Who Are The Rising Stars Of The UFC In 2022?
The world of UFC – and MMA in general – doesn’t attract the same crowds and headlines as some of the world’s more popular sports like soccer, basketball and football but there is no question that it is edging towards becoming a much more mainstream sport over recent years.
With big personalities, a growing respect for the skills involved and wider exposure thanks to ever-advancing technology we expect the gap to the ‘big sports’ to keep narrowing. Key to making that happen is having a conveyor belt of talent coming through. As such, we thought we’d look at some of the rising stars of the UFC.
How are we defining the rising stars of the UFC?
Before we get into a few names, we thought we’d detail our definition of a rising star. For us, it’s not about their age but, instead, their history in the UFC. How much have they fought? What do they have to prove? Have they showed signs of having a high ceiling? All of those factors come into our thinking.
Right, who are the rising stars of the UFC?
Number 5. Jake Hadley
Kicking off our look at the rising stars of the UFC is Jake Hadley. The newcomer, who is only 25-years-old, is yet to fight in the octagon but he does arrive with a decent record elsewhere having put together an 8-0 record. Within that streak, half of those victories have come courtesy of a lethal rear-naked choke whilst the other four wins are split evenly between knockouts and unanimous decisions.
That’s seen the fighter himself claim he can do anything that is needed of him inside the cage; he’ll have to back that up but the confidence he’s showing is great to see. We think he could bring the house down when his UFC career eventually gets going! Here’s how his odds look like for the next fights here.
Number 4. Evan Elder
The inclusion of Evan Elder in this list of the rising stars of the UFC might raise a couple of eyebrows but, please, bear with us. Now, we can’t ignore his UFC debut, which ended in defeat to Preston Parsons.
That said, his performance in that fight and his wider MMA record suggest there is definitely a real fighter in there somewhere. You can choose to focus on his loss at UFC Fight Night 205 but an alternative is to look at the fact he took Parsons to a decision; that is the first time anyone has managed to do that to him.
On top of that, his MMA record prior to his UFC move was unblemished with seven straight wins. His battle with Parsons will have taught him a few harsh lessons and, providing he can learn from them, we so no reason why he can’t carve out a decent UFC career.
Number 3. Tatsuro Taira
Japanese product Tatsuro Taira is another fighter who is early on his UFC career. In fact, he’s yet to fight with his debut being pushed back until May 14th. Considering that Taira comes in ranked as the number one prospect out of Japan, he will take to the octagon full of confidence as he fights Carlos Candelario; ‘the cannon’ hasn’t fought much recently and his last fight saw him lose. Throw into the mix that Tairo has never lost a fight (amateur or pro) and he’s got a real chance to put down a marker. In terms of what we can expect from the Okinawa born flyweight, he’ll want to bring this fight to the canvas with his ability to choke a fighter out particularly notorious from his time in his homeland.
Number 2. Khusein Askhabov
At 27-years-old Khusein Askhabov isn’t your traditional rising star but he hasn’t yet fought in the UFC hence we feel he should qualify for our rankings here. There is no denying what he could bring to the UFC either because his record and fighting style is something to be admired. In 23 professional fights, he’s yet to lose or draw a single one and, the way he finishes bouts is equally impressive.
His track record of wins includes a mix of stoppages and decisions but with everything from submissions, hits, kicks and knees having ended his fights there really isn’t an area he’ll be scared of going to when he takes to the octagon to face Herbert Burns.
Number 1. Bryce Mitchell
Bryce Mitchell is another fighter that isn’t exactly a spring chicken but we are expecting big things from the jiu-jitsu master over the coming period of months and years. So far, the American is 0 from 15 fights and has recorded nine wins by submission.
His ability to win by submission shouldn’t be overlooked either because he ends things in style; the submission victory over Matt Sayles saw him awarded Submission of the Year by various outlets whilst he’s also earned a ‘Fight of the Night’ award for his face off with Bobby Moffett. More recently, the way he dispatched of Edson Barboza has seen talk of a title fight swirl. It might not come straight away but eventually, he will top the featherweight division.