The Beaten Path: The 5 Top MMA Prospects in Action in November
It's hard to keep up with all the MMA action these days. Why, I remember when there was only one event each month, for the entire sport. For a nickel, you could take the streetcar into town, watch old Frank Shamrock tear someone's ankle off, get yourself a frankfurter and a fizz pop and still have enough left over to take in the latest matinee film.
But I'm going to tell you something: The times have changed. Believe you me, it can be a full-time job just following the UFC, much less all the other promotions out there, including those where the stars of tomorrow are forming.
That's where we at The Beaten Path come in. We want to make it easy for you to find and follow the sport's top prospects. As such, here are five up-and-comers in action this month, including coordinates for where and when to watch them. Keep the change, you filthy animal.
5. Carlos Diego Ferreira
Next Fight: Jorge Patino, Nov. 15, Legacy FC 25
See it on: AXS TV
Carlos Diego Ferreira turned heads when he defeated UFC veteran Carlo Prater in his LFC debut, but he showed it wasn't a fluke when he won his follow-up bout as well. Now, he'll have a stiff test in UFC and Strikeforce alumnus Jorge Patino, a 40-year-old veteran with nearly 50 fights under his belt. (He once fought Pat Miletich!)
Both men are grappling experts, and Patino has the strength and experience to handle Ferreira on the mat and definitely on the feet. If Ferreira can get past this test, he will be for real.
4. Goiti Yamauchi
Next Fight: Saul Almeida, Nov. 22, Bellator 109
See it on: Spike TV
Another Japanese prospect destined for disappointment on the big stage? Think again.
Goiti Yamauchi is fighting straight out of Curitiba, Brazil, and the young man is not mucking around. In his Bellator debut, he needed just one minute to get Musa Toliver on the ground, pinion his opponent's arms behind him to render him defenseless and lock on a fight-ending rear-naked choke.
It was impressive stuff. If he can do something similar to Almeida, he will be even more impressive.
Douglas Silva De Andrade
Next Fight: Fabiano Nogueira, Nov. 2, Jungle Fight 60
See it on: You can't; it's a dark event
What else does Douglas Silva De Andrade have to do to get noticed? Perhaps he could try fighting for a promotion that broadcasts its events. Hey, I'm no P.T. Barnum; I'm just making a suggestion.
He doesn't have much more to do in the cage, as evidenced by his eye-popping record. Sixteen of those wins came by knockout, including his last five in a row.
2. Aljamain Sterling
Next Fight: Joel Roberts, Nov. 2, CFFC 30
See it on: Live stream www.gfl.tv
It's a triumphant return to the cage for Aljamain Sterling, a standout college wrestler who hasn't fought since August 2012 because of an injury. If he can pick up where he left off against a beatable opponent in Roberts, the drumbeat toward the big leagues will continue anew.
1. Vitaly Minakov
Next Fight: Alexander Volkov, Nov. 22, Bellator 109
See it on: Spike TV
If you follow my prospect predictions with any regularity, you'll know I'm all in on Vitaly Minakov. I have a lot of chips on this guy.
He didn't exactly blow anyone away with his tentative, sloppy, gassy performance against Ryan Martinez in the heavyweight tournament finals this summer. But it does say something that he pulled out a third-round TKO nevertheless.
He'll need to do a lot better to justify the hype and win the belt from Volkov. Here's betting he's up to it. There's no reason to change course now.