(Dave Mandel/Sherdog)The MMA Corner’s 25 Hottest Prospects: Q1 Round Up Aidan O'Connor May 2, 2015 Spotlight At the end of 2014, I released a five-part series analyzing 25 of the hottest prospects in MMA. Competing around the world in some of the sport’s most elite organizations, these athletes were carefully selected on a combination of youthful age; impressive records; athletic pedigree; and previous performance against established opposition. Now, four months since that list was published, we look back on how these fighters have fared since The MMA Corner touted them for greatness. Thomas Almeida Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 UFC 186 was a coming out party for the up-and-coming future household name.. The Brazilian put his undefeated record to the test against Yves Jabouin and didn’t disappoint. Almeida cashed in on an extra $50,000 for his efforts. Tom Breese Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 BAMMA’s former welterweight champion Tom Breese has found greener pastures. The undefeated Englishman was snapped up by the UFC earlier this month after amassing a perfect 7-0 record outside the organization, winning all bouts by stoppage. He makes his debut on May 30 at UFC Fight Night 67, against fellow newcomer Luiz Dutra at the Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil. Chris Beal Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-1 The Real Deal did not start his 2015 in ideal fashion. Heading into UFC on FOX 14 with a 10-0 record, Beal left Sweden with a unanimous decision loss to Neil Seery against his name. It’s not all gloom for Chris Beal, however. The TUF 18 alumnus received Knockout of the Year honors from ESPN.com for his flying knee KO of Patrick Williams at UFC 172 last April. Mirsad Bektic Professional record since January 1, 2015: 1-0 It was business as usual for Bektic on the UFC on FOX 14 card that took place in January. The 24-year-old earned a unanimous decision win over Paul Redmond to bring his unblemished record up to 9-0. Bektic finds himself on the same upcoming UFC Fight Night 67 card as fellow MMA Corner top prospect Tom Breese. The Lincoln, Nebraska native flies down to Brazil to face Renato Carneiro. Both men have nine career victories and are yet to taste defeat. Darrion Caldwell Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 Caldwell is yet to see in-cage action this year but he won’t be waiting much longer. The Bellator standout makes his return on May 15 at Bellator 137, where he will meet a much more experienced fighter in Rafael Silva (22-4). Paul Felder Professional record since January 1, 2015: 1-0 After making out list, The Irish Dragon wasted no time cementing his status as a prospect and knockout artist. On the blockbuster January 3 card headlined by Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, Felder finished Danny Castillo with a spinning back fist that many were quick to tout as a Knockout of the Year candidate just three days into 2015. Felder’s next opponent has not yet been announced. Steve Garcia Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 The Mean Machine remains absent from Bellator’s cage since earning a split decision win against Kin Moy in his last outing at Bellator 123. One hopes that he has not been overlooked in the promotion’s rejuvenation under Scott Coker. No new fight has been confirmed yet, but Garcia has vocalized his intent to return in July. Desmond Green Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-1 Desmond Green’s first defense of his Titan FC featherweight championship did not go as planned. A close split decision loss to Kurt Holobaugh at Titan FC 33 back in March saw Green’s hopes of moving onto the UFC endure a harsh setback. The Team Bombsquad fighter, cited as one of the strongest prospects on our list, will look to rebound in impressive in his next outing, which has not yet been announced. Kyoji Horiguchi Professional record since January 1, 2015: 1-0 Of all the prospects on this list, it is Kyoji Horiguchi whose career has come farthest. On the same UFC 182 card that Paul Felder made his statement, Horiguchi catapulted himself to the top of the contender pile for Demetrious Johnson’s flyweight crown with a dominant unanimous decision win over Louis Gaudinot. Just four months later, the Japanese standout stood tall at UFC 186 opposite of Johnson. Horiguchi would see himself graduate from prospect to bona fide star if he can continue his early success. Kron Gracie Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 Despite reiterating a desire to return to MMA as soon as possible, Gracie – a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo black belt – is yet resume his career since earning a quick armbar submission victory at Real Fighting Championship: Real 1 in December 2014. Ryan LaFlare Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-1 After an 11 month layoff, LaFlare returned to the Octagon this spring in a main event bout against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist Demian Maia. Facing the toughest opponent of his career, LaFlare succumbed to the grappling prowess of Maia who successfully dictated the fight over five rounds to hand the New York welterweight the first loss of his career. Chad Laprise Professional record since January 1, 2015: 1-0 After besting Yosdenis Cedeno at the UFC’s debut event in Halifax, Nova Scotia last October, Chad Laprise was able to overcome a minimum storm for Bryan Barberena en route to a unanimous decision victory. Caio Magalhaes Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 The MMA world will have to wait a little longer to see if Caio Magalhaes can build on his impressive four-fight winning streak in the UFC. After a prospective meeting with Mark Munoz at UFC 184 was cancelled, Magalhaes now meets TUF 17 middleweight semifinalist Josh Samman on July 12 on the TUF 21 finale card. The explosive Brazilian middleweight most recently knocked out Trevor Smith in 31 seconds back in November. Rashid Magomedov Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 With his third round TKO victory over Elias Silverio still fresh in the minds of MMA fans, Magomedov’s next opponent has not yet been announced. Like his fellow lightweight compatriots Khabib Nurmagomedov and Rustam Khabilov, Magomedov has proven his readiness for a step up in competition caliber at 155 pounds. Pedro Munhoz Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 Since gaining a 39-second submission win over Jerrod Sanders at UFC Fight Night: Halifax last October, Munhoz is yet to return to the Octagon. In the meantime, the 12-1 bantamweight has spent time training at Blackhouse and American Top Team. Michael Page Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 Michael ‘Venom’ Page was set to be a focal point of Bellator 134’s main card earlier this year before a deep cut forced his removal from the event. The Englishman’s dynamic kickboxing fight style will be welcomed with open arms upon his return to the cage but no new bout has been announced yet. Chi Lewis-Parry Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 Lewis-Parry has compensated for a lack of competitive MMA action by entering the world of kickboxing. Signing with Glory, the British fighter overwhelmed Yong Su Park on his debut at Glory 20, earning the third fastest knockout in the promotion’s history. For his efforts, Lewis-Parry has earned himself a place in the Glory 21 Heavyweight tournament that airs May 8, live on Spike TV. ‘Chopper Chi’ meets Everett Sims in one semifinal, while Xavier Vigney takes on Maurice Jackson in the other bracket. The tournament winner will participate in a contender tournament to determine the next number challenger for the Glory heavyweight championship. Saul Rogers Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 The English lightweight, who competes under the Cage Warriors banner, has not seen competitive action since earning a unanimous decision over Mark Sinclair at CWFC 74. Aljamain Sterling Professional record since January 1, 2015: 1-0 After a lengthy spell on the sidelines, the Funk Master quickly asserted himself as a top prospect and perennial contender in the UFC’s bantamweight division. Picking a submission victory in the third frame of his bout with sixth-ranked Takeya Mizugaki, the undefeated Sterling’s next test could be in the top five. Toni Tauru Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 After winning the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship bantamweight title in September 2014, Tauru opted to undergo shoulder surgery on a lingering injury. The procedure will keep him on the sidelines until the summer. Brandon Thatch Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-1 After a 15 month layoff, Thatch finally returned to the Octagon in February. Through various card changes, including the withdrawal of Thatch’s original opponent Stephen Thompson, Rukus eventually found himself in the main event against former lightweight world champion Benson Henderson. Before a hometown crowd in Broomfield, Colorado, Thatch put on a strong display early on before succumbing to Henderson in the fourth round. Looking to rebound from the second loss of his career, Thatch faces John Howard on July 11 at UFC 189. Stephen Thompson Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 Thompson was initially scheduled to face fellow MMA Corner prospect Brandon Thatch on the aforementioned Colorado card until a rib injury forced his removal from the bout. The 10-1 welterweight does not have a new fight scheduled yet. Zubaira Tukhugov Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 Since earning a first round TKO victory over Ernest Chavez at UFC Fight Night: Nelson vs. Story, Tukhugov is yet to return to action. The 17-3 featherweight has won eight fights in a row. Christophe Van Dijck Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 Since earning a first round TKO victory over Dwayne Hinds at One FC 22 – Battle of Lions, Van Dijck is yet to return to action. The 7-1 welterweight is riding a five-fight win streak. James Vick Professional record since January 1, 2015: 0-0 While James Vick has not fought since winning a unanimous decision versus Nick Hein back in November, he will return to competition shortly. ‘The Texecutioner’ meets a fellow undefeated prospect in 20-year-old Jake Matthews on May 10, when the UFC travels to Adelaide, Australia to host UFC Fight Night: Hunt vs. Miocic. Stay tuned for the Q2 roundup, coming to you this July.