Five Fighters to Watch from American Kickboxing Academy

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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 this “Five fighters to watch from…” feature.

In this edition, we bring you the top five prospects from San Jose’s American Kickboxing Academy. The gym known as AKA is home to talent such as UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez, Light Heavyweight number one contender Daniel Cormier, Middleweight kingpin Luke Rockhold, Lightweight talent Khabib Nurmagomedov and more.

Five Fighters to Watch from American Kickboxing Academy

Along with the above talent, they gym has a crop of upcoming talent and AKA head coach Javier Mendez  personally gave me the following names. Check them out below in no particular order:

Courtesy of Awakening Fighters

Courtesy of Awakening Fighters

Brianna “The Bull” Van Buren (3-1) 

All three of Van Buren’s pro victories came under the Rogue Fights banner, with two of them coming via knockout and TKO. Her lone loss came to Invicta FC fighter Stephanie Eggink under the XFC banner. “The Bull” went 4-0 in her amateur career, with three of those four fights coming in the year 2012. No word on when the strawweight will fight next, but look for excitement no matter who her opponent is. Her coach believes she will be a future world champion.

Ousmane Thomas Diagne

Ousmane Thomas Diagne (5-4) 

The record may not look too impressive, but AKA head trainer Javier Mendez says he is one to watch and will be known by the world very soon. The French lightweight lost his last outing, but prior to that he was riding an impressive four-fight winning streak with each of those wins coming via TKO or knockout. Four of Diagne’s five victories have come via stoppage, so you know when he steps inside a cage you are going to get something flashy.


Davin Clark (5-1-2)

Clark began his pro career with an unusual split-draw, but followed up with three victories in a row. Strangely enough his next outing was a draw as well and he then picked up his first loss on his record in 2011. The San Jose native is now riding a two-fight winning streak, however has not fought since June of 2012. Expect this kid to make a splash very soon.


Shawn Bunch (2-1)

Don’t count Shawn Bunch out even though he hasn’t stepped inside the cage since his 2013 knockout loss to Steve Garcia at Bellator 105. Mendez feels that he is coming along nicely and will get back on track just like he did in his first two fights both being under the Bellator banner as well. Bunch will step back inside the Bellator cage on October 3 against David Duran.


Dwight Grant (3-1) 

The New York middleweight went 3-0 in his amateur career and is currently riding a two-fight winning streak. Both those victories were TKO stoppages with the Reality Fighting promotion. Grant has yet to fight under the American Kickboxing Academy title, however Mendez feels he will be a dark horse and will do great.

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Jeremy Brand started up this lovechild called back in 2009. It began as a hobby project and has turned into much more. In his spare time, you can find Jeremy on the mats, as he is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

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