During this MMA hiatus, we’ve taken to scouting the globe and selecting five top prospects from each country for the most part. In this edition, we take a look at some of the top fighting prospects coming out of the UK. Plenty of red-hot prospects hail from there, of course, and ply their trade in promotions like BAMMA and Cage Warriors. Some notable fighters from the region are, of course, Leon and Fabian Edwards, Marc Diakiese, Paul Daley, Michael Page, Darren Till, Arnold Allen and many more.
Bantamweight, Jack Cartwright (8-0)
Jack Cartwright had a huge 2019 getting four wins, signing with Cage Warriors, and winning the Cage Warriors title. Last September Cage Warriors held a one-night four-man tournament. Among the names, Cartwright was the biggest underdog and won with two first-round knockouts. Cartwright has been wrestling since the age of five and has a background as a former ABA boxer. Cartwright just recently began showing his striking; with his power and timing he’s just as good as he is as a grappler. The Brit is a good wrestler and more of an exceptional grappler. He’s got a very dangerous guillotine and d’arce he’s finished with a few times.
Lightweight, Rhys McKee (10-2-1)
Rhys McKee has a lot of good fundamentals in his stand-up. He has an excellent jab and sets up overhands perfectly. Fighting at range he has solid kickboxing and overall distance control as he can knock you out at any time. When McKee gets inside he throws a lot of nasty elbows and knees proving to have some nasty Muay Thai. McKee also has some wonderful leg kicks he throws in combinations mixing it up. McKee is a staple in the UK scene fighting for both Cage Warriors and BAMMA. “Skeletor” is a former two-time BAMMA lightweight champion. He has a key win over current Cage Warriors champion, Jai Herbert.
Featherweight, Shoaib Yousaf (7-1)
Only 7-1 as a pro, Shoaib Yousaf went 10-0 as an amateur and was the 2016 IMMAF Featherweight World Champion. Yousaf is dynamic on the feet with both his kickboxing and his counter-striking along with the great timing he has. His ground game is arguably his best aspect. His jiu-jitsu is fantastic, and he has a very active guard. As a pro, he won the UK Fighting Championship 155-pound title. As an amateur he made a name for himself winning the 2016 IMMAF World Championship.
Flyweights, Jake Hadley (5-0)
Jake Hadley is only 5-0 as a pro but in his amateur career, he was successful and was a 4x amateur British flyweight champion. When Hadley was only 3-0 as a pro he fought a top prospect in Nkazimulo Zulu. Hadley beat him for the EFC Worldwide Flyweight Championship. Hadley hasn’t really had much time on the feet, but it seems he knows what to do if he can’t get the fight to the mat. Hadley is a good wrestler but it’s his jiu-jitsu that is his best aspect. His transitions are smooth and his ability to take the back is superb. He’s a big submission threat with nine career submissions.
Lightweight, Mason Jones (9-0)
Undefeated Mason Jones fights out of Blaenavon, Wales, and is a nice prospect at only 24-years old. Jones is a good wrestler who has some very well-timed level changes and is very good at taking the back where he has two rear-naked chokes. Jones’ grappling is good in general but his ground-and-pound is also a difference-maker. On the feet, Jones is always going to be in your face pushing you against the fence, landing knees, and lethal elbows in the clinch. He’s always aggressive, throwing a lot of volume, and really has solid cardio with the pace he brings. The competition he’s beat has been solid as the combined record of his opponents is 51-21. Jones in his last fight won the Cage Warriors lightweight title which is a big thing.