September was a phenomenal month for Regional MMA. There were various promotions putting on quality cards with several prospects in the spotlight. Katie Vega and Shawn Bitter decided to scout the world, watch all the top prospects that competed last month, and came up with eight fighters who are “Ready 4 The Call”.
Four prospects will be named by each writer; four fighters who they believe are ready to make it to the big show. For the purposes of this article, the UFC and Bellator will be the only promotions considered for fighters to sign to.
Katie Vega’s Choices
Ever since making his return to MMA after his sole UFC fight, Max Rohskopf has looked scarier than ever. There is a savagery that now comes with the “Rated R” one that makes him a scary opponent to be across the cage from. It’s almost Jon Moxley-ish; he really is just there for business. Max has looked nothing short of dominant and seems to have finally found his place in the sport.
UFC didn’t want him, so Bellator should scoop him up. He has future world champion written all over him and a solid gas tank. Couple that with his wrestling abilities and relentlessness and you have yourself a true prospect. Cage Warriors has been a new home for the former North Carolina State University wrestler, and he’s currently 2-0 in the yellow and black brand. The future is certainly bright for Rohskopf…
Marnic Mann is an absolute beast. It’s nice to see some 115ers early on in their career fighting for LFA. One of their newest savages is Mann, who put a beating on Contender Series alum and LFA go-to girl when in Colorado, Pauline Macias. Mann showcased that she can stand and bang, hang on the ground, and is a problem for the future of the division.
115 is the deepest division in the UFC, and there is no doubt that she belongs there. But LFA should keep building her if possible, before going on Contender Series sometime in the next two summers. With a 100% finish rate as a pro and only one fight in her entire career going to a decision, she’s one I’m sure Mick Maynard has a close eye on.
One fighter to steal the show early on in Cage Warriors’ return to California in October was Josh Wang-Kim. He was able to showcase just how well rounded he is, and that The Twin Dragons are indeed next up. Though only one half off the sibling duo competed, he surely proved enough for the both of them. They are must watch on the regional scene and the two will likely enter the same big league promotion when it’s time.
Josh is much closer than his brother, now boasting a 4-0 record. And though he’s only four fights in, he went 15-1 as an amateur, with his only loss coming to UFC’s Jesse Strader. After the performance he had recently, there’s no doubt Cage Warriors is going to continue building him. But with a few more wins under his belt, a Contender Series opportunity will surely be knocking. UFC should definitely be keeping a close radar on Josh.
Yanal Ashmoz had a potential Regional Fight of the Year in his Cage Fury Fighting Championship debut. With UFC wanting to break into Israel with Natan Levy, Yanal has got to be on their radar. The only issue is that he’s 6-0 in one of the deepest divisions, the lightweight division. Because of this, Bellator should capitalize and build Yanal, ASAP.
“Red Fox” has a 100% finish record, and his opponents combined record its 17-3. So he only faces game opponents and no one with a losing record. Yanal is a no-brainer signing for any promotion, but Scott Coker should be sliding in those DM’s if he’s committed to building more “homegrown” talent in world champions.
Shawn Bitter’s Choices
For the sixth time, Mateusz Rebecki retained his FEN lightweight title. A title he’s had since early 2018. His opponent this time was Felipe Maia. It only took Rebecki 15-seconds to storm across the cage, connect and get the quick finish. It’s nothing new either since Rebecki has finished his last nine opponents. His opponent’s combined record was 145-50 beating guys like Kaik Brito, Daguir Imavov, Marian Ziolkowski, and many more.
Rebecki is best known for his jiu-jitsu before developing into a top prospect. Among his accomplishments, winning the Polish ADCC gold medal stand out. He is actually a two-time ADCC gold medalist in fact. In other BJJ competitions, he’s taken home a slew of bronze medals as well. Outside of his gold medals, he’s of course a BJJ black belt. Rebecki is a bit one-dimensional being solely a grappler but in that area, he’s just so dangerous and that’s on top or bottom. As shown in his last fight, he’s fully capable of finishing it on the feet.
Rebecki is already scheduled to fight again on November 27th against Arkadiy Osipyan for FEN 37. It’s crazy that he is still fighting regionally and not in a big promotion. Rebecki is a no-brainer for the UFC. Among all weightclasses and prospects, he is one of the most deserving guys for a big opportunity.
Levi Mowles is one of the most deserving bantamweights with his strength of schedule and his resume. His win over Johnny Campbell made is his sixth consecutive victory. Mowles has fought quality opponents his entire career. He’s only lost to Tony Kelley, Damon Jackson, Miles Johns, and Raufeon Stots who are UFC and Bellator fighters. On the other side of the spectrum, he’s beat Jimmy Flick, Adrian Yanez, Jose Johnson, Ahmet Kayretli, Teruto Ishihara, and James Gonzalez.
On the feet, Mowles isn’t the best, but as soon as the fight hits the mat, he’s a very slick grappler. Mowles has seven submissions and along with his ground control and transitions, he’s a top-notch grappler. He’s currently 16-4 and still only 26-years old. Mowles would be a good fit for Bellator. Bellator has been building their bantamweight division and to just leave Mowles on the regional scene would be absurd.
Vinicius de Oliveira is a prospect out of Brazil riding a lot of momentum fresh off his first UAE Warriors bantamweight title defense. Oliveira beat notable prospect Sylvester Chipfumbu who was the EFC champion out of South Africa. All the eyes and hype was behind Chipfumbu due to his story. In what was exciting as it lasted, Oliveira submitted Chipfumbu in round one. Now his win streak is up to six.
Vinicius de Oliveira
Vinicius de Oliveira is a top prospect in Brazil that holds an impressive seventeen wins and only two defeats. He is a black belt in Muay Thai and a purple belt in jiu-jitsu. Oliveira is an absolute wild man when he’s in the cage. He reminds you of a lesser version of fellow Brazilian and UFC fighter Michal Pereira. Oliveira is an all-action freestyle-type athlete who will always put on a show.
Any big promotion would like to have him but the UFC is what he wants. With that said, UFC should be all over him. There’re plans on moving up to 145 and fighting former UFC fighter Ali AlQaisi for his UAE featherweight title. As it would build his resume, Oliveria has done more than enough to warrant an immediate contract.
KSW’s Shamil Musaev went to a draw in his fight back in August. But it was still impressive. It went to a draw since a point was taken from Musaev for grabbing the cage. He still should’ve won the fight which was an odd decision in the end. This was his second fight since moving up to welterweight. Although he has looked solid at lightweight too, which is where he fits in the most.
Russia’s Musaev is a good wrestler with very sound ground and pound. He has a background in Sanshou which explains some of his spinning attacks. Musaev is a dynamic fighter throwing with flash, but his setups and speed are impressive. He’s an excellent kickboxer and overall well-rounded. Beating the competition he has recently credited his abilities.
Both Bellator and the UFC would be good fits for Musaev. In KSW a fight with Mateusz Gamrot was scheduled between the two in 2020. A knee injury to Museev canceled the fight and now Gamrot is thriving in the UFC. UFC has done a good job signing KSW fighters such Gamrot, Jan Blachowicz, Dricis Du Plessis, Ariane Lipski, and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. The UFC should do the same with Musaev.
What do you think of Shawn & Katie’s selections? Let us know in the comments below.