Saturday, March 6, 2010

Euro Prospects vol. 2

It’s time for the second edition of Euro prospects. If you haven’t read the volume 1, check it out.
To this volume I've tried to gather a variety of fighters coming from different countries and backgrounds. Some have been fighting since the 90's when others have just started last year. Each have something special about them as a fighter and that is why they are on my volume 2. All of them are unsigned by major promotions.

LHW 205
Jörgen Kruth 3-0. Sweden.
Jorgen “the Last Viking” Kruth is probably a familiar name to most combat sport fans from his fights in the K1 circuit, but few know that he has made a transition to MMA now. The 36 year old Swedish kickboxer is a former muay thai world champion , who holds wins over K1 stars like Stefan Leko. Kruth was a bit undersized for K1 heavyweight class, but in MMA he’ll fight the light heavyweight division. Interesting fact about Kruth is that this kickboxer has also trained grappling since he was 10 years old. Obviously he’s a bit old already, but considering his background in various combat sports and the fact he has trained MMA already for years, I expect Kruth to make some noise in the LHW division. Very few 205ers want to stand and trade with this beast.
Jorgen Kruth goes MMA

Marcus Vänttinen 12-2. Finland.
22 year old representative of Alliance Porvoo is steadily moving towards bigger fights and promotions. Tall and long limbed Vänttinen has a very good ground game, thanks to his BJJ background, but lately he has been focusing on sharpening his striking skills. Besides MMA he has recently fought also muay thai and boxing bouts to test drive his improved stand up. In his last two fights Vänttinen has decisively beaten legit competition in Valdas Pocevicius (33-23) and Kzrysztof Kulak (22-12). A very promising young fighter, who needs a year or two to fine tune his physical attributes and skill set before challenging the top of the LHW division.
Vänttinen vs Pocevicius

Marcus Vänttinen of Finland has a bright future in MMA ahead of him.

Hans Stringer 14-4-1. Netherlands.
Dutch LHW fighter Hans Stringer is one of the most promising fighters in the Europe at the moment. Just 23 years old Stringer has been very active lately and he fought six times in 2009. After a rocky start his MMA career really took off and now he is 10-1 in his last eleven fights. In his latest fight he completely tooled tough veteran Michael Knaap (17-18-3) on the ground. Before that he TKO’ed german striker Dawid Baziak (6-1) in a minute. Like almost all dutch fighters Stringer has solid striking skills on the feet, but he has also very good grappling skills. As a fighter Stringer is very similar to Vänttinen and I'm amazed if both of them aren't soon signed by some major promotion.
Stringer vs Knaap (fight clips from the 6.45 mark forward)

MW 185
Arthur Guseinov 7-0. Russia.
If an up-n-coming fighter wins his last three fights by KO from a head kick, you have to include them on your prospect review, right? Well, that’s the case with Guseinov, who has devastating round house kicks and spinning back kicks in his arsenal. A member of the successful Russian Action-Force Fight Team (yeah the name is ridiculous, I know) Guseinov has more than just flashy kicks and fast hands. This aggressive Russian also has pretty good takedowns and a solid ground game. Based on the footage I’ve seen, I’d say that he is tiny for 185 and should definitely drop down to 170 for bigger fights. Until he faces some tougher competition, he is a mystery for sure, but I like the way he fights and the fact that he has a variety of weapons to choose from.
Guseinov vs Rolskiy  (headkick KO)
Guseinov vs Vasilev (KO)

Papy Abedi. 6-0. Sweden.
Meat truck Papy Abedi is one of the most hyped fighters in Sweden at the moment. Extremely strong and athletic Abedi is a judo black belt who hits you hard and often. Previously Abedi had some issues with his cardio, but lately he has done well in fights that lasted more than a couple of minutes. Abedi relies on his crushing GnP and powerful striking. Coming from the Hilti camp and having a background in judo Abedi certainly knows how to grapple, but he prefers to grind his opponents to minced meat with strikes. He has fought just six times during the last four years, so I’m not sure how devoted he is to MMA or if there’s been some injuries that have prevented him from fighting. Anyways I hope we get to see him matched up against some top euro 185er in order to see what he is really made of.
Papy vs Alan Carlos LQ vid
Papy Abedi usually pounds the piss out of his opponents on the ground. Photo by Simen Kjellin.

WW 170
Magomed Saadulaev. 7-0. Russia.
According to semi-official Sherdog records Saadulaev has competed in pro mma for just nine months. During this time he has managed to win seven fights with no losses. Based on the footage I’ve seen from his fights, Saadulaev is a well rounded fighter, but grappling is his bread and butter. Six of his seven wins have come by the way of submission. At 5’5” (166cm) he is way too small for the 170 weight class. In his last fight he tooled a legit welterweight Sergei Bal on the ground and armbarred him in couple of minutes. It would be interesting to see this rapidly improving fighter at LW against tougher competition
Saadulaev vs Bal

LW 155
Kenneth Rosfort. 13-3. Denmark.
To put it shortly: Rosfort is a beast. This Danish young man has been destroying people in his last fight with precise and powerful muay thai striking. His last lost is from 2007 when he got beat by Anthony Njokuani in Art of War, but since then he has gone undefeated in five bouts and is 10-1 in the last eleven. Like his fellow countryman Martin Kampmann, Rosfort also comes from a muay thai background. In September 2009 he completely murdered English TUF contestant Jeff Lawson, who came in to the fight riding a ten fight win streak. As a fighter Rosfort’s best quality is his mixture of technical, accurate striking and natural aggression. Rosfort has a great physique for a 155er and solid grappling that help him to stay on his feet.
Rosfort vs Lawson R1

Yan Cabral 8-0. Spain.
BJJ black belt world champ Yan Cabral is actually brazilian, but since he has been living in Barcelona for a while now, has a school there and fights in the Euro circuit, I’m going to include in this list of Euro prospect. Nova Uniao black belt Cabral obviously has ground skills that are not very often seen even in modern MMA. His striking is coming along, but at the moment it’s there mainly to set up takedowns. Cabral career at this point resembles very much of Demian Maia’s career. Both are BJJ wizards and both went undefeated in their ten or so first MMA bouts. We’ll see if Cabral is the new Demian Maia when he faces stiffer competition. He is certainly ready for it.
Cabral's MMA and grappling HL

Jarkko Latomäki. 16-6. Finland.
Jarkko “Pohjanmaa’s Forging Hammer” Latomäki is extremely physical fighter, who relies on brute strength, great grappling and relentless GnP in his fights. Latomäki is 5-1 in his last six and the only defeat was handed to him due to a leg injury. Latomäki has been working on his boxing lately and has also fought amateur boxing bouts. However in his last fight he once again displayed his awesome grappling skills as he made Oriol Gaset (9-3), a top euro LW, look like a child against him. Latomäki quickly pushed Gaset, who is primarily a grappler himself too, against the cage, took him down with ease and snatched his head to a fight ending guillotine choke. It was a great win for Latomäki who climbs up to the top 10 of the European lightweight division. Without a doubt Latomäki is a tough fight for any 155er in the Europe and after a another win or two, is ready for his shot at the UFC’s euro events.
Finnish ball of meat Jarkko Latomäki crushes his opponents with shattering grappling. Photo by

BW 135
David Aranda. 4-0. Spain.
Yan Cabral’s student David Aranda is on a fast track to the top of 135 division. Aranda has a background in kickboxing, where he has gotten his excellent striking skills. In his last fight he fought against former kickboxing world champion Mathias Klockars (5-0 then) and managed to drop the dangerous striker with a flurry of strikes before submitting him with a armbar. Very good performance once again by the athletic young man, who has already a great skill set for MMA. Besides striking skills Aranda excels on the ground too and has done well in BJJ and SW competitions.  I’m pretty confident that Aranda can take on any 135er in Europe and if he keeps improving at this rate, he is soon ready to be tested against the big boys in the US or Japan.
Aranda vs Paananen
David Aranda just won the Cage bantamweight belt in Finland and is ready to defend his belt against the top BW's in Europe. Photo by

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