Sean Strickland – 13-0-0 - American – 22 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 38-11, Last Fought: Aug ‘13
22 year old Sean Strickland is the KOTC middleweight Champion and retains his number 1 ranking at middleweight from last year. Strickland has owned the KOTC middleweight for nearly 3 years and has beaten some of the best regional fighters out there – if it were not for KOTC’s long-term contracts he would almost certainly be signed to one of the big promotions. Among his impressive victories include Josh Bryant (14-1), Yusuke Sakashita (9-3), Brandon Hunt (8-2), Bill Albrecht (22-14), Matt Lagler (8-6), Donavin Hawkey (5-1) and Brett Sbardella (4-1). The 22 year old is an extremely well rounded fighter - he is a jiu-jitsu purple belt, and he has finished 10 of his 13 fights, with 7 victories by TKO and 3 by submission.
Ricardo Abreu - 4-0-0 - Brazilian – 29 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 1-0, Last Fought: Jul ‘13
The highest new entry on this year’s middleweight list is Ricardo Abreu - arguably the best jiu-jitsu fighter on the list. He was the European champion in 2010 and has twice finished 2nd in the World Championship’s. On top of this, he owns 2 wins over Andre Galvao whilst at brown belt. Now a black belt, Abreu has trained at a variety of camps including Team Blackhouse and Team Punishment; but currently he has settled at Wand Fight Team – Wanderlei Silva’s gym. So far in his young MMA career ‘Demente’ has won his 4 fights in a combined 2 minutes 48 seconds – an average fight time of just 42 seconds. Surprisingly 3 of his 4 wins have come via TKO. The down side to this however is his 4 opponents have just 1 prior fight between them.
Chris Honeycutt - 4-0-0 - American – 25 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-2, Last Fought: Jan ‘14
Chris Honeycutt is the best wrestler on the middleweight list by far – he is a 2X All-American wrestler, finishing 5th in the 184 pound division in 2011 and runner-up in the 197 pound division in 2012. Overall in his university wrestling career for Edinboro he went 90 wins for 20 losses, and in high school he went a perfect 30-0. A lifelong MMA fan, Honeycutt turned to the sport he loves last January and has since won all 4 fights, finishing 3 of them in the very first round. His highlight so far came in July when he won a 5 round unanimous decision over Manny Murillo (5-1) to win the UPC Unlimited middleweight title.
Scott Askham – 11-0-0 - English – 25 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 20-16, Last Fought: Sep ‘13
25 year old Englishman Scott Askham has one of the best records on the middleweight list with 8 finishes in his 11 wins, with 7 of these coming in the very first round. Among his wins include 4, 24, 35 and 35 second TKO victories. Askham has fought for a variety of top European promotions including Cage Warriors and BAMMA. He is the UCFC middleweight Champion and stepped up in competition in 2013 to pick up a couple of excellent wins over Jack Marshman (12-2) and Denniston Sutherland (18-8). In his most recent fight in September he won the BAMMA middleweight title with a decision victory over Jorge Bezerra (18-9).
Jake Mapes – 7-0-0 - American – 34 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 5-4, Last Fought: May ‘13
One of the older fighters on the list at 34 years old, Mapes is a jiu-jitsu black belt under Luis Heredia – one of Rickson Gracie’s original black belts. Surprisingly he won his first 3 fights due to punches, but has since submitted his most recent 3 opponents in the very first round. The jiu-jitsu master has won bronze in both the Pan American games and World Championships and he’s also an American National Champion. He received his black belt in 2009 and is a jiu-jitsu instructor at The Arena (where he also trains) – the camp home to UFC fighter KJ Noons. Mapes is a big middleweight who has also fought at light heavyweight (and heavyweight for jiu-jitsu contests), and last year he was featured on the Sherdog.com series ‘prospect watch’.
Ben Reiter – 12-0-1 - American – 26 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 38-17, Last Fought: Nov ‘13
Ranked the number 2 middleweight prospect last year, Reiter has continued his success in 2013. The American fighter wrestled for Pennsylvania at university but moved to Peru a few years ago to volunteer for a charity, helping out children in poor villages. Nicknamed ‘The Hunter’, he has fought his entire career in Peru for the Inka promotion and is their middleweight Champion. His accomplishments include winning the 4-man one-night light heavyweight tournament in August of 2011 when he was just 1-0. During the tournament he TKO’d Fernando Dauny (11-4) in the semi-finals, and ended the 7-fight winning streak of Fernando Di Pierro (9-1) in the final. The 25 year old has finished 8 of his 11 wins, with 5 wins coming via TKO and 3 via submission. He has a 2013 draw with Strikeforce veteran Marcos De Lima (11-2) and in his most recent fight in November he gained the best win of his career to date when he beat UFC veteran Amilcar Alves (14-4).
Leandro Ataides - 6-0-0 - Brazilian – 27 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 6-7, Last Fought: Nov ‘13
The second of 5 Brazilian fighters on this year’s middleweight list, Leandro Ataides trains out of one of the top camps in Brazil at Nova Uniao – home to MMA champions such as Jose Aldo, Renan Barao, & Eduardo Dantas. He is a big middleweight and actually fought the first 3 fights of his career at light heavyweight. After starting his career with a decision victory he has since finished every fight with 3 TKO’s and 2 submissions. He is an extremely well rounded fighter – he is a black belt in jiu-jitsu and has big power in his hands. Late last year he signed for top Asian promotion One FC and he knocked out Bryan Rafiq (8-2) in his debut for them.
Mauri Roque - 5-0-0 - Brazilian – 32 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-1, Last Fought: Dec ‘13
Brazilian middleweight Mauri Roque is the tallest fighter on this year’s middleweight list at a staggering 6’5”. He is also one of the most well rounded fighters on this list – he has amateur Muay Thai experience and is also a high level jiu-jitsu player holding a brown belt. He has started his MMA like a steam train, rolling through his first 5 opponents all by TKO, including 4 wins in the very first round. Last year he needed just 84 seconds to stop the 4 fight win streak of Alison Vicente (11-9) and just 61 seconds to knock out the previously unbeaten Daniel Pereira (3-0).
Roger Narvaez – 6-0-0 - American – 30 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 14-6, Last Fought: Sep ‘13
Roger Narvaez is a fire fighter by day and MMA fighter by night, and is an extremely well rounded fighter – he has solid stand up and is a brown belt in jiu-jitsu. He is a big middleweight and actually fought his first couple of fights at light heavyweight. As an amateur ‘the Silverback’ went 4-0 with 4 first round finishes and in his pro career he has gone a perfect 6-0 with 5 finishes, including 4 in the very first round. In his most recent fight he halted the 6 fight win streak of Hayward Charles (9-4) and he also holds a win over Andrew Garza (4-1).
Toni Markulev - 5-0-0 - Austrian – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 8-3, Last Fought: Dec ‘13
The only fighter from Austria out of all 230 fighters this year, Markulev is the 2012 world champion in Sanda, a Chinese martial art similar to kickboxing – the same martial art Cung Le is famous for. He has dominated each of his opponents so far, finishing all 5 fights (3 of which in less than 3 minutes), with all the wins coming via TKO. Among his wins include Georgi Petkov (5-3) and Andrzej Koleniak (2-0).
Mike King – 5-0-0 - American – 30 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 5-3, Last Fought: Jan ‘13
A big middleweight at 6’3”, Mike King has recently dropped down to 185 pounds from light heavyweight and has had great results. As an amateur King held a solid 5-1 record and was the NAAFS light heavyweight champion. A wrestling specialist, King has finished all 5 fights since turning since turning professional (3 TKO’s & 2 submissions), with no fighter making it past round 2. His best win came in 2012 when he submitted Bruno Silva (5-9).
Pawel Zelazowski - 6-0-0 - Polish – 23 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 12-5, Last Fought: Oct ‘13
Middleweight fighter Pawel Zelazowski is one of Poland’s top prospects and in his first 6 fights he has made it look easy, finishing every single fight (4 submissions & 2 TKO’s), with 5 of these coming in the very first round. In his most recent fight in October he got the best win of his career when he handed Salim Touahri (5-0), one of Poland’s top prospects, his first defeat by TKO in just 28 seconds to win the PLMMA middleweight title.
Brent Knopp – 5-0-0 - American – 35 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-3, Last Fought: Dec ‘13
At 35 years old Brent Knopp is the oldest fighters on this year’s middleweight list, though he has had an extensive amateur career and is a champion at both professional and amateur level. His 5 year amateur career went from 2006-2011 where he went an incredible 24-2, becoming the champion of 6 different promotions. Since turning pro in 2012 ‘Mankill’ has stopped all 5 of his opponents by TKO, including beating Dario Mobley (2-0) in the first round in February last year to become the Cagesport middleweight champion. In his most recent fight he stopped Strikeforce Veteran Corey Devila (12-5) by 4th round TKO to defend his title. He trains out of a top camp at AMC Pankration where his training partners include UFC fighters Demetrious Johnson, Tim Boetsch & Matt Brown.
Chris Douglas – 5-0-0 - English – 28 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 3-5, Last Fought: May ‘13
The second and final Englishman on this year’s middleweight list, Chris Douglas is a talented grappler and has won gold in several no-gi tournaments around the UK. He has an intimidating record at 5-0 with 5 stoppages, and on top of this he has finished 4 of these 5 wins in the very first round. He has fought for a variety of regional promotions and in his most recent fight he needed just 3 minutes to submit the experienced Loic Marty (13-15).
Mattia Schiavolin – 7-0-2 - Italian – 29 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-3, Last Fought: Nov ‘13
One of two Italian fighters on this year’s Middleweight list, Schiavolin has a nasty stand up game. The 28 year old does have 2 draws among his record, but he has destroyed his other 7 opponents, finishing each of them before the distance, winning 5 by TKO and two by submission. He took a big step up in competition in his most recent fight but passed with flying colours, submitting Josip Artukovic (7-2) via heel hook in less than 3 minutes.
Luke Wild – 4-0-0 - American – 21 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 13-6, Last Fought: Apr ‘13
Considering his age, experience and the fact he is just 4 fights into his MMA career, Wild has fought extremely solid opposition. His 4 wins are over Thomas Ide (15-6), Thomas McMichael (6-3), Hipa Fouvale (6-5) and Josh Luther (2-4). On top of this ‘The Wolf’ is the AK Entertainment champion and has finished 2 of his fights by 1st round TKO. However he has fought at as low as 180 pounds, so a drop to welterweight seems possible.
Sergey Kovalev – 6-0-0 - Russian – 27 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 3-2, Last Fought: Apr ‘13
Not to be confused with the boxing champion of the same name, Sergey Kovalev is a mixed martial artist with a perfect 6-0 record. After performing well in his first 5 fights he signed for the M1 organisation last year, and in his debut for the promotion he needed less than 3 minutes to submit Gregory Babene (15-10). The 27 year old trains out of Action Force Fight Team in Russia and has yet to go to the judges’ scorecards, finishing all 6 fights with 4 of his wins by TKO and 2 by submission.
Maciej Rozanski - 4-0-0 - Polish – 24 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-6, Last Fought: May ‘13
Polish fighter Maciej Rozanski has fought very sporadically during his MMA career so far, fighting just 4 times since making his debut in 2008. He trains out of Berserkers Team, the best camp in Poland which houses fighters such as Michael Materla, Karol Bedorf and Maciej Jewtuszko. Rozanski last fought in May last year and was scheduled to fight again in October but the entire event got cancelled. The 24 year old grappler holds a victory over Kristian Lexell (7-3) and has finished all 4 of his fights inside the distance (3 submissions & 1 TKO).
Gabriel Checco - 6-0-0 - Brazilian – 27 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 2-2, Last Fought: Oct ‘13
Nicknamed ‘Zangief’, Brazilian fighter Gabriel Checco trains out of the famous Chute Boxe camp in Brazil. Although he is primarily a stand up fighter, he also owns a purple belt in jiu-jitsu so is very well rounded. He has fought regularly since making his debut late in 2012, fighting 6 times in 14 months. He has won all 6 of his fights with ease and is yet to go to the judges’ scorecards, winning 4 fights by TKO and 2 by submission.
Marcus Andersson – 4-0-0 - American – 25 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 5-1, Last Fought: Mar ‘13
The lone fighter from Sweden on the middleweight list, Andersson has a wrestling & submission style which he has used to defeat each of his opponents. The 25 year old has opened his MMA career with 4 straight first round submissions with 2 armbars and 2 rear naked chokes. He trains out of the Orebro MMA Centre and among his wins include Dimitry Anghelou (4-2).
Mike Anstead – 4-0-0 - Canadian – 25 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 1-5, Last Fought: May ‘13
The first of three Canadian fighters on the middleweight list, Anstead is very well rounded and has won gold at grappling tournaments at blue and purple belt. He trains out of the Zugec MMA camp - the same camp as UFC fighter Sarah Kaufman, and held a 3-1 amateur record before turning pro. As a professional the 25 year old has finished 3 of his 4 fights, including a win over Bill Fraser (3-6). He has previously fought at a 180 pound catch weight fight, so a drop to welterweight seems possible.
K.B. Bhullar – 4-0-0 - Canadian – 22 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 5-8, Last Fought: Jul ‘13
Canadian fighter Bhullar trains out of Hayabusa Training Centre - the same camp as UFC veterans Mitch Clarke & Nick Penner. He is one of the youngest fighters on the middleweight list at 22 years old and has been fighting professionally since early 2012. Bullar fights for the Canadian AFC promotion and won his first 3 fights by 1st round TKO, going to a decision for the first time in his most recent fight when he beat Derek Parker (3-1).
Strahinja Gavrilovic – 4-0-0 - Canadian – 26 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 6-2, Last Fought: May ‘13
The third and final Canadian on this year’s middleweight list, Gavrilovic is a big middleweight having recently dropped down from light heavyweight. He fights for the Canadian promotion Instinct MMA where he has finished 3 of his 4 fights – 2 by TKO and the other by submission. Fighting out of Quebec, the 26 year old got his best career win in his debut, when he won a close decision over Evan Nedd (3-1).
Yaroslav Amosov - 5-0-0 - Ukrainian – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 5-1, Last Fought: Dec ‘13
The only fighter from Ukraine on this year’s middleweight list, Yaroslav Amosov has put together a solid 5-0 record on the regional circuits in Eastern Europe. He made his debut mid way through 2012 and fought 4 times last year. He is yet to go to the judges’ scorecards finishing all of his fighters with a mix of TKO and submission victories. In August last year he halted the 5 fight win streak of Vadim Handulitsky (5-2).
Jakub Stejskal - 6-0-0 - Czech – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 6-4, Last Fought: Oct ‘13
Czech fighter Jakub Stejskal rises 5 places from last year’s 30th ranking to take the number 25 spot this year. He is a former light heavyweight who made the drop to middleweight late in 2012 in a 1st round TKO win. He has fought almost exclusively in his home country for the GCF promotion and has finished all 6 of his fights, with 5 victories via submission and the other due to punches. In his most recent fight in October he gained an excellent heel hook submission win to stop the 5-1 streak of Miroslav Vacek (5-4).
Gheorghe Gritko – 4-0-0 - Moldovan – 22 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 7-1, Last Fought: Jun ‘13
One of just two fighters from Moldova out of all 230 fighters on this year’s list, Gritko has already fought in numerous different countries in his young career including Slovenia, Austria and Italy. After starting his MMA career with a submission win Gritko has since won 3 straight by decision. He stepped up in competition in his most recent fight, and got an excellent win over Primoz Vrbinc (6-2).
David Bear – 4-0-0 - French – 23 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 8-5, Last Fought: Jul ‘13
22 year old Frenchman David Bear has accomplished a lot since making his debut late in 2012 and is already the middleweight champion of top French promotion 100% Fight, a title he won by beating Dave Gallon (3-1). He has finished 2 of his 4 fights, finishing one by strikes and the other by submission. An addition to the Gallon victory, he also holds wins over Ben Nussle (3-8) and Jean Bagal (2-4).
Alessio Di Chirico - 5-0-0 - Italian – 23 Years Old - Opponent W/L: 3-2, Last Fought: Oct ‘13
The second fighter from Italy on this middleweight list, Alessio Di Chirico has fought 5 times since making his debut in 2011, winning all of them. In addition to this, he has never even been to the judges’ scorecards, finishing each fight in the very 1st round with 3 submission wins and 2 TKO’s. After fighting debutants in his first 4 fights he stepped up in competition in October and TKO’d Cristian Magro (5-2). He is a small middleweight so a drop to welterweight is possible in the future.
Plamen Penchev - 4-0-0 - Bulgarian – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 2-5, Last Fought: Dec ‘13
The only fighter from Bulgaria out of all 230 fighters this year, Plamen Penchev has one of the best records to look at on this list – he is 4-0 with 4 TKO wins with all his victories coming inside 2 minutes, with an average fight time of just 73 seconds. He has fought exclusively for the Bulgarian MAXFIGHT promotion and his best win is over Ernesto Navas (4-13).
Wallison Pereira - 4-0-0 - Brazilian – ?? Years Old - Opponent W/L: 0-1, Last Fought: Sep ‘13
Wallison Pereira trains under jiu-jitsu black belt Ricardo Feitosa and has managed to put together a solid 4-0 record with 4 finishes. He has fought his entire career for regional Brazilian promotion CEF, fighting twice in each of 2012 and 2013. The down side to his record is that his wins are over very inexperienced opponents - 3 debutants, and a 0-1 fighter.