Top 10 MMA Welterweight Prospects of 2013

So, after wrapping up our Top 10 Welterweights, 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:

Welterweight Honorable Mentions

Leandro Silva
Ht: 5'10 - Age: 34
Team: Black House
OVR: 20-7

Winning Streak: 2
Finishing Rate: 60%
"Batata" has been in the game for nearly 10 years now. Yet, despite holding wins over current UFC fighters Rousimar Palhares, John Howard, and Carlos Inocente, "Batata" has never been given an opportunity in a bigger promotion. Silva was once a part of Nova Uniao Kimura and has routinely competed for the Shooto Brazil promotion. Silva has bounced around between Welterweight and Middleweight, and is fairly well rounded, though he fashions himself as more of a striker. He is 11-2 since 2008, with his only losses coming to current UFC fighters Siyar Bahadurzada and Michel Prazeres.
Gael Grimaud

Ht: 6'0 - Age: 33
Team: Haute Tension
OVR: 17-6

Winning Streak: 0
Finishing Rate: 50%
Grimaud was one of our final cuts for the Top 10, mainly due to the fact that he is already 33 years old. He had gone 8-0 over the last 2 years, highlighted by a submission victory over UFC veteran Jesse Taylor that won him the Cage Warriors Welterweight title. Unfortunately, Grimaud's streak and title reign came to an abrupt halt in 2013 as he lost a close 5-round decision to Cathal Pendred. Grimaud is a huge Welterweight with solid wrestling and submissions.
Eric Bradley

Ht: 5'9 - Age: N/A
Team: N/A
OVR: 5-1

Winning Streak: 4
Finishing Rate: 40%
Bradley recently made his return to the cage in 2012 after serving the last year in jail due to some past fraternity pranks gone wrong. Prior to his MMA career, Bradley wrestled collegiately at Penn State University where he earned All-American honors. If given the opportunity, Bradley has a chance at becoming a very solid fighter with Top 25 potential.
Yasubey Enomoto

Ht: 5'11 - Age: 29
Team: Enomoto Dojo
OVR: 11-4

Winning Streak: 2
Finishing Rate: 45%
Enomoto has made remarkable improvement over the last couple of years, highlighted by his trilogy of fights with recent Bellator signee Shamil Zavurov. Enomoto has gone 8-3 since 2010 with his only losses coming to top-level competition. Enomoto also briefly held the M-1 Welterweight title before losing it one fight later to Rashid Magomedov. He recently defeated Zavurov for the 2nd straight time, which likely has him on the radar of Bellator.
Jesse Juarez

Ht: 6'1 - Age: 32
Team: Bodyshop Fitness Team
OVR: 19-8

Winning Streak: 2
Finishing Rate: 50%
Jesse Juarez has fought all across the world, competing for the likes of Bellator, BAMMA, Shark Fights, MFC, and Strikeforce. Unfortunately, Juarez has never been able to stick with an organization. At age 32, Juarez does not have much time to spare, so he will need to make the most of his opportunities, which he recently has by defeating Jordan Smith at Bellator 90. Prior to that win, Juarez picked up a close decision victory over recent TUF Smashes winner Robert Whittaker. Juarez is a solid wrestler, evidenced by his 2005 NAIA National Championship. He has faced some of the toughest competition outside of the UFC and has gone 14-3 since 2009 with his only losses coming to Douglas Lima, Josh Neer, and Leandro "Batata" Silva.
Andrews Nakahara

Ht: 6'0 - Age: 30
Team: Belfort Team
OVR: 4-2-1

Winning Streak: 0
Finishing Rate: 75%
Andrews Nakahara was supposed to be the next Lyoto Machida according to some, but the Karate expert has struggled at times to combat his opponents' wrestling. Nakahara is a Kyokushin Karate Black Belt, which differs from Machida's background, but they both have a fairly similar style that relies heavily on angles and timing. Nakahara began his MMA career in DREAM where he debuted against the legendary Kazushi Sakuraba in 2008. He went 2-2 in DREAM before returning back to Brazil. Nakahara has recently been training at Blackzilians alongside his mentor Vitor Belfort. He fought Myung Ho Bae in Roac FC earlier this year, earning a Draw, even though many thought Bae did enough to win.
Alexander Yakovlev

Ht: 6'1 - Age: 28
Team: Alexander Nevsky Club
OVR: 19-4-1

Winning Streak: 1
Finishing Rate: 84%
Alexander Yakovlev has started to gain some attention in Russia, having recently fought for the M-1 Welterweight championship. Yakovlev is 6-1-1 since 2010, with his only loss coming against Rashid Magomedov in a close 5-round decision. Yakovlev earned the title shot by taking Shamil Zavurov to a Draw even though he was originally declared the winner. Yakovlev is a lanky striker with solid submissions.
Beslan Isaev

Ht: 6'0 - Age: 29
Team: Peresvet FT
OVR: 23-6

Winning Streak: 4
Finishing Rate: 91%
Isaev was considered to be one of the top prospects back in 2011 thanks to a 10-fight win streak that included victories over Arthur Guseinov and Xavier Foupa-Pokam. The hype soon faded though as he was submitted in the 1st round against fellow prospect Assan Njie. He bounced back with a couple of wins, but soon lost another fight via submission to journeyman Fabricio Nascimento. When Isaev isn't getting taken down and submitted he is an absolute beast with 21 of his 23 wins coming via finish.
George Sullivan

Ht: 6'0 - Age: 32
Team: Pellegrino MMA
OVR: 13-3

Winning Streak: 5
Finishing Rate: 69%
George Sullivan has been on the rise ever since a 2011 loss to Elijah Harshbarger. Unfortunately, there was virtually no video on Sullivan despite the fact that he competes in his coach's promotion (Kurt Pellegrino/CFFC). Had there been more video available, I could get a better grasp to see if Sullivan has truly improved his wrestling, which has been at fault for most of his losses. Sullivan has good size with KO power. Pellegrino MMA seems to be a gym on the rise, so it will be interesting to see if Pellegrino can use his connections to get him to the next level.
Braulio Estima
Ht: 6'3 - Age: 32
Team: Blackzilians
OVR: 1-0

Winning Streak: 1
Finishing Rate: 100%
Braulio Estima is one of the top BJJ practitioners in the world today. He won the 2009 and 2011 ADCC Championships as well as the 2009 and 2010 World Championships. Estima has been hinting at a career in MMA for the last few years, but despite testing the waters in 2012 and training at Blackzilians, he has thus far resisted the full-time plunge. Estima recently said that he will not compete in MMA until 2014. He is already 33 years old, so the clock is ticking to see if he can really use his world class Jiu-Jitsu to possibly one day compete in the UFC.

Others to watch:

Benjamin Brinsa (13-0)
Andre Santos (33-9)
Cassiano Freitas (24-12)
Ali Arish (19-2)
Dwayne Hinds (9-0)
Justin Baesman (14-3)
Marcelo Alfaya (14-6)
Herman Terrado (10-2)
Morten Djursaa (12-4)
Aslambek Saidov (14-3)
Tyson Steele (10-2)
Mukhamed Aushev (16-4)
Lewis Gonzalez (8-0)
Jason South (10-0)
Joey Rivera (7-1)
Guilherme Vasconcelos (3-1)
Wendell Oliveira (21-7)
Murad Abdulaev (11-1)
Joe Ray (8-3)
Samuel Trindade (8-2)
Ron Keslar (9-3)
Adam Kayoom (4-1)
Ismael de Jesus (9-3-1)
Itamar Rosa (9-3)
Mikey Gomez (15-9)
Jeff Rexroad (6-1)
Bruno Carvalho (14-6)
Ramico Blackmon (8-2)
Danny Roberts (8-1)
Marcio Alexandre (9-0)
Nicolas Dalby (10-0)
Chris Brown (10-1)

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