Top 5 Unranked UFC Prospects You Should Know About
The UFC is a shark tank when it comes to up and coming talent, so making it into the top 15 of any division in the UFC is already an achievement in its own right. Today, however, we’re going to take a look at the most promising fighters that are yet to have a number next to their name.
Raoni Barcelos has showcased why he’s such a highly touted prospect ever since his TUF win over Chris Gutierrez. The Brazilian is a five time national wrestling champion, with exceptional takedown defense and crisp, technical striking. This man wouldn’t even be on this list if luck was on his side since throughout the past year, three scheduled fights against different ranked opponents fell through. Instead of fighting up the chain, he now finds himself fighting Timur Valiev, a 17-2 prospect out of Russia, a victory in that bout will surely be enough to reschedule a fight against a ranked opponent and give Barcelos the recognition he deserves.
- Damir Ismagulov
4 fights into his UFC career, Damir Ismagulov has excelled in arguably the deepest division in the sport, beating the likes Rafael Alves, Joel Alvarez and most notably the now #14 Thiago Moises, whose three fight win streak has earned him a fight against #9 Islam Makhachev. Damir’s dominance isn’t surprising since he is the former M-1 world champion, well versed in all areas of martial arts. Solely his injury struggles are keeping him from realizing his potential at a faster rate, and the fighters in his division should all be put on notice.
- Makhmud Muradov
He may have 6 losses on his record, but Uzbekistani Makhmud Muradov is currently on a 14 fight win streak. A talented kickboxer, Muradov’s style is very satisfying to watch, back to back KOs of Trevor Smith and Andrew Sanchez have earned him a matchup against Gerald Meerschaert. If he’s able to overcome GM3’s ground game, that should be a comfortable victory for Muradov, keep an eye out for this exciting striker.
- Miguel Baeza
Contender series alumni Miguel “Caramel Thunder” Baeza is right on the fringes of the 170 lbs rankings. His last two fights were an impressive knockout against the notoriously tough Matt Brown and an Arm Triangle Choke against Kamaru Usman’s teammate and fellow prospect Takashi Sato. His upcoming fight against Santiago Ponzinibbio is his toughest test to date, and a very good way to determine whether the man fighting out Florida belongs with the elite of the sport.
- Alexander Romanov
Romanov is an undefeated prospect at heavyweight who rarely disappoints. 13 of his 14 victories have come via finish thanks to his dominating ground game, which was tested in his last fight, in a decision victory over fellow prospect Juan Espino, another top grappler. Romanov’s skillset is definitely good enough to break into the top 15 of a rather stale heavyweight division, where fresh talent is desperately needed. Don’t be surprised to see a number next to the Moldovan’s name by the end of this year.