10 Best MMA Featherweight Prospects of 2014
#1: Levan Makashvili
By last count I had about 150 Featherweight Prospects written down heading into this report. Levan Makashvili’s name barely made the cut, but as I began to break down tape and inspect fighter records, Makashvili continued to move up the ranks. From 150 to 100, 100 to 50, 50 to 25, 25 to 10, and so on. Makashvili somehow, someway ended up at the top of my report, ahead of All-American wrestlers Darrion Caldwell and Lance Palmer, Brazilian striker Gleristone Santos, and tough Russians Marat Gafurov, Rasul Mirzaev, and Bekbulat Magomedov. Makashvili is a blend of all 3 types of fighters. He has wrestling, KO power, and the gritty toughness of an Eastern European fighter. Makashvili recently won the Cage Fury FC Featherweight Championship by finishing Bellator veteran Scott Heckman in the 4th round. That win should definitely boost his profile as CFFC has recently sent some of its top fighters to the UFC. Makashvili’s official MMA record is a bit of a question mark as mixedmartialarts.com has him listed at 8-0, while Sherdog has him at 4-0. Some of those unlisted fights seem to be from when he lived and fought in Eastern Europe. Levan fights out of New York now, but I have also found a source saying he grew up in Russia. Makashvili has excellent size, conditioning, and the overall physicality needed to compete in the UFC. He has exceptional instincts and just seems to be a natural fighter. After pouring over tape of the top Featherweight prospects, Levan’s overall package of skills presented the least risk of not only competing, but winning at the next level. Caldwell and Palmer have the pedigree, but they are just not there yet with their overall skill level. A lot of the other prospects haven’t faced top-level wrestlers, or may be undersized for their division. Levan used to fight at 155 lbs. He has international experience, and most of all, he’s been doing this despite training at a fairly unknown camp. Imagine if Levan starts training out of Greg Jackson’s, Longo-Serra, or ATT. The sky is the limit for Levan if he continues to improve upon his current skill set.