16 in ’16: Some Observations

This week, I finished the 16 in ’16 list of all the men’s MMA divisions (yes, the female divisions are coming).  I decided to breakdown some of the totals.  All in all we highlighted 128 different fighters, most of whom should already be on the UFC or Bellator’s radar.  It will be interesting to see who pans out and who does not.

Total By Country:

  1. Russia – 38 (29.6%)
  2. USA – 28 (21.9%)
  3. Brazil – 12 (9.4%)
  4. Germany – 5
  5. UK – 5
  6. Poland – 4
  7. Japan – 4
  8. Canada – 4
  9. Australia – 3
  10. Sweden – 2
  11. France – 2
  12. Wales – 2
  13. Moldova – 2
  14. Serbia – 2
  15. Ukraine – 2
  16. South Korea – 2

(The following countries had one prospect: South Africa, Scotland, Ireland, Iran, Estonia, Armenia, Netherlands, Czech Republic, Denmark, Slovakia, Kazakhstan)

Further Observations:

  • Russia and USA are the two best places to find elite prospects in the sport
  • Brazil has fallen a good ways behind USA in terms of prospects, but are still solidly the third most prospect rich country
  • Germany and Poland are countries on the rise in terms of prospects
  • Another country which surprisingly has a good deal of talent is France
  • Canada may be the country that has taken the biggest slide, but there are a host of Canadian prospects who were in consideration.  Perhaps by this time next year T.J. Laramie, Jesse Arnett, Austin Ryan, Xavier Alaoui, Miles Anstead, Alexi Argyriou, Mandel Nallo or Aiemann Zahabi.
  • The heavier weight classes are Eastern European heavy
  • 3 of the prospects listed have signed with the UFC since our publication (Ricardo Ramos, Paul Craig and Jack Marshman)
  • 4 of the prospects have lost fights since our publication (Boston Salmon, Albert Tadevosyan, Maxim Divnich and Ray Elizadale).  Although, Boston Salmon’s loss should be marked with an asterisks because that was one of the worst decisions I have ever witnessed.
  • When we add the two female divisions, I expect USA to close the gap with the Russians in terms of total prospects.  I also expect the Brazilians to take a big leap forward in total.
  • There is certainly less volume of talent above the welterweight weight class.  However, I would stack the quality of my middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight prospects against any other weight class
  • For some reason featherweights, bantamweights and flyweights have a tough time getting signed to the UFC
  • There are probably 15 of the 128 prospects that I feel have championship level potential, most have UFC level skills already.
  • There are a lot more fighters with complete mixed martial arts backgrounds as opposed to coming over to the sport of MMA with one discipline
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