The Beaten Path: 5 MMA Prospects to Watch in March

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2014

The Beaten Path: 5 MMA Prospects to Watch in March

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    The month of March features a ton of MMA action. From the UFC all the way down to the minor leagues, a ton of top stars and up-and-coming prospects will be fighting with the intent to become a world champion someday.

    At the Beaten Path, our job is to point you in the general direction of the best prospects who fight from month to month. That way, you have an insight into the future, as these men and women can end up in the UFC one day.

    Here are five prospects to watch in March. These fighters could join the UFC ranks and be successful in the future.

5. Karol Bedorf

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    Division: Heavyweight
    Age: 30
    Record: 10-2
    Next fight: Tim Sylvia, Mar. 22, KSW 26
    See it on: TBD

    Poland is one of the top areas for prospects that has yet to be completely tapped of its talent. In fact, a number of Polish fighters are high level and can grace the top organizations of the world.

    One of those men is heavyweight Karol Bedorf. The 30-year-old Pole has been competing since 2007. He has beaten guys like UFC grinder Francis Carmont in his pro debut, UFC vet Oli Thompson and Pawel Nastula.

    Bedorf is a heavy top-game grappler with good ground-and-pound and submissions. He is around 260 pounds, so he is a big guy as well, meaning it is tough to dislodge him once he's on top.

    He has former UFC champion Tim Sylvia on deck at KSW 26. A win over a big name like that would gain serious attention for Bedorf, who could only bolster a large MMA organization.

4. Kalindra Faria

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    Division: Women's strawweight
    Age: 27
    Record: 12-3-1
    Next fight: Laura Balin, Mar. 30, MMA Super Heroes 3
    See it on: TBD

    Top-10 women's flyweight Kalindra Faria may be trying to jump on the strawweight train, now that it's known the UFC will now host the division. This could be great, as she is one of the best female fighters in Brazil.

    A pro since 2009, she has worked the flyweight division to a record of 12-3-1. In that time, the well-rounded Brazilian has finished nine of her 12 opponents, including six via knockout.

    Now, she tries her hand at 115 pounds at MMA Super Heroes 3, where she headlines opposite Laura Balin. An impressive performance, especially a finish, could earn her a call-up to the UFC, especially if the weight cut works.

3. Gilbert Burns

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    Division: Lightweight
    Age: 27
    Record: 6-0
    Next fight: Mike Budnik, Mar. 15, Legacy FC 29
    See it on: AXS TV

    Gilbert Burns has flown under the radar for a while, which is surprising given his Brazilian jiu-jitsu accolades. He will become more known this month, when he makes his American MMA debut for Legacy Fighting Championship.

    He is a grappling wizard, as seen in his four submission wins. However, he showed a new wrinkle in his game with a one-punch knockout in his last fight against Paulo Goncalves.

    He gets good training as well, working out with Vitor Belfort and his team. If he can impressively beat Mike Budnik this month, one has to believe he will become a top prospect at 155 pounds.

2. Viktor Nemkov

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    Division: Light heavyweight
    Age: 27
    Record: 19-4
    Next fight: Marcio Cruz, Mar. 14, M-1 Challenge 46
    See it on: TBD

    Russia has become the biggest hotbed of talent in MMA lately. Seeing how the UFC could use talent in the light heavyweight division, the promotion should have Viktor Nemkov on its radar.

    He fights out of the noted Red Devil Fight Club and has finished 12 of his 19 opponents. Most of those wins came via submission, including nearly half of those by triangle choke.

    His most famous bout was against Vinny Magalhaes, who defeated the Russian via gogoplata neck crank. That was in 2011, though, and it was his most recent loss.

    Nemkov is on an eight-fight surge right now, including wins against Abdul-Kerim Edilov, Baga Agaev and Vasily Babich. Should he get by UFC vet Marcio Cruz in M-1 Challenge 46, he might be on the verge of a UFC contract.

1. Marcin Tybura

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    Division: Heavyweight
    Age: 28
    Record: 9-0
    Next fight: Damian Grabowski, Mar. 14, M-1 Challenge 46
    See it on: TBD

    Speaking of M-1 Challenge, Marcin Tybura is set to fight fellow Pole Damian Grabowski in the main event of the March 14th card. It should decide who goes to the UFC next.

    In my humble opinion, Tybura might be the best heavyweight prospect in the sport right now. The 28-year-old is undefeated, finishing all but two of his opponents.

    He has run through three legit opponents in his last three outings. He beat Denis Komkin by making him quit in between rounds, knocked out Chaban Ka and choked out Konstantin Gluhov to get where he's at right now.

    He rarely leaves the first round, as he is a terror when he gets on top. He has heavy ground-and-pound and a tight submission game that leaves his opposition in uncomfortable positions.

    Grabowski is the biggest test to date for Tybura. Whether he wins or loses, you need to keep an eye on him going forward.