Strawweight | 31 | Ontario, Canada | 4-0 | Win Streak: 8 | 2 KO/TKOs, 1 Submission
Originally from Canada, Jasudavicius has fought in the US, most notably for CFFC in her last bout. 4-0 as a pro, Jasudavicius also went 4-0 as an amateur as well as a 3-0 record in boxing. She looked really good and has improved leaps and bounds with each fight. She’s a finisher as well and that is what we need for the Contender Series.
Welterweight | 24 | Tulsa, Oklahoma, US | 9-0 | Win Streak: 13 | 5 KO/TKOs, 1 Submission
Matt Dixon has been contacted for the Contender Series before and even for a UFC fight on short notice. Dixon is in my eyes one of the better unknown prospects right now. It will be noted that his level of competition hasn’t been the best fighting just mainly decent regional talent. He has the skills and tools to go far in the sport however.
Lightweight | 26 | Marshall, Texas, US | 7-1 | Win Streak: 5 | 5 Submissions
Brant Moore first jumped out to me when he beat a good prospect in Nation Gibrick last November. He has experience in grappling and as a pro boxer. His last two fights have been good showings for LFA. Moore is good on the feet but his grappling is game-changing. I think he would be a big threat no matter who he fought.
Featherweight | 33 | Albuquerque, New Mexico, US | 8-1 | Win Streak: 5 | 2 KO/TKOs, 5 Submissions
Andrew Tenneson has a lot of things going against him: he is a bit older at 33 and his strength of schedule is slightly weak. He still is promising and deserving of this opportunity however, as he’s won all his fights since his defeat to UFC contender Cory Sandhagen. Tenneson is a product out of Jackson Wink MMA whose last three fights have been for LFA.
Featherweight | 25 | Bauru, São Paulo, Brazil | 11-2-1 | Win Streak: 10 | 5 KO/TKOs, 5 Submissions
Brazilian Joanderson Brito has been on a roll since his last loss in 2015, going 10-0-1 in his last eleven fights. He’s fought for the likes of Future FC and Thunder Fight which are two top promotions out of Brazil. He’s also the former Fusion FC champ, a promotion based in Peru. In his most recent fight, he made his US debut for LFA and beat a top prospect in Jose Mariscal.
Bantamweight | 31 | Boca Raton, Florida, US | 9-4 | Win Streak: 3 | 5 KO/TKOs, 1 Submissions
Irwin Rivera just beat an opponent in Danny Sabatello who I thought would be on the Contender Series, at least prior to that fight. Rivera has had a few setbacks in his career but is now on a bit of a roll against some good competition. He’s also the defending Titan FC bantamweight champion. In his last three fights it definitely feels like he has earned a big spot on the Contender Series.
Bantamweight | 27 | Nashville, Tennessee, US | 5-1 | Win Streak: 2 | 3 KO/TKOs
Ronnie Lawrence is still, for the most part, an unknown prospect. He had a long absence after his Bellator debut loss to Steve Garcia Jr who is now in the UFC. He came back last year and quickly picked up two impressive wins. Lawrence is a very dynamic fighter with a big arsenal of weapons. He’s very flashy on the feet and still a good wrestler and grappler. THe level of competition he’s beat hasn’t been too good but a spot on the Contender Series is deserved.
Lightweight | 26 | Las Vegas, Nevada, US | 4-0 | Win Streak: 9 | 2 KO/TKOs
As an amateur, Sherrard Blackledge was successful in becoming the Tuff-N-Uff lightweight champ along with other regional titles. He’s another guy that hasn’t been truly tested yet but has shown a high ceiling still. Living in Las Vegas, he trains out of Syndicate MMA with some very good fighters. Blackledge still needs some sharpening around the edges but with his skills already it looks good for his future.
Featherweight | 29 | Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | 8-1-1 | Win Streak: 1 | 6 KO/TKOs, 1 Submisson
In 2016 Jonas Bilharinho was one of the best prospects out of Brazil but suffered a loss. Following that loss, Bilharinho took a layoff for a little over two years. He came back last October and scored a highlight-reel flying knee knockout. He’s such a good fighter that I think can go right into the UFC and make noise. Bilharinho has never fought in the states though so I’m not sure if they will go after him for the Contender Series — but they should.
Bantamweight | 30 | Moscow, Russia | 16-2 | Win Streak: 6 | 5 KO/TKOs, 2 Submissions
Aside from competing in Freestyle Wrestling, BJJ, Grappling, and Kickboxing, Timur Valiev is a three-time Russian style Unifight champion, as well as a Russian Pankration Champion, European Pankration Champion, and a Dagestan/New Jersey Grappling Champion. His accolades speak for themselves. The Jackson-Wink MMA product is a top prospect to watch for who is long overdue for that UFC contract.
Strawweight | 20 | Fullerton, California, US | 6-3 | Win Streak: 3 | 2 KO/TKOs, 3 Submissions
Kay Hansen has a .500 record but is on a three-fight win streak. She’s still very young so she still has a lot of time for growth. Hansen has already improved so much and shown that in the Invicta cage against good competition for the most part. She’s such a gritty fighter who is an excellent wrestler and grappler. Whether or not if it’s now or later Hansen will be a problem for future fighters in the UFC.
Featherweight | 25 | Puebla de Zaragoza, México | 18-3 | Win Streak: 6 | 6 KO/TKOs, 10 Submissions
If I’m not mistaken Lopes is the BJJ coach of UFC contender Irene Aldana. Lopez himself is a very talented fighter out of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil. He’s the current LUX featherweight champion a promotion out of Mexico. He has two key wins over Marco Beltran and Rony Jason who are two former UFC fighters.
Light-heavyweight | 33 | Salvador, Bahia, Brazil | 6-2 | Win Streak: 6 | 6 KO/TKOs, 1 Submission
Andre Miranda started off his career at 0-2 but has hit his stride and won his next six fights. In his most recent bout, Miranda won the Jungle Fights heavyweight title. He is a bit old at 33 but doesn’t have a lot of fighting years on him so he is still relatively fresh in his career. Not to mention the heavyweight division is generally the oldest in MMA. He has a submission win on his record but is a striker at heart.
Light-heavyweight | 28 | Trnava, Slovakia | 7-1 | Win Streak: 6 | 5 KO/TKOs, 2 Submissions
Martin Buday is a prospect that’s stood out in the last two years. He is currently arguably the best prospect out of Eastern Europe. Besides being 7-1 as a pro he went 3-0 as an amateur. Outside of MMA, Buday is a 2x IBJJF European NoGi champion and an ISFA European grappling champion. His sole loss is to The Ultimate Fighter Season 28 winner Juan Espino.
Lightweight | ? | Vancouver, British Columbia | 6-0 | Win Streak: 6 | 3 KO/TKOs
Archilles Estremadura is fairly unknown but still quietly one of the best prospects out of Canada. Footage is hard to find on him but of what all I’ve heard he seems like the real deal. What’s a better stage to showcase your skills to a wider audience other than the Contender Series?
Bantamweight | 23 | Middletown, New Jersey, US | 4-0 | Win Streak: 9 | 2 KO/TKOs
Like a few on this list, Paul Capaldo is still young in his career but I will say it already seems like he’s now in his prime. He fights for Cage Fury Fighting Championship (CFFC) and they have really developed him into a must-watch prospect. He already has everything you look for in a fighter and is someone I’m sure will have a breakout year in 2020. Why not give him a spot to develop on the Contender Series?
Welterweight | 28 | North Memphis, Tennessee, US | 12-2 | Win Streak: 3 | 5 KO/TKOs
Jaleel Willis seemed to be on the verge of a UFC call up or a Contender Series placement a few times, but some setbacks threw him off track. Now he’s on a three-fight win streak and back at 175lbs where I think he’s at his best. Willis is quite athletic and a top-notch wrestler who still has some things to learn but is a bright prospect.