Five fighters to watch from Tristar Gym

There are always young, up-and-coming fighters to watch around the world. Unfortunately most mixed martial arts fans don’t get to know these diamonds in the rough unless they are in the UFC.

That is where decided to get involved to bring you “Five fighters to watch from…” feature.

In this edition we will bring you the top five prospects from Montreal’s own Tristar gym. When you think of Tristar you may picture the likes of Georges St-Pierre or Rory MacDonald, but Tristar coach Firas Zahabi personally gave me these five fighters.

Five fighters to watch from Tristar Gym

Check them out below in no particular order.

Alex Garcia (9-1) – Twitter @AlexGarciaMMA


Garcia began his MMA career with a very impressive six-fight winning streak, with most of them coming under the Ringside MMA banner. He lost his lone fight in April 2011 to now UFC fighter Seth Baczynski. Since the loss, “The Dominican Nightmare” has gone 3-0, with his most recent victory over Ryan Dickson at Challenge MMA 1. At 26-years old Garcia will look to break past the Canadian scene and on to the big stage very soon.

Nordine Taleb (8-2) – Twitter @NordineTaleb


The 32-year old Quebec native may not be the youngest fighter in the shed, but his experience alone brings nightmares to his training partners. He is coming off a loss at Bellator 74 to Marius Zaromskis which was almost a year ago. With a record like his, look for the big show to be calling if he picks up one more victory soon.

Kajan Johnson (19-10) – Twitter @IamRagin


The product of Burns Lake, British Columbia is a true veteran of the sport and has nearly 30 fights under his belt. Johnson has fought some big names in the sport, including his fellow training partner and friend Rory MacDonald. Since that loss in 2007, “Ragin” has gone 7-1-1 with his most recent victory coming over Richie Whitson at MFC 31 in October 2011. Johnson has had numerous unfortunate training injuries occur since making the move to Montreal and no one has seen his true potential.

Olivier Aubin-Mercier (3-0) 


It will likely take Aubin-Mercier a few more fights to make it to the glamor and lights of the UFC, but with an undefeated record at the tender age of 24, he definitely has time to grow. His three victories have come via first round submission. He seems to be the young male version of Ronda Rousey, however he is picking up rear-naked chokes in the first round and not armbars. With The Ultimate Fighter coming to Canada in the not so distant future, Aubin-Mercier is a likely candidate to make the show.

Mandel Nallo (1-0) – Twitter @NoTweetMandel


Nallo only has one fight under his belt, but it came with an impressive finish. At Slamm 1 back in October 2012, Nallo defeated Joseph Latour via head-kick TKO at just 39-seconds of the very first round. The fact that the welterweight fighter has had such a great amateur career and now a fantastic start to his pro career there is no telling what the future holds. Being a welterweight, he has the tutelage of Rory MacDonald and arguably one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters ever UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre so Canada and the World look out for Mandel Nallo.


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