Updated: Oct 14, 2020
The amateur lightweight division gives us a rare situation where the 2nd ranked fighter has actually beat the top ranked fighter. Evolution Athletix striker Mohammad Al Kinani (7-1) currently sits atop this deep list, but he did lose to #2 Ramano Medina (5-0) back in mid 2018 by RNC. The two fighters have taken noticeably different paths since that 1 vs. 2 matchup at Combat Zone 66 for the lightweight belt. Al Kinani has gone 3-0 since the loss to Medina with 3 different promotions (NEF, Cage Titans, Combat Zone), besting #6 Chris O'Brien (4-2) and a very tough veteran in John McAndrews (5-3). The Maine based fighter has some of the cleanest striking in the amateur game, and his evolution as a fighter has been impressive. Al Kinani has earned this #1 spot over Medina due to his recent activity and quality wins that he's picked up. He was scheduled to fight #5 Dion Rubio (4-1) in April, but that was scrapped due to Covid-19. Mo's skills will translate very nicely at the pro level, and I'd expect to see him make the jump after maybe 1 or 2 more ammy fights. Al Kinani is one of the more talented amateurs within our region, and if he continues to progress the way he has, there's no doubt that a major promotion is in the cards.
Burgess MMA's Ramano Medina hasn't tasted defeat in his amateur MMA career, and through those 5 fights he's proven to have a super slick ground game that not many amateurs can hang with. Medina picked up quality wins over #1 Al Kinani, Chris Mehu (3-3), and current 1-0 pro stud Eddy George. Ramano is surely being held back from the top spot in the amateur lightweight rankings due to his inactivity, but this shouldn't throw shade on his potential to succeed at the next level. We're taking a "wait and see" approach with Medina, but he has the tools to make waves at the next level.
Massachusetts based fighter Matt "Machine" Bienia (6-2) grabs our number 3 ranking, but rumor has it he may be taking some time away from the sport. He lost his Reality Fighting lightweight belt to the aforementioned Eddy George, but he has recent quality wins over #6 Chris O'Brien and a very tough pro in Nate Ghareeb (2-0). We'll have to see if Bienia enters the cage again some time soon, but regardless, we've seen his skills in the cage and the kid's talented.
4th ranked Nate "The Mule" White trains with Jesse Erickson (10-8) and the crew at CMBJJ in Maine, and he sports an undefeated 5-0 record, all coming under the New England Fights banner. White has been super active, fighting on 5 NEF cards in a row and finishing all 5 of his opponents. "The Mule" is only 20 years old, but he's rattled off 5 quick wins in under a year. He's shown a diverse game that hasn't been tested by the best yet, so we look forward to White increasing the quality of his opponents in his coming fights. The outspoken White is bursting with confidence, and he's garnered some attention from the New England MMA community. Never one to mince words, White hasn't shied away from expressing his personal and political beliefs, but make no mistake about it, this kid can back up his big talk with his talents. It will be interesting to see how he fairs against some ranked opponents, but regardless, we'll be watching what "The Mule" says and does in the coming years.
Spots 5, 6, and 7 are owned by some talents that will have successful pro careers. One of the under-the-radar fighters in this division is 5th ranked Tri-Force standout Dion Rubio (4-1). He's got a well-rounded game, is tough as nails, and has the heart to traverse through deep waters. He's gone 4-1 so far, all under the Cage Titans banner alongside Mike Polvere, and he's looking to stay active once fights get underway again. His only loss came to Eddy George for the vacant Cage Titans lightweight belt.
Chris "The Bearded Dragon" O'Brien (4-2) holds down the 6th spot, and represents South Shore Sportfighting well. The Cage Titans mainstay has dropped his two most recent fights, but they were to #1 ranked Mo Al Kinani, and #3 ranked Matt Bienia. He's got a big win over Chris Sniger (3-2) for the Cage Titans lightweight belt, and has proven to be one of the most popular fighters in the amateur ranks. O'Brien's been clamoring to get back in the cage and has his sights set on moving up the rankings.
Maine is represented by 4 of the top 10 amateur lightweights, and one of those is Zac "Rocky" Richard (6-3-1) who owns the 7th spot. The Nostos MMA product has been super active, fighting 10 times in just under 2 years! He's fought the best of the best, so don't sleep on his record. He dropped a decision to #1 featherweight Tom Pagliarulo (5-1) for the NEF belt, lost to #3 featherweight Yorrick Anderson, and has a big win over #9 ranked featherweight Randy Francis for the vacant Reality Fighting 135 pound belt. A strong wrestling base is accompanied by an evolving striking game, but he'll need to really focus on becoming a better striker in order to have a chance at getting a call from a major promotion.
A bunch of killers reside on this list, and it will be fun to see where these young guns end up in the next few years.