2018 scouting report: the flyweights

Sean Santella

The lightest division the UFC sanctions is ignored by Bellator but rather well supported by other independents.  LFA and Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series in particular pack in the flyweights, Bellator in 2017 had none.

Joby Sanchez fought twice in DWTNCS first defeating Manny Vazquez then six weeks later JP Buys, now he is scheduled to fight in the UFC in February.  Alex Perez defeated Victory FC champion Kevin Gray and earned a UFC contract, he has since won his UFC debut in December over Carls John de Tomas.  Casey Kenney defeated Cee Jay Hamilton then lost to Adam Antolin, Hamilton next headlines LFA while Antolin hasn’t fought since.  Carlos Candelario defeated Ronaldo Candido to remain undefeated, the downside is Candelario’s two previous fights in CES MMA were catchweights.  Also on the series at flyweight Jaime Alvarez and Jordan Espinosa

Cee Jay Hamilton

Roberto Sanchez was the Legacy Fighting Alliance champion for a little over a month from the time he won the inaugural title in late June to the time he was called to the UFC in August.  Sanchez at the time of his signing to the UFC was undefeated at 7-0 with wins in LFA against Klayton Mai and for the title Jerome Rivera but he lost his Octagon debut.  Rivera is now 7-0 with a win in LFA over Zac Riley at bantamweight leading to the title shot against Sanchez, Bellator vet Mai is sitting on two losses in a row. Of the 30 LFA shows so far there have been 14 main card fights at flyweight with Sanchez taking two of them.  An indication of LFA’s commitment to this division is seen with the main event of LFA 8 being Cee Jay Hamilton defeating Jesse Bazzi while Jared Scoggins defeated Juan Puerta also on the main card.  Hamilton went on to lose to Casey Kenney in DWTNCS and bounced back with a win over Ryan Hollis in regional promotion Warfare MMA.  Perhaps the best to keep an eye on is 8-1 Sid Bice whose only loss came against UFC vet Pedro Nobre at Titan FC in 2016 while his two most recent wins were in LFA over Cody Land and Kenny Porter.

Jose Torres

Technically Jose Torres is still Titan FC’s champion at flyweight however he is also their champion at bantamweight.  Torres won the title Tim Elliott vacated by defeating Adbiel Velasquez then defended it in last January against Nobre.  In May “Shorty” moved up to bantamweight to take the belt from then-champion Farkhad Sharipov and defended it against Gleidson DeJesus while his next fight is a bantamweight title defense against Alberto Orellano.  Torres was already offered a UFC contract after the Shripov fight but a broken hand caused him to have to wait.  Although Torres has been fighting at bantamweight he has refused to vacate the flyweight belt and claims to be willing to take fights at this weight if that is what it takes to get into the UFC.

Sean Santella

Another fighter who was offered a UFC fight that fell through is Cage Fury Fighting Championship flyweight champion Sean Santella.  After defeating Andrew Cseh Santella was offered a bout against Wilson Reis at UFC 201 in July 2016 but Santella was unable to get proper medical clearance and was pulled from the card.  Since then 19-6-1 Santella has gone 4-1 with a loss to Joseph Morales to go with wins over Matt Lozano, Nate Williams, and Kevin Gray with the Gray fight being Santella’s first defense of his second reign as CFFC champion.

Unfortunately One Championship featherweight king Adriano Moraes will probably never fight in the Octagon like Bibiano Fernandes at bantamweight.  Moraes first took the One title in 2014 with a defeat of Geje Eustaquio and defended it against Riku Shibura before losing it to Kairat Akhmetov in November 2015.  Moraes then defeated Eugene Toquero and Tilek Batyrov to earn a rematch against Akhmetov which he won last August.  Moraes’ first defense of his second reign ended in Moraes submitting Danny Kingad in November leaving his record 17-2.


  • CES MMA: vacant
  • CFFC: Sean Santella
  • LFA: vacant
  • M-1 Global: Aleksander Doskalchuk
  • One FC: Adriano Moraes
  • ROC: vacant
  • TFC: Jose Torres
  • TPF: Casey Kenney
  • VFC: Kevin Gray
  • Others: Jerome Rivera, Cee Jay Hamilton, Sid Bice, Adam Antolin, Carlos Candelario