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

Ali Taleb Credit: UAE Warriors

Craig Allen is a great analyst out of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. He has a good outlook on the prospects coming out of Canada. Not only should you follow Craig on Twitter, you should also subscribe to Fight Night Picks on Youtube. He is the host of that channel and does excellent coverage for each UFC event.

Tom Pagliarulo: While the level of competition hasn’t been the strongest, coming from one of the bigger gyms in the North East in the New England Cartel has helped round out “The Phenom”’s game. Came onto my radar at NEF 38 in 2019 by beating the promotion’s budding star Zac Richard, Pagliarulo brought the success of a 5-1 amateur career forward and already boasts a 6-1 mark as a pro with five stoppage victories. He’s a can’t miss prospect and with teammate Nick Fiore making it to the UFC with a nearly identical record, one would assume Pagliarulo is on the radar.

Nathan Ghareeb: Familiarity with Pagliarulo and Fiore, Ghareeb is a leg kicker like no other. This strike is a talking point in every MMA show in 2023, and Ghareeb throws them with reckless intent. A 6-3 amateur career, 8-2 as a pro and 6-1 with CES, he was unable to earn the promotion’s featherweight belt last year in a split decision loss to Dan Dubuque, but, he’s rebounded nicely with wins by suloev stretch and rear naked choke since. A wrestling background and well-rounded skill set make Ghareeb a lock to find one of the bigger promotions in 2023.

Mateo Vogel: You’re reading this and you know Mateo. Vogel’s featured in high level bouts with TKO, CFFC and most recently as BFL featherweight champ capping three straight wins in Vancouver. His jiu jitsu black belt features heavily in his best performances, with five of his eight wins coming by way of submission and with wins over big prospects Serhiy Sidey and Garrett Armfield, he’s surely on the radar of the big shows.

Ali Taleb: All of a sudden with the arrival of Karl Williams and Yanal Ashmouz, the UFC have begun to sign recent PFL castaways, insert Ali Taleb. Taleb, a postlim player in his lone PFL feature last fall, is undefeated and has only been to decision once since turning pro in 2019. His UAE Warriors bantamweight title win last summer over Vinicius de Oliveira cemented him as a top 135lb prospect, and training at well-known Redline in Sweden and Bangtao in Thailand makes it all the likelier we see him make a big jump in 2023. He’s slated for the PFL Europe series later on this year, so this one could be a reach!