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On The Rise: Caros Fodor

By Kelsey Mowatt, photo Esther Lin / Strikeforce

Since arriving in Strikeforce last year, Caros “The Future” Fodor has done everything to live up to his nickname, as the AMC Pankration fighter has won three straight bouts to demonstrate he’s one of the promotion’s fastest rising lightweights. Fighting on Strikeforce’s Challengers cards, a series dedicated to the organization’s up-and-coming talent, Fodor has scored wins over Ousmane Thomas Diagne, Derek Getzel, and most recently David “Tarzan” Douglas, to approach ‘big league’ player status.

“I think I’m an up-and-comer,” Fodor told FCF, when asked where he believes he resides in Strikeforce’s lightweight division. “I don’t think I’m anywhere near a title shot. There are probably five good guys ahead of me, but I think for this next guy I’d love to start fighting contenders. Hopefully within my next five fights, with this next contract, if I keep winning I can get a title shot.”

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On the Rise: John “The Bull” Makdessi

By Kelsey Mowatt

For people that have followed the already extensive martial arts career of John “The Bull” Makdesssi , they may have been somewhat prepared for the 26 year-old-fighter’s electrifying, spinning back-fist knockout of Kyle Watson at UFC 129. For thousands of other MMA fans catching Makdessi fighting for the first time, however, it’s unlikely the undefeated lightweight could have made a more memorable first impression.

“It’s always nice to get that exposure,” Makdessi told FCF recently while discussing the thrilling third round, knockout that was featured in the April 30th, UFC 129 broadcast. “I’ve been training all my life so to get that type of recognition is a great honor. I love fighting in Canada, my home country, so it was an amazing time.”

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On the Rise: Joe Ellenberger

By Kelsey Mowatt

While welterweight Jake Ellenberger has increased his profile dramatically throughout the MMA world with four consecutive wins in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, his fraternal twin brother Joe could soon be joining him on the sport’s biggest stage. In fact, the undefeated, 26 year-old lightweight appeared to be UFC bound back in 2009, right before the rare blood disease Paroxysmol Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria brought Ellenberger’s promising career to a screeching halt.

“I’ve definitely thought ‘oh I could be there’ or ‘I’ve done this in the last six months, where would I have been two years ago,” said Ellenberger, who after being diagnosed with PNH had to turn down an offer to fight for the UFC in December, 2009, and then didn’t fight throughout all of 2010 due to the disease. “It crosses your mind, but again it’s nothing I can really control. It is what is; I’m just glad I’m back fighting.”

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Mike Ricci

On the Rise: Tristar Lightweight Mike Ricci

By Kelsey Mowatt

Over the years, Montreal’s Tristar Gym has forged a reputation for not only being one of Canada’s top training facilities, but for producing and preparing some of mixed-martial-arts best athletes. Through the accomplishments of UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre, veterans Ivan Menjivar, Miguel Torres and rising star Rory MacDonald, among many others, the Firas Zahabi led camp has become a household name throughout the sport.

One of the fighters who appears on his way to becoming the latest Tristar fighter to establish himself on the international scene is 25 year-old Mike Ricci. Since turning professional in 2008, Ricci has become one of Canada’s top lightweight prospects by going 6-1, which includes a decision win over recent Strikeforce winner, Jordan Mein.

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On the Rise: Ex-Hockey Enforcer Steve Bosse

Ex-Hockey Enforcer Says “Now I’m a MMA Fighter and a UFC Fighter Soon”

When the now defunct TKO promotion announced in 2007 that professional hockey player Steve Bosse was set to begin his MMA career with the company, it’s safe to say that more than a few eyebrows were raised throughout the Canadian MMA community. At the time, Bosse was one of the North American Hockey League’s most active fighters and well known enforcers, and some critics questioned whether or not TKO’s move was purely a publicity stunt. Well, having put together a MMA record of 9-1 over the last four years, which includes victories over several established vets, there is little doubt now that Bosse has become a legitimate, MMA prospect.

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Manzanares (photo via Phenom Management)

On the Rise: Matt Manzanares

Flyweight Prospect: “I Never Thought I’d Be Where I’m At Right Now”

By Kelsey Mowatt

Thanks to an undefeated professional record and an impressive run during an amateur career which lasted from 2009 through 2011, it hasn’t taken Matt Manzanares long to register as a flyweight on the rise. In fact, despite having been involved in combative sports for years, even the 25 year-old-fighter has been surprised by how fast his MMA career has been moving.

“I never thought I would be where I’m at right now,” said Manzanares, who has gone 5-0 since he turned professional just last June. “But I knew once I got into it the sky was the limit for me. I was going to work my hardest at it and I wasn’t going to let anything bring me down. I have a loving family and all these supporters who give fighters opportunities to let them know who they are, so that keeps me humble and makes me want to work harder to achieve my goals.”

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Rick Glenn (photo via Score Fighting Series)

On the Rise: Roufusport Prospect Rick Glenn

Tells UFC “Whenever They Want Me I’ll Be There For Them”

By Kelsey Mowatt

Rick Glenn headed to Sarnia, Ontario recently to extend his undefeated streak to 10 and continue his rise up the featherweight ranks. While the Roufusport prospect has certainly faced adversity before, Glenn had more on his mind than normal heading into his Score Fighting Series bout with Lyndon Whitlock.

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Jason Saggo (photo via The Score)

On the Rise: SFS Lightweight Jason Saggo

By Kelsey Mowatt

Rising lightweight Jason Saggo will close out his 2012 campaign having moved significantly closer to his dream of competing in the UFC, by extending his record to 8-1. Saggo scored submission wins over Eric Attard and Iraj Hadin while competing for the growing Score Fighting Series promotion this year, and as a result, more and more people throughout Canadian MMA are taking stock of the 27 year-old-fighter.

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Lima (photo via Maximum Fighting.com)

On the Rise: Welterweight Prospect Dhiego Lima “Shooting For The UFC”

By Kelsey Mowatt

Although Dhiego Lima may not be as familiar to fans as his older brother and Bellator star Douglas Lima, the 23 year-old prospect continues to show he’s not the only family member who could be headed to MMA’s bigger stages. After stopping Roger Carroll at a Wild Bill’s Fight Night card last month, Lima’s record now stands at 8-1, which include four wins under the Maximum Fighting Championship’s banner. That’s not a bad resume to have when you’re currently a free agent and entertaining offers.

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On the Rise: Fit Plus Fighter Chris Kelades Eyeing Big Fights in 2014

By Kelsey Mowatt

Chris Kelades may not fit the profile of your typical MMA prospect, since he’s 33 years old, but since the Nova Scotia fighter turned pro in 2009 he’s done nothing but win. Following a recent submission win over Rick Doyle at Extreme Cage Combat 19, Kelades carries a record of 6-0, and is hoping to make his mark internationally in 2014.

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