I am writing this article to provide some of the prospects I feel have relatively high potential in the UFC based off what I’ve seen thus far. I am not stating all of these fighters in this full article have the potential to be the champion of their respective division (though I think some can be). However, I am including them because I believe they have the capability of moving up the rankings and obtaining a very good reputation inside the octagon.
I realize ‘prospect’ can be perceived as a subjective term so I will specify that the fighters in this article I am referring to have no more than 4 fights in the UFC thus far (as of April 10th, 2020) and have made their promotional debut. By no means have these fighters looked perfect in the UFC thus far. In fact, some of these fighters have lost at least once so far in the promotion, but I believe in their long-term growth and future success which is why I am mentioning them in this piece. I hope you enjoy!
Marina is 2-0-2 in the UFC because she lost a 10-8 round to both Randa Markos and Cynthia Calvillo respectively due to her susceptibility to defensive grappling and wrestling thus far. I think Marina is improving in these areas, but these are the parts of her game she needs to address the most by far. That said, I still see a lot of potential Rodriguez even higher than her #9 ranking in this very good weight class. Rodriguez is an excellent striker with great technique, some power, a very good clinch game, length, and throws high volume. I think Marina is amongst
the best strikers in this division with Joanna, Weili, and Rose. With an improved defensive wrestling and grappling game, I can see her having a similar game and potential success to the fellow elite strikers of the division.
Amanda has looked very impressive in the UFC thus far as she has showcased speed, high striking volume, very good grappling, great cardio, and a good takedown game. Ribas’ high pedigree of BJJ is complemented nicely with her Judo background and her ability to close distance to enter the clinch. Amanda entered the top 15 rankings (#15) after most recently defeating Randa Markos and I see potential to move up the rankings at least a few more spots with her being young, making improvements, and training at American Top Team. I look forward to seeing Amanda have more success in the UFC.
Brianna Van Buren
I bet Brianna Van Buren in her UFC debut despite taking the fight on short-notice because I believe in her talent long-term. Brianna is a good wrestler, a good grappler, has great cardio, capable of landing a high volume of significant strikes, and is aggressive. Additionally, Brianna is putting together a good striking game as she has adequate defense, speed, power, variety and improving technique. Brianna is also young and relatively inexperienced in her professional MMA career which speaks to me she can get even better. As she gains more experience and
continues to train at American Kickboxing Academy with the likes of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Daniel Cormier and other talented training partners I expect Brianna to make her way up the rankings in this very good division. I will keep my eye on Brianna when she fights inside the octagon as she progresses as a UFC fighter.
Virna was tasked with a tough UFC debut against former champion of the division, Carla Esparza, but I thought she made a good account of herself considering she took the fight on short-notice, was competitive, and showed she had a solid wrestling (she stuffed some takedowns, looked fundamentally sound, and landed some of her own) and proficient grappling game (BJJ Black Belt and advanced position on the ground a few times). In her following bout, she submitted Mallory Martin who is fellow talented grappler and was never submitted in professional MMA prior to her UFC debut against Virna. Virna has a 15-1 record and I believe she has potential in the UFC with her very good skill set of wrestling and grappling.