In a year where the regional MMA scene really took a hit, there was one fighter who was able to stay active despite the world’s troubles. Usually, regional belt holders would fill our nomination ballot. However, this year most of them were only able to compete once or were called up to one of the larger promotions.
This year, that was not the case. Staying active played the biggest role in handing out our award. With the COVID pandemic putting a wrench in the plans of regional fighters around the world, only 3% of talent were able to stay active.
Unknown prospect watch:
Nick Diaz Academy
3-0 pro, 6-0 amateur
American Nationals for Gi/No-Gi at purple belt
Took 3rd at brown-belt worlds.
Multiple regional/state titles for jiu-jitsu
2x Submission underground champion pic.twitter.com/JprYyS7cPz
— Shawn Bitter (@mmawizzard) December 16, 2019
Nick Maximov was one of those fighters; fighting three times last year, including making his LFA debut and getting a Contender Series opportunity. The Diaz Academy prospect and jiu jitsu brown belt also competed for Submission Undergound four times on UFC Fight Pass.
To top it all off, if his first LFA booking didn’t fall through and his last SUG bout wasn’t canceled, it would have extended Maximov’s appearances last year to something unseen on the regional scene. When you think about it, there truly was no combat sports athlete more active in 2020 and no other regional fighter who rose their stock more in the calendar year than Maximov did.
2021 should be a big year for our Regional Fighter of the Year and he is without a doubt one to keep a close eye on. He was the first fighter invited to The Ultimate Fighter 29 by Dana White after his DWCS co-main event, and he went from under the radar to all eyes on him in 2020.
For all the reasons listed above and more, Nick Maximov is The Scrap’s second-ever Regional Fighter of the Year.
Honorable Mentions: Mo Miller, Anthony Romero and Mason Jones.