MMA Prospect Roundtable 2023: Which Up-and-Comers Are UFC-Ready?

Rodrigo Vera
Photo credit: Rodrigo Vera’s Instagram

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Samandar Murodov (8-0)

Murodov is a dominant wrestler and grappler from Tajikistan. He is 8-0 over great competition, and is only 23 years old. In his last fight, he defeated Gian Siqueira (19-4) in a Road to UFC showcase bout. Samandar is definitely ready for the UFC, and given his age I have little doubt he could become a UFC champion.

Rodrigo Vera (15-1-1)

UFC has recently signed multiple fighters from Peru, such as Daniel Marcos, Rolando Bedoya, and Gaston Bolanos. If they want to continue that trend, Rodrigo Vera would be a good signing. He is a 27-year-old bantamweight coming off a win over Rickson Thai Zenidim who was 13-0 going into that fight.

Marcus Paulo Amaral (16-3)

Flyweight is one of the most exciting divisions in the UFC right now, despite the roster being somewhat thin. The UFC’s flyweight division needs more numbers, and Marcus Paulo Amaral would be an exciting signing. Amaral is 30 years old with a grappling-heavy style.

Shamuhaer Aidelibieke (9-2)

UFC is trying to become more popular in Asia, and a good way to do that would be to have more Asian fighters on the roster. Shamuhaer Aidelibieke is a Chinese flyweight who has already scored some great wins, including his most recent win over Shuai Yin. In his next fight, he faces a very tough test against DWCS veteran Zhifa Shang, but if he beats Shang he will have proven himself to be ready for the UFC.

Magomedrasul Gasanov (18-2)

Gasanov doesn’t have the most exciting fighting style, but he is very high-level. Adesanya’s dominance has made the UFC’s middleweight division somewhat stale, so UFC needs to sign guys that can climb the rankings quickly at 185. Gasanov could be one of those guys. The only issue is UFC would have to make a fair bid to sign Gasanov away from ACA.