It’s time for another edition of prospect watch: chronicling some of the most must-see fighters on every UFC card.
As you can probably imagine, we love a fighter who is willing to put total faith in their skills and gamble on their own success.
Since the early days of combat sports, fighters have bet on themselves in order to add a nice little boost to their fight purse. Now, of course, this can mean that a loss can result in an athlete walking away with nothing, but you try to tell famed self-better Floyd Mayweather that betting on their own success isn’t a safe wager.
However, with the greatest respect, UFC Fight Night 190 prelim fighter Justin Jaynes is not Floyd Mayweather.
So, when the featherweight fighter with a 1-3 record in the UFC remarked earlier this week that he was betting his entire $25,000 purse on himself for his fight with Charles Rosa we had to admire his moxie.
Will the added financial incentive force a much-needed career-best performance out of Jaynes? It is too early to tell, but you have to admire the fighter’s self-confidence going into a fight where his UFC contract may be on the line.
There was a time only a few short years ago that The Ultimate Fighter Brazil Season 3 winner Warlley Alves was considered one of the brightest prospects in the welterweight division.
Alves not only emerged victorious in a tournament that included the likes of Paulo Costa but went on to set the ground running after entering the UFC ranks.
Wins over Alan Jouban and Nordine Taleb, followed by a signature first-round guillotine choke victory against Colby Covington cemented Alves’ status as the newest UFC prospect to come from the home of BJJ.
Unfortunately, in the years that followed Alves failed to capitalise on his significant momentum, going 3-4 in the UFC Octagon between 2016-2019 including a one-sided decision loss to current welterweight king Kamaru Usman.
However, Alves rebounded earlier this year in his UFC return on fight island, stopping highly-rated prospect Mounir Lazzez with a barrage of body kicks. Alves will look to continue his climb back up the rankings tonight with a win over UFC newcomer Jeremiah Wells.
Arguably one of the most under-appreciated fighters ever to have graced the UFC Octagon, Brazilian featherweight Renato Moicano was once viewed as one of the brightest prospects in the sport.
Impressive wins over veterans Cub Swanson and Jeremy Stephens, and current contender Calvin Kattar should be enough evidence of just how talented Moicano can be when he is performing at his best.
At UFC Fight Night 190 he faces off against Jai Herbert, one of the UK’s biggest prospects who made his UFC debut last summer on Fight Island against veteran Fransico Trinaldo.
Herbert was ultimately unsuccessful that night, despite winning the first two rounds the Brit was finished by Trinaldo early in the first round with a late stoppage that prompted criticisms of presiding referee Herb Dean. However, don’t let the loss sour you on the former Cage Warriors Lightweight Champion. Herbert will provide a stern test of Moicano’s skills, and the winner will have a legitimate claim to getting a fight in the division’s top ten in their next outing.
Experience is everything in combat sports, and few fighters featured on UFC Fight Night 190 are as well travelled as Danish welterweight Nicolas Dalby.
Having made his amateur bow way back in 2005, Dalby amassed an undefeated professional career fighting across Europe before being signed by the UFC in 2015. After a win in his debut, Dalby produced a fantastic performance in his sophomore effort, coming back from being two rounds down to earn a draw against Darren Till.
Unfortunately, personal problems plagued Dalby in the years that followed, and he was given his walking papers from the organisation after a loss to Peter Sobotta in 2016.
Dalby refused to let his UFC release define him, however, and racked up some impressive performances in Cage Warriors, including a No Contest against Ross Houston that was literally called off because the two fighters had shed so much blood that the cage surface was deemed unsafe. (Seriously. Check that fight out if you ever get the chance.)
Dalby has since returned to the Octagon with a renewed vigour for mixed martial arts, and faces off against veteran welterweight Tim Means tonight.
When Francis Ngannou continued his unprecedented run of dominance by defeating longtime UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic earlier this year, fans immediately started searching for contenders who could withstand The Predator’s fearsome knockout power.
The Ying to Ngannou’s Yang, heavyweight prospect Cyril Gane prefers to pepper his opponents with accumulative damage rather than seeking a one-punch finish, and has demonstrated an impressive submission acumen particularly by the standards of the division.
With perfect undefeated records in both Muay Thai and MMA, Gane has rightfully earned the super prospect moniker, though being just five fights into his UFC career and already finding himself amongst the elite of the division is as much of an indictment of the depth of the heavyweight as it is a testament to his considerable skills.
Gane faces the biggest test of his career in the form of Russian veteran Alexander Volkov tonight, with a win leaving both fighters within touching distance of a shot at the belt.