20 UFC Prospects To Watch For This Year

Ilia Topuria, UFC 270
Ilia Topuria, Credit: Gabriel Gonzales/ Cageside Press

Featherweight, Ilia Topuria (11-0)

Topuria is someone that has had the attention of fans for a while. So far he’s beat Youssef Zalal in his debut, knocked out veteran Damon Jackson, and knocked out TUF 22 winner Ryan Hall. He’s a Greco-Roman wrestler with a jiu-jitsu black belt who has surging striking. His grappling is his bread and butter and the wrestling to get to that point has been perfect. Not just a wrestler/grappler at all as he has some pop in his hands and goes body-head so well. No doubt Topuria will be ranked if he stays healthy.

Rafael Alves and Damir Ismagulov, UFC Vegas 27
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 22: (L-R) Damir Ismagulov of Russia punches Rafael Alves of Brazil in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 22, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Lightweight, Damir Ismagulov (23-1)

Damir Ismagulov was the M-1 Challenge lightweight champion before signing with the UFC in late 2018. Ismagolov isn’t really talked about among all the rising up-and-comers and he’s quietly gone 4-0 for the promotion. Mainly the reason is that he hasn’t fought much. Highlighted wins in the octagon are Joel Alvarez and Thiago Moises that look really good. Talent-wise he’s going to be a problem in the division being able to do it all.


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