UFC Prospect Watch: October 2016 Edition

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The UFC kicks off October in Portland, Oregon tonight with a stellar main card featuring John Lineker and John Dodson. Both fighters have incredible power for their size and should make this an exciting bout for UFC fans.

UFC Prospect Watch: October 2016 Edition

The following week, the UFC heads back to Manchester, England for UFC 204. The PPV will feature a rematch between Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson, and Bisping is looking for revenge after their first meeting. After that, the UFC makes their way to Manila, Philippines for UFC Fight Night: Lamas vs. Penn.

There are several exciting prospects making their return to the Octagon this month. While the top guys are close to contention, the rest of the list features some question marks who could gain some traction with an impressive win.

Without further ado, here is a look at the top UFC prospects for the month of October.

Honorable Mention

Jonathan Wilson vs. Ion Cutelaba

Two fighters looking for a win, Wilson and Cutelaba are at different junctures of their UFC career. While Wilson already has a win under his belt, Cutelaba is only 22 years old and coming off a loss in his UFC debut against Misha Cirkunov.  Wilson was knocked out by Henrique da Silva in his last bout, but won his UFC debut against Chris Dempsey. Whoever comes away with the win should breath a sigh of relief after avoiding a second loss in a row.

Kelly Faszholz vs. Ketlen Vieira

Two women’s bantamweight fighters looking to make their mark, Faszholz and Vieira are in a similar position as the previous two fighters mentioned. Faszholz lost her UFC debut to Lauren Murphy, but will have the opportunity to deliver the same message to UFC newcomer Vieira. Both fighters have good grappling skills, and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top and in what fashion.

Cody East vs. Curtis Blaydes

A battle of heavyweight hopefuls, East and Blaydes both lost their UFC debuts and are looking to come back strong with a victory. East was featured on Dana White’s Looking for a Fight but fell short in a first round TKO loss to Walt Harris. Blaydes, on the other hand, lost to up and coming heavyweight Francis Ngannou via doctor stoppage in round 2. With that said, expect this fight to end in less than three rounds with fists flying everywhere.

Alex Moreno (12-3-0), 1-0 in UFC

Moreno has been a pro fighter since he was 20 years old, and came away with a victory against Kyle Noke. While it was a split decision win, Moreno proved he belongs with an impressive UFC debut. For his second bout, the Texas-native will take on another veteran in James Moontasri. Both fighters like to strike, but Moreno has everything to gain from an impressive finish.

 Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (15-5-0), 1-1 in UFC

After falling to Nicolas Dalby via split decision in his UFC debut, dos Santos came back strong with a Fight of the Night finish over Omari Akhmedov. A farmer by trade, dos Santos has been training since he was a young child, and will have another opportunity to showcase his skills when he takes on Keita Nakamura in Portland.

Top 10

#10 – Marc Diakiese (9-0-0), UFC Debut

It is quite rare for a fighter to make this list without stepping foot in the Octagon. However, when looking at his fight tape, Diakiese could be on everyone’s radar within one fight. Win or lose, excitement is the name of the game, and Diakiese does everything the UFC loves. He is unpredictable, athletic and quite the showman. He will make his UFC debut against Lucasz Sajewski, and should put on quite the spectacle if he can kick the ever so popular UFC jitters.

The BAMMA Lightweight Champion has plenty of fans already, and expect him to gain several more by the end of this fight.

#9 – Brandon Moreno (11-3-0), UFC Debut

Appearing on The Ultimate Fighter 24 with Team Benavidez, Moreno made a name for himself with his heart and overall ability. At just 22 years old, Moreno has been a pro fighter since 2011 and is riding an eight fight win streak. He continuously pushes the pace and is always ready for a brawl.

Moreno will have the tough task of taking on Louis Smolka, a quickly rising flyweight who is slowly entering the title picture. If Moreno can come away with a victory, it will certainly be a quick rise for the Tijuana-native. To be successful, Moreno will have to respect his opponent and wait for his chances. If he mindlessly pushes forward, Smolka will take full advantage of it.

#8 – Henrique da Silva (11-0-0), 1-0 in UFC

Da Silva is a Brazilian kickboxing champion who turned pro in 2013. He finished his first UFC bout in the second round via TKO, and is looking to continue that trend in his upcoming bout with Joachim Christensen. Christensen is a 37-year old Danish fighter making his UFC debut tonight in Portland.

For da Silva to continue his success, maintaining dominant positions on the feet while landing good combos should help him find his stride. Christensen has good versatility but will have problems with da Silva’s striking.

#7 – Marcin Tybura (14-2-0), 1-1 in UFC

In the wide open heavyweight division, Tybura is already making a name for himself despite a 1-1 UFC record. After losing to Timothy Johnson, Tybura came back with one of the best heavyweight knockouts we have seen a while. His second round head kick KO victory over Viktor Pesta won him a Performance of the Night, and he is now set to take on ‘The Beast’ himself, Derrick Lewis.

Lewis is riding a mean four-fight win streak, with notable wins over Gabriel Gonzaga and Roy Nelson. Before the split decision win over Nelson, Lewis had never been to a third round in the UFC, and only lost twice via TKO to Matt Mitrione and Shawn Jordan. Tybura will have to keep Lewis guessing, and avoid any major power shots. Tybura has a great chin and speed for his size, but Lewis is a whole different breed of power, and it will take a heart the size of a watermelon to withstand those blows.

#6 – Mike Perry (8-0-0), 1-0 in UFC

Could you have a more impressive UFC debut? After taunting his opponent at the weigh-ins, Perry backed the talk with a very dominant UFC debut over Hyun-Gyu Lim. He knocked his opponent down a few times and even had him in a devastating crucifix. Perry eventually won the bout via TKO in the first round, continuing his KO/TKO win streak.

Perry will take on the very promising Danny Roberts, another fighter featured on this list. Both fighters reside in the Florida area and should bring their best in Manchester. Both fighters are fast and great strikers. Depending on the outcome, this could be a fight we wish went five rounds.

#5 – Rob Font (12-2-0), 2-1 in UFC

Font kicked off his UFC career in style. He earned himself a Performance of the Night after knocking out George Roop in the first round of his UFC debut, and followed that up with another TKO of Joey Gomez. In his third bout, Font met current title contender John Lineker in a tough unanimous decision loss.

Font will take on Ian Entwistle in his next bout on October 8. Both fighters bring good footwork and speed, which should make this a tough challenge for both fighters. Entwistle has been knocked out twice in the first round which should give Font some confidence in his striking. With another win, expect Font to hit the main card in his next bout.

#4 Danny Roberts (13-1-0), 2-0 in UFC

As mentioned, Danny Roberts will be taking on the exciting Mike Perry in what should be a Fight of the Night candidate. Roberts is currently riding a two-fight win streak after earning a Fight of the Night against Dominique Steele. He won his UFC debut via first round submission against Nathan Coy and looks poised to keep the train rolling.

Roberts is a great athlete and will be Perry’s toughest challenge yet. Both fighters are quick, powerful and bring strong boxing skills every fight. Training with the Blackzilians, Roberts will have Florida pride on the line against Perry’s camp, which should add some extra buzz behind closed doors. If he can use his experience and speed to remain unpredictable, he should come away with a hard-fought victory. On the other hand, if he makes any mistakes on the feet, there is a good chance Perry could catch him.

#3 – Arnold Allen (11-1-0), 2-0 in UFC

What a story this kid could have been. Allen made his UFC debut against Alan Omer in June 2015. He took the fight on short notice and looked exhausted in the third round. While he might have lost the fight if it went to the judges, Allen pulled out an amazing guillotine victory to secure his first win. Allen went on to fight Yaotzin Meza in February and won that fight via unanimous decision.

Fighting in front of his home country, Allen would have taken on the talented Mirsad Bektic at UFC 204 but suffered an injury. Bektic had not fought since 2015, giving Allen a very slight advantage. This must be a devastating blow for the Englishman, but he is quite young and will have every chance to redeem himself in the near future.

#2 – Mirsad Bektic (10-0-0), 3-0 in UFC

Making his long-awaited return to the UFC, Bektic has not fought since May 2015 when he defeated Lucas Martins via second round TKO. The American Top Team fighter was on a quick rise before he stuffered an ACL injury. Who knows where Bektic would have been if he did not suffer such a devastating blow. Lucky for him, he will be able to pick up where he left off.

Allen was forced out of this bout due to injury, but Jeremy Kennedy has stepped in on short notice.  In fact, Kennedy would need to be listed on this post, as the young Canadian is 9-0 overall and 1-0 in the UFC. He fought on August 27 and beat Alessandro Ricci via unanimous decision.

Both fighters have good speed and grappling, and their overall ability should make this fight a grinding battle. Kennedy may have the upper hand with a full camp but Bektic has proven conditioning as well. It would be surprising to see this fight end with a finish, but nobody would complain if it happened.

#1 – Will Brooks (18-1-0), 2-0 in UFC

Is Will Brooks a prospect? He is currently ranked 11th in the UFC lightweight division and has been nothing but impressive in his first two UFC bouts. However, considering he has only two fights under his belt, and will be taking on Alex Oliveira tonight, things are not set in stone for the young American Top Team product.

Brooks is primarily known for his run with Bellator. He not only won their lightweight tournament but won the interim title against Michael Chandler. He went on to beat him again in his next fight before defending the belt two more times. He then left Bellator to join the UFC.

Brooks won his UFC debut against Satoru Kitaoka via second round TKO, and followed that up with an impressive unanimous decision victory over Ross Pearson. If he can continue his win streak against Oliveira, there is no telling what the UFC might do with their new-found lightweight contender.

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My love for MMA, writing, and journalism as a whole, brought me to MMASucka in June of 2013. Jeremy has been a great mentor while covering this sport, and also bestowed the honour of covering UFC 165 at the Air Canada Centre. I graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2012 with a B.A. in Political Science. and have pursued a role in the online sports journalism community ever since.

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