Top 10 MMA Lightweight Prospects of 2013

So, after wrapping up our Top 10 Lightweights, there were some deserving fighters that just missed the cut this year. They will be eligible for next year’s report, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these fighters actually started outperforming the guys I listed. MMA is a funny sport, where just one win or loss can change the whole temperament towards a fighter’s prospect status.

Thus, without further ado, here are the guys that received consideration, but just missed the cut:

Lightweight Honorable Mentions

Michael Page
Ht: 6'3 - Age: 26
Team: London Shootfighters
OVR: 5-0

Winning Streak: 5
Finishing Rate: 100%
Michael Page is probably the most heavily hyped Lightweight prospect thanks to his strong fan support from England. Page's striking talents have prompted some to call him the next Anderson Silva. Obviously, those statements are a bit far-fetched at this point in time, but Page does have a very unique striking style that shows some resemblance to Anderson's masterful techniques. Page is extremely long (6'3) for his weight class and that length could truly set him apart from his competition. The big question marks are his takedown defense and overall grappling ability. He is training at London Shootfighters, which does house some quality fighters. Page recently competed on a Bellator card, though he does not seem to be signed to an exclusive deal with them. Bellator would be wise to lock him down while they can though because if Page is for real, he has star potential.
Takasuke Kume
"Da Jaguar"
Ht: 5'7 - Age: 28
Team: Alive
OVR: 15-2-4

Winning Streak: 0
Finishing Rate: 80%
Kume has a style fairly similar to countryman Yushin Okami. They are both very strong wrestlers for their respective weight classes. Kume has thus far overpowered his opponents with his takedowns and top game. His submission skills are solid as well with 11 of his 15 career wins coming via SUB. His most notable win thus far was 2nd round submission win over UFC veteran Shane Nelson. Kume is set to face fellow prospect Yui Chul Nam in a rematch from their Road FC title fight. Some felt Kume was robbed of a win, and he will now have the opportunity to prove he is the better fighter later this year.
Isao Kobayashi

Ht: 5'8 - Age: 24
Team: Sakaguchi Dojo
OVR: 13-1-4

Winning Streak: 0
Finishing Rate: 69%
Kobayashi is currently flying under the radar as far as prospects go. Kobayashi is currently riding a 9-fight unbeaten streak, highlighted by wins over Koji Oishi and current UFC fighter Kazuki Tokudome. Though his last fight against Brazilian legend Jorge "Macaco" Patino ended via draw, it was a solid performance against a very high-level competitor. Tokudome's only career loss was to UFC veteran Koji Oishi that he recently avenged in 2012. Tokudome is a beast on the feet as he attacks with feverish punching combinations. His takedown defense is shaky at times, but his overall grappling is very good. It is still a surprise to me as to why the UFC signed Tokudome rather than Kobayashi.
Darrell Horcher
"The Saint"
Ht: 5'10 - Age: 25
Team: Blackman MMA
OVR: 7-1

Winning Streak: 0
Finishing Rate: 71%
Horcher seemed to be a lock for a future Bellator tournament spot heading into his 2013 bout with TUF 8 runner-up Phillipe Nover. Yet, Horcher showed up flat and ultimately lost via decision and was cut loose by Bellator shortly thereafter. Prior to his first career loss, Horcher had been an undefeated 7-0 with recent wins over E.J. Brooks and UFC vet Chris Liguori. Horcher has excellent power in his hands and I expect him to bounce back in the near future and hopefully get another opportunity to showcase his skills in a major promotion.
Marcus Edwards
"Bad Intentions"
Ht: 5'9 - Age: 24
Team: FactoryX Muay Thai
OVR: 4-2

Winning Streak: 0
Finishing Rate: 100%
Marcus Edwards is a prospect to keep an eye on. Following an 11-0 record as an amateur, Edwards turned pro in 2012, but lost his debut as he was curiously matched up against fellow top prospect Justin Gaethje. Edwards' management may have gotten a little overzealous trying to have Edwards face a talent like Gaethje in his pro debut. The loss set his prospect status back a bit, but he has since rebounded with 4 straight finishes, including a recent submission win over TUF 16's Dakota Cochrane. The UFC had their eye on Cochrane, so Edwards likely landed on Joe Silva's radar, but instead of racking up some lower level wins, Edwards decided to go all in by facing off with UFC veteran Efrain Escudero. Once again, Edwards bit off a bit more than he could chew, losing via decision. Though Edwards is an ultra-aggressive, exciting fighter, he continues to sabotage himself with unfriendly style matchups. Once Edwards puts all the pieces together, he is going to be a future star in my opinion.
Neilson Gomes

Ht: 5'10 - Age: 26
Team: Champion Team
OVR: 14-2

Winning Streak: 2
Finishing Rate: 64%
Neilson Gomes was likely on his way to a UFC contract after making it into the house for TUF Brazil 2. Unfortunately, Gomes injured his knee and was forced off the show. Though some injured castmates were invited back, Gomes does not seem to be one of them and will likely have to rack up a few more wins in Brazil before getting another invite. Gomes is a bit erratic on his feet, but his grappling is excellent and has surprisingly good takedowns.
Jesse Ronson
"The Body Snatcher"
Ht: 5'9 - Age: 27
Team: Adrenaline Training Center
OVR: 13-2

Winning Streak: 8
Finishing Rate: 77%
I had Ronson as a lock for my Top 10 Lightweight prospects, but then I started watching what film was available and was not overly impressed. I do think he's going to eventually sign with the UFC or Bellator, but I am not sure if he has the overall wrestling chops to be more than a prelim-type fighter. He is a solid striker with good movement, kicks, and a decent left hand, but his overall grappling is still a work in progress. Ronson has one of the most impressive winning streaks of any Lightweight prospect, winning his last 8 fights over fairly stiff competition such as Ryan Healy, Alex Ricci, and Shane Campbell.
Lowen Tynanes

Ht: 5'10 - Age: 23
Team: Team Tynanes
OVR: 5-0

Winning Streak: 5
Finishing Rate: 80%
If there was one name I regret leaving out of the Top 10, it is Lowen Tynanes. He has burst onto the scene following a TKO win over fellow prospect Eduard Folayang. He has since looked dominant, winning his next 3 fights via finish and boosting his overall record to 5-0. Tynanes is a very big Lightweight and uses his size well with good takedowns and a dangerous top game. Tynanes has landed some huge elbows from the top that have thus far led to his stoppage victories over Folayang and Felipe Enomoto. I did have a few concerns, namely a 2011 KO loss in his amateur career and his overall lack of experience.
Jadamba Narantungalag

Ht: 5'7 - Age: 37
Team: Team Tungaa
OVR: 8-3

Winning Streak: 0
Finishing Rate: 63%
Jadamba is getting up there in age (37) and though he has been able to rack up wins over high-level competition, the window may be closing soon as he recently suffered a loss due to injury against Koji Ando. Prior to the Ando loss, Narantungalag had put together an 8-fight win streak highlighted by victories over Yui Chul Nam, Akihiro Gono, Kazunori Yokota, and Adrian Pang. The comeback trail at his age is usually not kind, so his chances of signing on with the UFC or Bellator are very slim.
Piotr Hallman
Ht: 5'9 - Age: 25
Team: Mighty Bulls Team
OVR: 13-1

Winning Streak: 9
Finishing Rate: 92%
With a current 9-fight win streak and 12 of his 13 career victories coming via finish, Hallman is starting to gain some attention worldwide. Hallman has quickly risen through the European ranks over the last 2 years, most recently beating Juha-Pekka Vainikainen via decision. He is fairly well-rounded and can win fights with his striking or submissions. He likes to push the pace and is not afraid to trade strikes with his opponents. His wrestling is a strength in Europe, but I don't see in transferring over should he sign with a major promotion.

Others to watch:

Scott Holtzman (5-0)
Allan Patrick (10-0)
Dakota Cochrane (14-4)
Zorobabel Moreira (7-2)
Gor Harutunian (9-1-1)
E.J. Brooks (7-1)
Frankie Perez (6-0)
Christian Uflacker (5-0)
Jake Lindsey (6-0)
Juha-Pekka Vainikainen (20-7-1)
Vener Galiev (25-7)
Elias Silverio (7-0)
Alex Ricci (7-1)
Jason Saggo (9-1)
Jordan Clements (10-1)
Tyrone Glover (6-0)
Eduard Folayang (12-4)
Ole Laursen (6-3)
Rodrigo Cavalheiro Correia (9-2)
Mairbek Taisumov (19-4)
Lukasz Sajewski (9-0)
Geraldo Ferro (5-1)
Ozzy Dugulubgov (4-1)
David Castillo (16-5)
Christos Giagos (6-1)
Jonatas Novaes (11-4)
Kurt Southern (11-4)
Ivan Buchinger (22-4)
Igor Fernandes (18-6)
Diego Braga (21-8-1)
Elvin Leon Brito (6-1)
Michael Pastou (9-2)
Guilherme Trindade (11-1)
Bagama Nikabagamaev (13-0)
Rafael Nunes (10-0)
Francivaldo Trinaldo (4-0)

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