Welcome to the UFC: Mitch Raposo

Mitch Raposo, UFC 302
Mitch Raposo, UFC 302 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Dylan Napoleone/Cageside Press

The lone debuting fighter at UFC 302 is Mitch Raposo, who has come close to making the big show in the past and finally gets his shot, opening the card in Newark. As an added wrinkle, opponent Andre Lima blew weight for the flyweight fight, coming in at 130lbs. He was fined 30% of his purse, making the payday a little sweeter for Raposo, though whether the weight cut or lack thereof for Lima factors in remains to be seen.

Mitch Raposo
Standing at five-foot-five
Fighting at 125 lbs (flyweight)
Fighting out of Fall River, Massachusetts, US
Training out of Regiment Training Center
A pro record of 9-1
4 KO/TKOs, 3 Submissions

How Raposo will fare in the UFC:

Raposo has been so close to making it to the UFC in the past but has come up just short. He fought on TUF 29 and lost and lost on the Contender Series in 2021. Anybody who watches regional MMA will know prospects from the Northeastern United States often aren’t too good. With Raposo, he has the talent but can only beat these lesser guys. He lost to Liudvik Sholinian on TUF which was at bantamweight. He then lost on the Contender Series to Jake Hadley. He’s won his last five and has won the CES and Cages Titans flyweight titles. Raposo was supposed to fight on the Contender Series this coming season but is now taking this opportunity on short notice.

Raposo has grown into a solid well-rounded fighter. I’d say he started off more as a wrestler/grappler but his striking has been something he heavily leans on. In his last three fights, he’s finished by KO/TKO. I wish Raposo extended his combinations because it’s either the right overhand or the left-right hook. He does a really good job of throwing his hands off in-and-out movement while using a lot of useful feints. He’s got a lot of tools on the feet but just needs to string together more punches.

Raposo struggles the most against bigger wrestlers and that’s evident when you look at his losses. Offensively he does great. He has excellent timing on his level changes and just a good wrestler altogether. Raposo has good top position and good jiu-jitsu at least when he’s on top.

Watching Rapoo there isn’t one area where I’m like “Yeah, he’s going to struggle in this area.” He has the skill set to be a top-15 flyweight but he just has to prove he can do that against higher-level guys. He doesn’t have a key win over anyone so his concern is if he’s just a can crusher or not. The good thing is he’s only 25 and now in the UFC he can get the proper growth he needs instead of fighting in Cage Titans and CES.

How he matches up against Andre Lima:

Raposo may have to go back to his wrestling in this one considering Lima is such a good striker. Lima’s a credentialed striker with experience in Muay Thai and kickboxing. Raposo has a power advantage but that’s all about it. Lima puts it together well. He’s both patient and cerebral. He’s accurate with little wasted motion and everything is sought out. Lima can get taken down but does an excellent job of getting back to his feet.

I’m confident Raposo can get the takedown but I don’t think he can hold him down. Lima should also get credit for his BJJ because it’s solid for a striking-based fighter. I’ve got Lima in this fight because he’s the better striker and I don’t see Raposo being able to use his wrestling to effectively.