MMA Sun 2014 Prospect Spotlight: The Middleweights Recap

We have seen some interesting trends as we have moved up in weight classes in our prospect spotlight.  One of the things that we noticed is that the average of age of the prospects on our lists seems to increase each time we move up in weight class.  This isn’t really a surprise, but we do see it as problematic.  On the UFC roster the same issue exists.  There really aren’t many sub-30 fights in the UFC light heavyweight or heavyweight divisions.  There really aren’t a ton on the horizon.  There are a few really young prospects like Sean Stickland, but most of our middleweight prospects hovered around the 25 or 26 mark.  Don’t misunderstand.  That is still pre-prime.  That is still an age that they can do very well.

With the middleweight prospects we also had some late changes.  We planned on having Marcio Alexandre on our top-10, but then we realize he dropped to welterweight.  On the same hand, we know that Chris Honeycutt is planning to drop to welterweight and we left him on our middleweight list.   There are always guys that really stand out after watching video.  For me, a few middleweight on this list stood out.  One was Sean Stickland.  His combination of age, experience and talent make him a great prospect.  Also, Scott Askham stood out.  He is very well rounded.  Maybe a better version of Luke Barnatt.  Ramazan Emeev stood out as well.  He is another guy that really could go down a weight class, and we feel he could be a real force.

I struggled with ranking the top-ten middleweight prospects.  To be honest, after I made the list and published the first few, I felt that I could have put in 2 or 3 other guys.  In other words, there are some great prospects I did not include and you could make a vlaid argument for them being in our top 10.   The ones that really stood out among the rest were…

1. Leandro Ataides – He is 6-0.  One reason I left him out was because he is with OneFC.  I have typically left off OneFC guys, or guys under exclusive deals with OneFC.  I am not sure about his contract status, but I do think Ataides is top 10 prospect level.  He is the guy that really got left off by me keeping Honeycutt among the middleweights.

2.  Wendres Godzilla – His record is only 10-5, which really hurt him in our evaluation.  However, I really think that with the right training and in the right frame of mind Wendres could be a very, very good fighter.  He has an upcoming bout against tough Kleber Orgulho.  A win there would be HUGE for Wendres.  To be honest, we were disappointed that he was not on the cast of TUF Brazil 3.  We think that would have been a great opportunity for him in so many ways.

3. Vagab Vagabov – a 9-0 Russian who we heavily considered on this list.  He has great size at middleweight.  We think a few more wins could get him in the UFC.  In fact, he may get into UFC before some on our top 10 list.

Also note: A few guys did not make our list that might have if it were not for the Ultimate Fighter.  Elias Theodorou may have been in the top 3 were he not on TUF Nations.  Also it is possible that we would have seen Mike King and Ed Gordon within the top 10.  Instead, we will see them on TUF 19.

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