MMA Plus takes you around the globe to look at our top 10 MMA prospects to watch for 2017. Some of the names on the list you may already know, some you won’t but we will bring you up to speed as to who they are and why they’ve made the list.
Top 10 MMA: prospects to watch out for in 2017
10. Tenshin Nasukawa
Achievements: Went 2-0 in 48 hours at Rizin Fighting Federation last week
The first entry in our Top 10 MMA prospects to out watch for in 2017 is Tension Nasukawa. Similar to the unbeaten start he has made to his fledgling mixed martial arts career, the 18-year old currently holds a perfect record as a professional kickboxer winning all of his 17 bouts with 13 of those wins coming by way of knockout.
On his professional debut at Rizin FF 3 the Flyweight showed resilience to when his opponent Nikita Sapun locked on a tight armbar but the high schooler would somehow escape and go on to earn a TKO victory.
After that win he would take to the mic and demand a second fight on the promotion’s NYE show and just 48 hours later he would pick up his second professional win via 2nd round guillotine to leave some hailing him as the future of Japanese MMA.
9. Mackenzie Dern
Achievements: BJJ world champion, 2-0 record, Legacy FC 61 win over Montana Stewart
Dern is a jiu-jitsu world champion and lists Gabrielle Garcia among her victims during a decorated grappling career. She would then make the switch to mixed martial arts where she earned a lopsided victory over Kenia Rosas at Legacy Fighting Championship 58 last July.
In her second outing the 23-year-old, would score an epic 1st round submission win over Montana Stewart at Legacy Fighting Championship 61 to stay perfect so far in her professional career.
8. Pietro “Pitbull” Menga
Achievements: 0:41 KO of Spencer Hewitt at Bellator 158, 11 of 13 wins via stoppage
Menga makes our top 10 prospects after extending his five-year unbeaten run at Bellator 158 where he blitzed fellow Brit Spencer Hewitt inside 41-seconds at the o2 Arena.
The Flyweight who hails from Manchester is considered by many to be one of the most well-rounded mixed martial artists in the game today with notable victories over current BAMMA Flyweight champion Rany Saadeh, Sotir Kichukov and veteran Steve McCombe who has had nearly 50 professional fights.
The 28-year-old has recorded 11 stoppage wins with eight coming by way of submission and three coming via KO/TKO.
7. Angela Lee
Achievements: ONE Women’s Atomweight champion, unbeaten as an amateur and a Pro
Lee was crowned the ONE Championship women’s Atomweight champion when she defeated Mei Yamaguchi at ONE 42 Ascent to Power in May 2016.
The 20-year-old, Canadian-born fighter has been a martial arts practitioner since the age of three and has gone on to win numerous world titles in Pankration as well as state wrestling titles.
During her rapid ascent up the 105lbs rankings the Evolve MMA trained fighter claimed her first world title less than a year after turning pro, defeating the likes of Aya Saber, Lena Tkhorevska and more recently Mei Yamaguchi at Singapore’s Indoor Stadium to claim the strap.
Having dominated Asia, the youngter is now tipped to test her metal against the world’s best in years to come.
6. James Gallagher
Achievements: Competed at the 2015 IMMAF World Championships, unbeaten as a Pro
A few weeks removed from his 20th birthday the Irish youngster co-headlined his first major event at Bellator 169 when he defeated Anthony Taylor in front of his adoring countrymen in Dublin, Ireland.
Considered by many to be the hottest prospect to come out of SBG Ireland since UFC Lightweight champion Conor McGregor the Featherweight’s talents was first spotted as a teenager when he defeated a fighter 7-years his senior.
After losing in his amateur debut “The Strabanimal” proceeded to win his next five contests before making the transition to the professional ranks where he has made an unbeaten to start, besting the likes of Denis Ahern, Gerard Gilmore and Anthony Taylor.
5. Magomed “Tiger” Magomedov
Achievements: Absolute Championship Berkut interim-Bantamweight champion
ACB interim champion Magomedov, is our number 5 top prospect to watch in 2017. After losing his 2nd professional contest went on a 13-fight unbeaten run which collimated in his victory over Oleg Borisov at ACB 50.
At only 24-years-old has been plying his trade in the professional ranks since 2011 and nine of his 13 wins have come by way of KO/TKO or submission.
During his impressive run “Tiger” has picked up notable victories against Anton Vasiliev, Yuri Maia, Paata Robakidze, Bruno Dias and Petr Yan.
4. Alexa Grasso
Achievements: Undefeated as a professional
Grasso made her professional MMA debut in December 2012 when she scored a 15-second KO against Sandra del Rincon in her native Mexico.
The 23-year-old would proceed to defeat three of her countrywomen before taking a year away from the sport. She then made her Invicta FC debut in September 2014 against Ashley Cummins who she defeated via unanimous decision.
She would go on to beat Alida Gray and Mizuki Inoue before injury forced her out Strawweight title fight against Ashley Cummins at Invicta FC 14.
The Lobo Gym trained fight would then face Jodie Esquibel before making here debut at UFC Fight Night 98 where she defeated Heather Clark, immediately making an impact in the women’s division.
3. Kron Gracie
Achievements: BJJ champion, finished all of his opponents as a mixed martial artist
The youngest child of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu pioneer Rickson Gracie, to date Kron has made a seamless transition from BJJ champion to mixed martial artist.
In his first four contests the 28-year-old has submitted Hyung Soo Kim, Erson Yamamoto, Hideo Tokoro and most recently Tatsuya Kawajiri in the co-main event of Rizin Fight Federation’s New Years Eve show.
The manner of his victory against the former UFC veteran and Shooto Lightweight Champion – who has had 48 professional bouts – was the most impressive thing about his performance and have left many heralding him as a potential world beater.
2. Tom “Fire Kid” Duquesnoy
Achievements: Reigning BAMMA Bantamweight and Featherweight champion
In at number 2 of our top 10 MMA prospects to watch for 2017 is Tom Duquesnoy.Quite frankly the Frenchman must be sick and tired of being on everyone’s one to watch list as the Parisian has been on the lips of fans around the world for a number of years.
The “Fire Kid” is the poster boy of top European promotion BAMMA and currently holds their Bantamweight and Featherweight titles respectively.
The only loss of his 16-fight career came against “Mr. Finland” Makwan Amirkhani via brabo choke submission in February 2013 but he has subsequently gone on to forge an 11-fight unbeaten run with his latest win coming against Alan Philpott last month at BAMMA 27.
1. Ryan Scope
Achievements: Unbeaten, defeated Luke Newman, Ali Arish and Yusup Umarov
At the event “Big Baby” would face-off against top Russian Yusup Umarov and would cement his status as one of the world’s top prospects when he scored a 2nd round finish after being rumbled early in the fight.
24-year-old Scope has competed at both Welterweight and Lightweight during a seven-year career for promotions such as BAMMA, Made4TheCage and On Top and counts Ross Pearson and Andrew Fisher as his training partners.
The Team Fish Tank trained fighter faces Lewis Long at Made4TheCage 23 next month and another win for the rising British star will surely mean that he has the world at his feet.