In the exploding world of MMA, it’s sometimes hard for fans to notice some of the amazing fighters on the verge of making it to the next level. We’ve enlisted the experts at
MMAWeekly.com to take you deep inside the sport, and present you with some of the newest names to watch.
Name: Glover Teixeira
Professional Record: 5-2
Home Gym: The Pit
Key Wins: Matt Horwich, Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, and Jorge Oliveira
With all the different fight promotions fighting for talent in MMA, it’s surprising that none of the major promotions have picked up talented fighter Glover Teixeira. A native Brazilian now living in
Teixeira is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and is improving his striking ever since he started to train at The Pit with John Hackleman and Chuck Liddell. Although he started his career with mixed results, he owns a win over IFL Middleweight Champion Matt Horwich in Sportfight, where he was also the promotion’s light heavyweight champion.
Teixeira then went on to compete in World Extreme Cagefighting before it was acquired by Zuffa. There, he scored the biggest win of his career, but at the time, neither he nor MMA fans knew. Teixeira went on to stop Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou with strikes at WEC 24. Since then, Sokoudjou has knocked out two of the best light heavyweights in the world, first beating Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at PRIDE 33, and then fi nishing Ricardo Arona at the fi nal PRIDE event. This only gives more credit to Teixeira’s skills.
After being inactive for a year, Teixeira returned to MMA competition in January at the Palace Fighting Championships to face fellow Brazilian transplant Jorge Oliveira. He wasted no time in the fight, catching Oliveira with a punch that dropped the Chute Boxe fighter. He finished the fight with strikes on the ground only seconds into the first round.
He has the talent and the experience to compete in bigger organizations and it’s only a matter of time before Teixeira is given a shot by one of the major promotions. Wherever he ends up, it’s a given that Teixeira will bring action along with him every time he steps in to fight.
Name: Masakatsu Ueda
Professional Record: 7-0-1
Home Gym: Paraestra Tokyo
Key Wins: So Tazawa and
A decorated amateur wrestler, Masakatsu Ueda has risen to become one of
the better mixed martial arts prospects in the Shooto organization in
Along with his solid wrestling base, he has become quite strong in the submission department, being able to end a fight in an instant with his slick ground game. He started wrestling at a young age, winning several amateur wrestling competitions in
Like many young fighters in the Shooto organization, he began by competing in sanctioned amateur Shooto events. Ueda quickly became the All-Japan amateur Shooto champion. He also began competing in submission grappling tournaments, and became the National Combat Wrestling Champion and the All-Japan Shooto Grappling Champion.
Ueda then moved to professional Shooto, fi ghting in the Shooto Featherweight
2006 Rookie tournament. He ran through the tournament, becoming the Shooto
Featherweight 2006 Rookie Champion by submitting his opponent in the fi rst round.
That victory earned Ueda his Class A license in professional Shooto, and with it came a huge step up in competition. He was more than ready to compete with the best.
In his Class A debut, Ueda fought fellow grappler So Tazawa and dominated the fight with his superior grappling technique, almost fi nishing the fi ght on several occasions with an array of submissions. He finally ended the fight in the last round with a Brabo choke.
He then met fellow Shooto Featherweight Rookie Champion Takeya Mizugaki in July, with neither fighter giving up inch and the fight ending in a draw. Ueda continued his streak of fighting accomplished grapplers by out-hustling ADCC veteran Tetsu Suzuki to win a decision and further climb the ranks of the featherweight division.
Ueda scored the biggest win of his career by narrowly defeating Atsushi Yamamoto at Shooto Back to Our Roots 7 by decision. That win earned him a shot at the vacant Shooto Featherweight Championship.
Perhaps after accomplishing his goals in
Name: Chris Manuel
Professional Record: 5-0-1
Home Gym: American Top Team
Key Wins: Rex Payne, Khomkrit Niimi
With the WEC gaining national attention from MMA fans, the featherweight
and bantamweight divisions are in the spotlight. It is only natural that the demand
for up and coming fi ghters like Chris Manuel has skyrocketed. Now that smaller fi ghters
can make a decent living in MMA, Manuel has emerged as one of the prospects that
will look to make a name for himself in World Extreme Cagefi ghting.
Training out of one of the world’s most highly renowned fi ght teams, American Top
Team, has given Manuel a place where he can build into a complete fi ghter and one
day become a champion. He is skilled in all aspects of MMA and possesses formidable
striking and a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from American Top Team, where he has
trained since beginning his MMA career.
Manuel has gone undefeated in his career thus far, stopping every single one of his
opponents by either submission or strikes. He now has the opportunity of a lifetime;
being signed by the WEC gives him a chance to shine in their exciting bantamweight
He won’t have an easy task ahead of him. Also making his WEC debut will be Shooto
standout and feared striker Kenji Osawa. Their bout has fi reworks written all over it.
If Manuel is able to come out on top, he will no doubt put himself into instant title
In a gym filled with talented fighters, Manuel is one of American Top Team’s brightest
prospects. Not only is he a fi ghter by trade, he is also one of the gym’s instructors. He
has a bright future ahead of him in MMA.