Bellator 2023 Prospects to Watch

Bellator’s roster best it’s ever been, Signing free agents while building for the future. Future in great hands with potential champions, title challengers, main event stars.

Deep list of talented fighters that will compete at a high level for several years.

1. Mansour Barnaoui

Highly touted MMA free agent signed with Bellator in 2022, Great signing for Bellator as was the former Road FC Lightweight Grand Prix winner and earning himself one million dollars.

Bellator debut was against Adam Piccolotti and he didn’t disappoint with second round submission, Showing the viewers there’s world class fighters all over the world.

Long three year layoff living off the tournament earnings as he should but hungry to earn another million dollars from the Bellator Lightweight Grand Prix. Round one opponent of the Bellator grand prix is Sidney Outlaw, former Ring of Combat Champion and is 2-2 with Bellator.

“I was coming to Bellator to make the tournament and win the belt.” Mansour Barnaoui

Fighting Sidney Outlaw is a tough opponent but pre Bellator fought Islam Makhachev, Kevin Lee, Mateusz Gamrot, Ivan Buchinger and Shamil Zavurov. Facing all different fighting styles and holding his own. Mansour definitely can defeat Sidney Outlaw because of the athleticism, fast speed, jiu-jitsu ability, taking advantage of his long reach.

Bellator Lightweight Grand Prix is filled with talented fighters but Mansour Barnaoui is my dark horse.

  • Road FC Lightweight Champion
  • M-1 Lightweight Champion
  • BAMMA Lightweight Champion
  • 20-4 record

2. Joey Davis

Welterweight prospect will become top ten Bellator welterweight in 2023, Fallen off the roster because of inactivity hasn’t fought since 2020. Joey Davis has undefeated record of 8-0, Finishing opponents with ease first round finishes.

2023 gonna be different story, Healthy fit in great form. Team Bodyshop MMA fighter training with AJ McKee, Jaylon Bates.

“He’s phenomenal bro best 170 pounder in the world I don’t care what organization” AJ McKee said on Weighing IN Podcast

Might be reading this, Questioning why I rank him number two prospect to watch but the wrestling accomplishments, MMA success speaks for itself.

4 time NCAA Division Two National Champion at 174 pounds, Undefeated college wrestling record of 133-0. Finished fifth at US Nationals at 84kg.

Elite college wrestling mixed with solid striking, executing his jabs, overall standup game and Joey Davis will become a serious problem in 2023 gradually climbing up the welterweight division. Practicing hard last six months with McKee.

“Last six months I’m super proud of the growth he’s made and just being in the gym and he’s kind of got a new style.” AJ McKee interview on Weighing IN Podcast

Joey Davis will make his return at Bellator 293, Fighting in front of his home state of California. Looking forward to seeing his improvements against Jeff Creighton than calling out opponents like Jaleel Wills, Neiman Gracie, Sabah Homasi.

2023 expect him to be top ten Bellator Welterweight, Showing he’s part of the Bellator future.

3. Archie Colgan

Kamaru Usman protege signed with Bellator in 2022, Third round finish in his debut fight and last fight was excellent first round performance.

University of Wyoming wrestler, Four seasons wrestling for Wyoming, NCAA Qualifier, Big 12 Champion meet current coach Justin Salas at Genesis Training Academy, former MMA fighter Salas recognized his raw talents.

“He was really raw, but he’s a really good athlete,” Salas said

“Fighting is more of a dance and more about fluid motion with your feet. Wrestlers who have good footwork and good fakes can make that transition easier. Archie has that ability, and he also has incredible power.” Justin Salas

Coach Salas brought Colgan to Trevor Whittman, Kamaru Usman & Justin Gaethje. Learning from two of the best fighters in the world and best coach.

“I was worried I wasn’t going to be able to give him fts enough, ended up giving him fits in some areas.” Archie Colgan

Continuing to improve in his striking potential Learning how to use hs athleticism, Explosive power. Mixing wrestling with striking and got yourself champion. Looking forward to watching his improvements in his upcoming fight against Justin Montalvo at Bellator 293.

2023 will be interesting year for Colgan fighting tough lightweights while improving inside the gym. Potentially fighting Lightweight opponents Spike Carlyle, Mandel Callo, Vladimir Tokov post Bellator 293.

Few years he’ll be a problem, Archie Colgan can spar with Kamaru Usman, Justin Gaethje he can fight any of the Bellator Lightweights. All about gaining experience inside the cage.

  • 6-0 record
  • 27 years old
  • Former University of Wyoming wrestler
  • Two wns for Bellator
  • Fought for Eagle FC
  • Biggest win Dylan Mantello

4. Lucas Brennan

Undefeated prospect 7-0 submission machine, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Champion is a fighter I’m really looking forward to watching in 2023.

Signed with Bellator in 2019, Coker gradually building hs career. Submitting opponent after opponent, Building experience inside the cage.

Built with right matchup fights time for tougher matchups, can discuss future matchups with his father.

“I want to continue winning fights, want to finish out my contract, once contract is up.” Lucas Brennan MMAjunke

Ranked #10 Bellator Featherweight now, Time to fight top 15 featherweights if he wants to earn more money or he’s just wasting a ranking spot.

Fight options in mnd like Kai Kamaka, Fabacary Diatta, Chrs Lencion to name a few.

Lucas Brennan is world class jiu-jitsu artist, Develops his stand up offense and defense, Footwork, develops complete fighting strategy he’ll become the Bellator version of Brian Ortega. Only 22 year old kid he has so much room to grow but 2023 really want him to take that next step.

5. Norbert Novenyi Jr

Michael “Venom” Page protege is one talented 23 year old Middleweight, 2023 will breakout as he shows he’s part of the next generation of Bellator fighters.

Last time Norbert Novenyi fought was in 2020, Three years ago back than showed his title challenger potential. Currently has a record of 5-0 but completely healthy with no torn ACL he can showcase his skillful talents against regional veteran Andy Manzolo at Bellator 291 Dublin fighting in front of his friends and family.

Everyone loves a comeback story, Dominating or finishing Manzolo in the United Kingdom region will give Norbert Novenyi the confidence he needs to start the year.

Watching his MagicNorbi Youtube Channel looks physically strong, healthy coming into this fight. Hope to see a great comeback performance and face future opponents that Bellator signs from regional promotions to matchup against Norbert.

Don’t expect Bellator to match Norbert Novenyi Jr against top 10 middleweights, Experienced really good fighters this year all about getting back into the fold.

6. Khasan Magomedsharipov

Younger brother of Zabit wowed the audience in his Bellator debut with nasty taekwondo, wushu sanda. Finishing regional opponent Jose Sanchez. Making easy work of of Sanchez with a dominant performance.

7-0 22 years old will continue to show his greatness, 25-26 years old Khasan WILL look like a world beater against featherweight competitors.

Scott Coker wll build Khasan into rising star in 2023, main card time slots. Next week February 25 appears on the Bellator 291 prelims against Rafael Hudon. Expect another highlight after highlight performance because of his striking and all-around skills.

Dagestani fighters are masters of the grappling arts from Sambo, Judo, Jiu-Jitsu love for Zabit’s brother to display everything in his 2023 fights against tough durable fighters who will give adversity.

Training with killers back home in Dagestan from his brother, Magomed Magomedov, Timur Valiev, Said Nurmagomedov on daily basis than traveling to New Jersey to train with Mark Henry and his fighters. Khasan Magomedsharipov has all the help in the world to become Bellator Featherweight Champion.

7. Imashafi Aliev

Star student of Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov Academy signed with Bellator 2022. Excited Scott Coker made the offer to Imashafi Aliev future Bellator Middleweight title challenger.

Before signing with Bellator was considered one of the best middleweight prospects in the world fighting for Eagle FC, UAE Warriors and remaining undefeated.

Bellator debut defeated Sean Connor Fallon in the second round at Bellator 288. Displaying his sambo skills and bright middleweight potential.

Currently no upcoming fights but Imashafi Aliev 24 year old Middleweight is a force to be reckoned with. Top middleweights are booked right now but potential contracted Bellator fighter can be Anthony Adams #10 ranked Middleweight. Definitely winnable matchup that can earn himself top ten ranking.

Middleweight Division is growing with youthful burst of prospects but Aliev arguably most talented one. Difficult matchup for everyone because of the sambo pressure.

2023 watchout for Imashafi Aliev as he’s incredible talent future middleweight champion, Love to see him climb up the rankings this year and fight Austin Vanderford, John Salter end of this year.

8. Aviv Gozali

Israel isn’t deep talented MMA country but the one that stands out is Aviv Gozali, submission artist and son of Haim Gozali.

Fighting for Bellator since 2018, Now 22 years old entering 2023 skies the limit for this kid. Current record of 6-1 losing in his last fight against Bobby King because of torn ACL and broken foot.

Healthy in 2023 will bounce back as everyone will be cheering searching for his next submission victim. Starting where he left off before the injury.

Return fight in 2023 most likely be tough durable Lightweight opponent that’s “right” matchup for him. However post return fght love for Gozali to face tougher lightweight matchups Keoni Diggs, Mike Hamel, Mandel Nallo.

Building up Aviv Gozali as Israeli rising star Scott Coker continues to build through popular Jewish nation’s from Israel, United States, France, Canada & United Kingdom. While marketing him can improve himself on the feet month by month traveling down to Kill Cliff FC, Bangtao Muay Thai with the Hickman Brothers, Heading to California with Duane Ludwig.

Jiu-Jitsu is obviously there but improves his kickboxing, offensive weapons, composure under pressure and Avv Gozali will be deadly force in the Bellator Lightweight division.

9. Sullivan Cauley

Ryan Bader protege, Sullivan Cauley began fighting for Bellator in 2020 and hasn’t looked back since. Currently undefeated with 5-0 record defeating tough opponent Ben Parrish who pulled off the upset against Christian Edwards.

Before MMA success was Arizona State wrestler home to Ryan Bader, Dan Henderson, Cain Velasquez. Sullivan Cauley can be the next great fighter to come out from the looks of it potentially can become Bellator Light Heavyweight contender in few years as Bellator gives him top five opponents.

“I want to build up a resume. The skills are there. I can compete with the world-class guys in the practice room today. But doing it under the lights is a little different, and this is coming from my coaching staff. I fully believe in them. This is their plan. We’re going to get a few more fights, get some more experience and then we’re going to start climbing through that top 10.” Sullivan Cauley said on postfight media

Upcoming fight is against Luke Trainer (England Light Heavyweight prospect) at Bellator 293 prelims. So far toughest fight to date but the wrestling, right hand KO power can seal the deal in the battle of light heavyweight prospects.

#9th ranked Sullivan Cauley can fight non ranked opponents Andrey Augusto, Simon Biyong, Arunas Andriuskevicus as Bellator continues to build the future title challenger.

10. Darragh Kelly

SBG Ireland blue chip prospect s guarantee will become future Lightweight title challenger in 4-6 years as Bellator & Scott Coker develops Darragh Kelley into Irish stardom.

Before fighting with Bellator watched hs fights on the Amateur scene fighting for Clan Wars, Looking like seasoned veteran in his amateuer fights. Hearing the announcement in 2022 Bellator signed Kelley I was really excited that he has opportunity to showcase his potential to the world.

“Kelly might not be the kind of hyped future star that Conor McGregor was once upon a time, but ‘The Moville Mauler’ will win plenty of MMA fights before he’s done,” Raimondi wrote.

Currently 2-0 with Bellator and upcoming fight is Bellator 291 Dublin fighting in front of the craziest but the best combat sport fans in the world. Fans will be cheering for him as he fights Dorval Jordan.

“Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens the face his neigh- bor,” is one of the best bible verses because stands true to this day. Gyms in Dagestan, American Top Team, Kill Cliff FC, American Kickboxing Academy all continuously breeds champions to this day because of great fighters sparring and working together. Same goes for SBG Ireland training with Conor, future title challenger James Gallagher, BJJ Champion Gunnar Nelson, title challenger Pedro Carvalho will only make Kelly improved world class fighter.

Fight by fight will watch Kelly improve and improve edging those jabs, deleting rookie mistakes, physically improving. 2023 all about developing as a fighter watching the Irishman grow up and become future contender.

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