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!
Women’s Bantamweight Division
I was impressed with Karol Rosa’s skillset on tape prior to stepping into the UFC’s octagon as she showed she is a technically sound fighter that strikes in combination well, is athletic, is a good wrestler, and has good overall fundamentals. In her UFC debut, Rosa showed smart game planning by using her good wrestling in a defensive way to keep the fight standing against Lara Procopio to avoid Lara’s submission threat. Additionally, Rosa displayed great cardio, power, and capability of pushing a very high pace (landed 171 significant strikes per ufcstats.com). The areas Karol can improve are her head movement in striking exchanges and her submission defense. I believe these items can be addressed as Karol gains more experience in the UFC and trains more. Karol is still young, trains with Jéssica Andrade at Paraná Vale Tudo, and inexperienced in the UFC which is why I believe she can get even better than she’s shown.
Before even stepping foot inside the UFC’s octagon, Julia Avila had wins over current UFC fighters Marion Reneau and Nicco Montaño which is certainly impressive. In terms of her professional MMA performances, Avila showed she has power in her hands, a solid grappling game (is a BJJ Brown Belt), speed, and solid cardio. Avila’s takedown defense can be improved so a matchup against an opponent with good wrestling and proficient grappling will likely challenge her. That said, Avila’s strength, athleticism, and BJJ pedigree (has a threatening guard off her back) lead me to believe she’d be game should an opponent with good offensive wrestling and proficient grappling be matched up with her. With a record of 7-1 (the loss coming due to a hand injury) and only 1 fight in the UFC, I think Avila can improve her game and become a ranked fighter in this weight class.
I am including Tracy Cortez in the Women’s Bantamweight because she fought her UFC debut (her only fight in the UFC thus far) at this weight class. While I think she can have success at this weight class, I think she can more success at Women’s Flyweight when she likely drops back down to that weight class. Tracy performed very well on her Contender Series appearance and her UFC debut as she showcased impressive wrestling, cardio, ground & pound, and grappling. Also, Tracy has also shown that she sets up her takedowns and closes distance well by utilizing her striking game. Tracy is still young, continuing to improve, and works with good coach, Santino Defranco which I believe will sharpen her already impressive skillset and move her way up the rankings.