July was an exciting month for Regional MMA. There were various promotions putting on quality cards with several prospects in the spotlight. I decided to scout the world, watch all the top prospects that competed last month, and came up with four fighters who are “Ready 4 The Call”.
Read about the four regional prospects who should be on a short list for big league call-ups…
Kaleb Rideout has been putting on exciting fights over in Australia the last few years. His biggest knock has been the level of competition he’s been beating. Prior to his last fight, he’s only fought one guy with a winning record. His combined record of his opponents before this last one was 6-8. His fight in August was against a solid prospect in Kevin Jousset for the vacant Eternal welterweight title. Rideout edged out a really exciting split decision moving his record to 7-2.
Rideout is a six-foot-two welterweight who has also fought at lightweight and is only 25-years-old. That would get any talent scout interested… He’s been fighting since he was 18, dating back to his amateur debut in 2016. Though he’s had a few setbacks, he’s won his last five fights.
If anything, Rideout is a guy you want to tune in to watch every time he fights. With his long frame, it’s always nice to see someone know how to use their length. Rideout has a strong, long jab and throws a lot of kicks. He’s got the knockout power in his hands and his kicks. He’s also explosive, as shown when he smells blood in the water. Rideout does a real good job at controlling the range and is tricky with what he’s going to throw being both diverse and awkward.
It would be nice to see the UFC sign someone from Australia, not just because they train with City Kickboxing. They should sign someone that beat a guy out of City Kickboxing, and that’s Rideout.
Geoge Hardwick is one-half of the talented Hardwick brothers. George, though, is the Cage Warriors lightweight champion. He won that vacant title in July, beating Contender Series veteran Kyle Driscoll. Since signing with Cage Warriors last year, he’s knocked off four wins and finished all his opponents.
No matter where the fight goes, Hardwick is going to be comfortable. He’s all about volume on the feet, and throwing slick combinations to the body and head. Surgical on the inside with his hands and elbows in the clinch, he will chop the legs at distance. Hardwick can wrestle as well… He can get takedowns on the legs and from the upper body. His jiu-jitsu is also slick; smoothly taking the back and locking in the body triangle right away. As a pro, he’s really good at finding the neck of his opponent.
Bellator had their run with Hardwick in 2020, going 2-0. They eventually let him go and sign to Cage Warriors. Since Bellator had their chance, the UFC should take an even harder look at Hardwick and sign him to their lightweight roster. He might not blow the doors off the division, but he’s gonna put on exciting fights. He’s someone only top-level guys could get past.
It could be possible Amil fights for the LFA title before signing with the UFC. But might as well strike while the iron is hot. Beating Chase Gibson (a Contender Series veteran) in July the way he did was impressive to watch. Amil was 4-0 before he signed with LFA, and three of those four fights were with Bellator.
Amil is known for his scrappy fighting style, always marching forward and letting his hands go. He usually goes through adversity in his fights… Though his defense isn’t great, his resilience and toughness are hard to match. Amil has that dog in him as some will say. He doesn’t have as much technique but pressure, cardio, power, and toughness has got him to the undefeated record he has today.
Like Hardwick, who I mentioned above, Bellator already had their shot with Amil. The UFC would be wise to bring on Amil. He’s marketable with his fighting style, his personality, and fighting spirit. Also, being aligned with Gilbert Melendez doesn’t hurt one bit.
Asu Almabaev is a former interim title-holder in 2019, beating former UFC fighter Chris Kelades. Almabaev has a background in freestyle wrestling, was a national champion in jiu-jitsu, and has a BJJ world cup. He’s on a current twelve-fight win streak, taking out solid competition. His last eight opponents had a combined of 72-18.
On the feet, Almabaev is quick… He has good, fast hands, and he throws a lot of volume with combinations. His takedown defense is his glaring weakness, but his good BJJ bails him out of bad positions. He’s mostly well-rounded and with proven cardio, he’s a solid fighter. He’s one of the best flyweight prospects out there.
Almabaev just beat Zach Makovsky, who is well-known and fought in the UFC from 2013 to 2016. A win over a guy like Makovsky should easily skyrocket him to the UFC’s flyweight division. 125 needs all the new blood it can get, and Almabaev is at the top of the list.