Olympics). The grappler has finished 6 of his 7 fights, with 4 TKO and 2 submissions wins. The downside is the strength of his opponents has been extremely poor – though he does hold a win over the previously undefeated Geraint Hill (2-0). He won his most recent fight in November via a 40 second knockout.
Jared Cannonier – 6-0-0 – American – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 12-9, Last Fought: Oct ‘13
American heavyweight Cannonier fights out of the Gracie Barra team in Alaska. He has quietly put together a fearsome record – 6 wins, all of which stoppages, including 4 in less than two minutes. He also had an unbeaten 2-0 amateur record with both victories 1st round TKO’s. The heavy handed Cannonier has fought an excellent level of opposition so far in his young career – he already owns stoppage wins over Stephen Waalkes (9-2), Joshua Ofiu (7-2) and Jason Coomes (7-6).
Jack May – 6-0-0 – American – 32 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 5-9, Last Fought: Oct ‘13
American heavyweight Jack May is the tallest fighter on the entire 2014 list at 6’8” and he competes in both MMA and K1, holding an unbeaten 6-0 MMA record and a solid 4-2 K1 record. May has fought twice a year since making his debut in 2011 and asides from a split decision victory last year he has destroyed each of his other opponents by TKO, winning each of them 5 fights in less than 2 minutes. His best win came in his most recent fight in October over Paul Karsky (11-21).
James Mulheron – 4-0-0 – English – 33 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 9-1, Last Fought: May ‘13
The second of two English fighters on the heavyweight list, Mulheron is unbeaten as both an amateur (4-0) and professional (4-0). He has also been the Made 4 The Cage Heavyweight Champion as both an amateur and professional. The 33 year old is a training partner of former UFC fighter Phil De Fries and he has finished 3 of his 4 fights by TKO. In 2013 he put himself on the map in the UK when he beat 2 heavyweight veterans – in May ended the 5 fight win streak of Darren Towler (9-6) and most recently in November he stopped the 8-2 streak of Martin Thompson (10-5).
Michel Wlodarek – 5-0-0 – Polish – 29 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 10-5, Last Fought: May ‘13
The second of three Polish fighters on this year’s heavyweight list, Wlodarek holds an extremely impressive win over current UFC fighter Daniel Omielanczuk, who was 4-2 at the time and since won 11 straight fights since the loss. However, since this victory Wlodarek has fought just once – a decision win in May last year to halt the 5 fight win streak of Jack Czajczyski (6-5). The Czajczynski fight was Wlodarek’s first in 2 years due to a serious injury. After finishing his first 3 fights he has won his last 2 by decision.
Ken Hasegawa – 7-0-1 – Japanese – 26 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 13-9, Last Fought: Oct ‘13
One of just two Asian heavyweights on this year’s list, Hasegawa is 26 years old and has been fighting professionally for 3 years. He is just 220 pounds and carries a bit of extra fat, so he could easily make light heavyweight if he wanted. He has been successful in this division so far however, winning 7 fights and drawing 1, including 4 wins in less than 2 minutes. He holds a pair of decision wins over the experienced Seigo Mizuguchi (7-8) & (11-13), and also holds a win over the previously unbeaten Peter Tornow (3-0). In his most recent fight in August he gained his most impressive win to date when he knocked out Hirohide Fujinuma (12-4).
Ewerton Teixeira – 3-0-0 –Brazilian – 31 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 2-3, Last Fought: Apr ‘13
Teixeira has the best stand up out of anyone on this list by a long way being a K1 veteran. Coming from a karate background, Teixeira is a 5 time All-American Kyokushin Karate champion. He also holds an impressive 11-4 K1 record, which includes wins over K1 stars such as Jerome Le Banner, Errol Zimmerman, Musashi & Kyotaro. He has had a steady start to his MMA career, winning all 3 fights, with 1 knockout and 2 decisions.
Salvador Sanchez – 8-0-0 – American – 32 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 9-4, Last Fought: Jul ‘13
With a perfect 8-0 record, Sanchez has the best record of any of the newcomers to the heavyweight list this year. Sanchez is a Mexican-American fighter, much like Cain Velasquez, and is a short stocky heavyweight at 5’10” and 250 pounds. The 32 year old has fought sporadically so far in his MMA career – he made his debut in 2002 and took a hiatus from the sport in 2008, but recently returned last year and won 3 fights in 2013, with all 3 coming in less than 2 minutes. The Steel Fist Heavyweight Champion is a powerful stand up fighter and has finished 7 of his 8 fights, with 6 of those coming by TKO.
Derrick Kaul – 3-0-0 – American – 28 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 4-10, Last Fought: Jan ‘13
Derrick Kaul has the impressive record of having finished every fight at both amateur and professional – he held a 4-0 amateur record (2 TKO’s & 2 Submissions) and is 3-0 since turning pro (1 TKO & 2 Submissions). The 28 year old is a good sized heavyweight at 6’3” and 240 pounds, and among his wins include the experienced Patrick Harman (9-11) and Matt Hirsch (5-8).
Dmitriy Sosnovskiy – 7-0-0 – Ukrainian – 24 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-11, Last Fought: Oct ‘13
The only fighter from Ukraine on the heavyweight list, Sosnovskiy has won each of his first 7 fights with ease. He finished 5 of his 7 fights (3 TKO's & 2 submissions), including 4 victories in under 2 minutes. He fights for the OC promotion, where he has fought a regular 7 times in 14 months and among his wins so far include Igor Kukurudziak (5-8) and Jerry Otto (2-3).
Chaz Morgan – 6-0-0 – American – 32 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 5-8, Last Fought: Apr ‘13
Another huge heavyweight fighter, Chaz Morgan is just 6’2” but is built like a tank and has previously weighed in at as much as 280 pounds. Nicknamed the ‘White Shadow’ he is the champion of 2 different promotions. He has won each of his first 6 fights with ease, finishing 5 of them in the very first round (4 of which in less than 2 minutes) with all 5 stoppages coming via TKO. His best win was over Sammy Smith (3-1) and he was also 2-0 as an amateur.
Justin Woods – 4-0-0 – American – 23 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-2, Last Fought: Nov ‘13
American fighter Justin Woods has been perfect throughout his whole MMA career, going 6-0 as an amateur and has started his professional career with 4 straight wins. Woods is an extremely short heavyweight at just 5’9”, in the same sort of mould as Mark Hunt. He has finished each of his 4 fights by 1st round TKO, winning his 4 fights in a combined 7 minutes. His wins include a 10 second knockout over fellow unbeaten heavyweight Rick Day (3-0).
Bartosz Rogacki – 5-0-0 – Polish – 29 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 5-1, Last Fought: Mar ‘13
Polish fighter Bartosz Rogacki is an experienced MMA fighter – he had an extensive amateur career before turning pro, finishing his amateur career with a mediocre 5-4 record. The 29 year old has upped his game as a pro however, posting a 5-0 record with 4 of the wins coming by TKO. He is however a small heavyweight and would probably be able to cut to 205 pounds without too much difficulty. He has not fought very experienced opponents so far, with his best win over Mateusz Kulinski (2-0).
Adrian Henderson – 4-0-0 – American – 34 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 3-5, Last Fought: Dec ‘13
34 year old Adrian Henderson is the 10th of 11 American fighters on this year’s heavyweight list. Henderson had a successful amateur career before turning pro, holding a solid 6-2 record and was the heavyweight champion of 3 different promotions. Since turning pro in May last year he has fought regularly, winning 4 fights in an 8 month period, with 3 of his 4 wins via submission or TKO. Sherdog strangely don’t have any record for any of his pro fights and list him as 0-0, but it is confirmed he is 4-0 as a pro.
John Johnston – 4-0-0 – American – 43 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 2-1, Last Fought: Oct ‘13
The oldest fighter on this year’s entire 230 man list is John Johnston at 43 years old. Although some may not consider a 43 year old a ‘prospect’, Johnston has gone a perfect 4-0 since making his debut in 2011, and has destroyed each of his opponents by TKO. He has a great stand up game and also holds an unbeaten 3-0 amateur muay thai record. His best win came in 2012 over Shane Durfee (2-0).
Vandam Mbuyi – 3-0-0 – South African – 40 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 8-6, Last Fought: Nov ‘13
South African heavyweight Vandam Mbuyi is the most inexperienced fighter on the heavyweight list this year at just 3-0. He is also a late starter to MMA, making his debut last year as a 40 year old. He comes from a judo background and fights for the South African EFCA promotion. He has looked solid in his 3 fights to date and he holds an excellent victory over Mohamed Karim (7-2).