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Tag: MMA prospects

EFC Africa Heavyweight Champion Ruan Potts Signs With the UFC, So Here’s Some Videos of Him in Action

(Potts’ professional debut against Calven Robinson at EFC 7 via EFC Africa’s Youtube page.)

Cain Velasquez may have ruined the heavyweight division at UFC 166, but it looks like the world’s premier MMA organization is going to move forward with this whole “signing heavyweight prospects” thing regardless.

News broke yesterday that the UFC had signed EFC heavyweight champion Ruan Potts to a six fight deal, marking the first EFC prospect to be picked up by the UFC in the South African promotion’s brief history. Currently 8-1 in professional competition, Potts is a two-time EFC Heavyweight champion who has balanced 4 TKOs against 4 submissions and most recently scored a trilogy-securing victory over rival Andrew van Zyl at EFC 26 via first round armbar. Despite possessing a goddamn awful nickname in “Fangzz”, Potts should hopefully shake up the UFC’s heavyweight division in these post-Barry times (*cries*).

There isn’t much footage of Potts’ recent fights available, but we did manage to find a few videos of him in action from earlier in his career, so join us after the jump to see what this kid can do.


Rumor of the Day: Mamed Khalidov Has Signed With Strikeforce

(If that kick had been thrown in the UFC, there’s a 99% chance it would have knocked Santiago out.) 

According to Swedish news source mmanytt, Polish middleweight phenom Mamed Khalidov has supposedly reached an agreement with Strikeforce and will make his debut in early 2013. Khalidov, whom you may recall was offered a contract with the UFC a few months ago that was plain laughable, has won his last five fights by way of stoppage, with all of those wins coming within the first three minutes of action. It appears that his desire to get, get, get, get get, get that paper has actually paid off, as he has not only been offered a much higher payrate per fight with Strikeforce, but will also be free of the contract exclusivity that UFC fighters face. As long as he does not become champion, that is.

A skilled submission fighter with equally as deadly striking, we have sang the praises of Khalidov for some time now here at CP, and it’s good to see that he may finally be getting the chance to show off his skills to a wider audience. Let’s hope he doesn’t blow it (we’re looking at you, Mr. Lombard.)

We will have more on this possible signing as it develops.

After the jump: A trio of fight videos that sees Khalidov wipe the floor with UFC veterans James Irvin, Rodney Wallace, and Jesse Taylor.


Rumor of the Day: Gunnar Nelson Headed to the UFC

(Nelson becomes the first man ever to successfully narfle the Garthok at the 2009 ADCC Absolute trials.) 

Crank up the Bjork and start cubing up the Hakarl, because it appears that Icelandic BJJ phenom and undefeated prospect Gunnar Nelson is headed to the UFC.

The 23 year-old welterweight is undoubtedly one of the hottest prospects outside of the UFC, collecting a perfect 9-0-1 record with just one of those wins making it outside of the first round. Nelson has not been to the scorecards since his debut fight — a draw against John Oleson — and has collected six of his nine stoppage wins by way of submission. FightersOnly were the first to break the news, stating that several close sources had already confirmed this report, though an official announcement from inside Nelson’s camp has yet to be made. There have been several rumors claiming that Nelson was headed to the UFC over the past few years, but this time it seems to be happening for serial.

After acquiring his BJJ black belt in just four years, Nelson first burst onto the MMA scene back in 2007, and gained incredible notoriety in 2009 when he defeated the much larger, multiple-time ADCC medalist and UFC veteran Jeff Monson in the first round of the 2009 ADCC Absolute trials. Nelson most recently scored a first round submission via armbar over Alexander Butenko back in February, his fourth straight to come by way of first round submission.

We know some of you Taters have been clamoring about Nelson for what feels like ages now, so it’s good to know that we might finally be able to see just what this kid is capable of in the near future. As will be the case with Hector Lombard and our buddy Ryan Jimmo, 2012 is looking like it could be a make or break year for prospects outside the UFC.

Lucky for you, CagePotato and Youtube have combined their powers to compile an extensive look at Nelson’s background, which awaits you below.


Proving Ground: The Journey to Find MMA’s Next Killer Prospect Begins Now

Proving Ground MMA logo

Ladies and gentleman, the cage doors are now open.

In partnership with Shark Fights and Lionsgate, CagePotato is proud to announce the official launch of Proving Ground. More than just a contest, Proving Ground is a six-week quest to find a rising MMA star and follow his life and training as he approaches what could be a career-changing fight.

If you visit, you’ll find our first batch of eight applicants; we invite you to watch their videos and get to know them. On August 15th, we’ll announce four finalists who we think best represent the CagePotato brand, featuring their bios and exclusive interviews/video blogs on the Proving Ground page. And with your help, we’ll select a single fighter out of those four — the “Proving Ground #1 Contender” — who will receive a three-fight contract with Shark Fights and make their debut at Shark Fights 19, September 10th in Independence, Missouri.


UFC 120: The New Guys (Part 2)

(Stanislav Nedkov highlight reel, courtesy of BGMMAFIGHTER. Check out 0:50-0:59 for yet another example of a guy wearing a t-shirt during an MMA fight and getting absolutely ruined.)

Now that you’ve met Curt, Fabio, and Paul, let’s continue along the UFC 120 preliminary card and see who else will be making their Octagon debuts on Saturday night…

Experience: 11-0 record (8 wins by first-round stoppage), with appearances in Sengoku, Pancrase, and Shooto Bulgaria. Holds wins over Kevin Randleman and Travis Wiuff.
Will be facing: Steve Cantwell (7-3 record, 1-2 UFC)
Lowdown: Nedkov was slated to make his UFC debut against Rodney Wallace at UFC 117, but had to withdraw due to injury. The Bulgarian native comes from a decorated grappling background, and is experienced in freestyle wrestling, sumo, and BJJ. Judging from his fights, he seems to love a good brawl just as much as a ground battle. Causes for concern: At 5’11", he’ll be one of the shortest 205-pounders in the UFC, and his Sengoku fights against Randleman and Wiuff raised questions about his stamina.


The Young and the Wrestlers: MMA’s Top 10 Under 25

(Spoiler: One of these guys is probably on this list. PicProps: MMA Bay)

Obviously, it’s a fool’s errand to try to predict the future; just ask all those people who invested heavily in HD DVD instead of BluRay. Here at the Potato, however, we’re nothing if not risk-takers and with a large portion of our tried and true Cage Heroes either retired (Chuck), mired in slumps (BJ) or just living on borrowed time (Randy, Matt), we began to wonder this week: Who will carry the banner of MMA greatness into the next generation? In light of that, we present this list of CP’s Top 10 fighters under 25 years old.

First, a note on our methods: We compiled this group using a super-scientific algorithm that considers age, experience, potential and what Dan Severn might call “brawlability.” Seriously, we’d explain it in more detail, but you wouldn’t understand. Let’s just say graphing calculators were involved. Also, for utility’s sake, the list is restricted to fighters competing in major organizations (mostly the UFC, as it turns out) as well as dudes who are 24 and under. Sorry, Phil Davis.

Anyhow, here are our selections of 10 fighters who could be making noise for the next, oh, 20 years or so …


UFC 117: The New Guys

(Morecraft vs. Josh Diekmann, 11/14/09; fight starts at the 2:27 mark.)

Two minor-league MMA prospects will be taking a major leap in competition this Saturday, as they make their Octagon debuts in the preliminary card of UFC 117. As we saw with Charles Oliveira at "Jones vs. Matyushenko" on Sunday, sometimes dreams do come true. And sometimes they get crushed and blown away like dust. Get to know the new guys below and keep an eye out for ‘em this weekend…

Experience: 6-0 record (all wins by first-round stoppage, three within the first minute) competing in the Reality Fighting and Cage Fighting Xtreme promotions. All fights have taken place in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Most recently scored a submission-via-strikes victory over Lee Beane in May to win CFX’s heavyweight title.
Will be facing: Stefan Struve (19-4, 3-2 UFC)
Lowdown: Another large addition to the UFC’s heavyweight division, Morecraft is a 6’6, 258-pound smashing machine that has been drawing lots of attention in Massachusetts. The 23-year-old began studying the sport with John Burke at the Dungeon MMA Academy, and now calls the Cape Cod Fighting Alliance his home. His take on MMA: "For every way there is to put somebody (in a hold), there’s a way of getting out if you do it at the right moment. And everything flows. It’s an art.” Morecraft digs ’80s metal, and walked out to Kiss’s "Calling Dr. Love" for the Beane fight.