UFC Prospect Watch: February 2021 Edition

Miranda Maverick - UFC Prospect Watch: February 2021
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - OCTOBER 23: In this handout image provided by UFC, Miranda Maverick poses on the scale during the UFC 254 weigh-in on October 23, 2020 on UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

There are four UFC fight cards for the month of February. With three Fight Night events and a pay-per-view on our hands, we are sure to see a ton of prospects on the horizon.

UFC Prospect Watch: February 2021 Edition

The first event of the month goes down on February 6 and features a battle in the heavyweight division, as Alexander Volkov takes on Alistair Overeem. One week later, on February 13, UFC 258 goes down on PPV, with the welterweight title up for grabs, as champ Kamaru Usman faces Gilbert Burns. Ending the month are two more Fight Night cards, with Curtis Blaydes vs. Derrick Lewis and Dominic Reyes vs. Jiri Prochazka in the respective main event slots.

With those main event fights out of the way, why don’t we look a little deeper on the fight cards? Here is a look at the top fighters hoping to climb the UFC ladder in February.

Each and every month, The KaiZaan will do a video to accompany this list below. Make sure you give them a follow on YouTube.

UFC Prospect Watch Top 10

#10 – Collin Anglin (8-1)

Another Contender Series vet, Anglin earned a unanimous decision victory against the then-undefeated Muhammadjon Naimov. Losing in his second professional outing, Anglin has since gone on an impressive seven-fight winning streak. He was originally at number eight when this was written, however, dropped to number 10 due to withdrawing from his upcoming contest against Seung Woo Choi.

#9 – Jared Vanderaa (11-4)

Result: Spivak def. Vanderaa via TKO at 4:32 of Round 2

Vanderaa had a very impressive showing on Contender Series in November of last year. Coming into that fight, he had a 4-1 record. The man known as “The Mountain” earned a first-round ground and pound TKO victory against Harry Hunsucker at Dana White’s featured event. In this upcoming fight, the Washington native will prove if he’s the real deal against someone with a similar record, at 11-2, Sergey Spivak.

#8 – Timur Valiev (16-2, 1NC)

Result: Valiev def. Day via Unanimous Decision

Valiev has fought for PFL and WSOF in the past. He has only fought six times since 2016. It’s funny that his nickname is “The Lucky” because, with that many fights in five years, he is far from lucky. Riding a six-fight winning streak, he could be much higher on this prospect list, however, we need to see him tested inside the Octagon. Most recently, the 31-year-old Russian fighter fought to a no-contest at an August Contender Series event against Trevin Jones. We will see if Valiev can take the next step against Julio Arce at UFC Fight Night on February 6.

**Julio Arce has been forced out of the fight with Valiev. The Russian will now take on Martin Day who is 8-5 and riding a three-fight losing skid inside the octagon.

#7 – Rafael Alvez (19-9)

At Contender Series 2020: Week 4, Alvez earned a second-round guillotine choke victory against Alejandro Flores. The 30-year-old is on a five-fight winning streak and will look to turn that into a six-fight streak against 8-1 Michael Trizano at UFC Fight Night 185 on February 20.

**The bout was cancelled due to Trizano injuring his ankle

#6 – Ronnie Lawrence (6-1)

Result: Lawrence def. Cachero via TKO at 2:38 of Round 3

You have obviously caught the theme of this month — Contender Series signees. Ronnie Lawrence had a big unanimous decision victory against Jose Johnson. He is 6-1 in his professional career and currently on a three-fight winning streak. At the February 27 UFC Fight Night event, Lawrence takes on Vince Cachero who is currently 0-1 inside the Octagon.

#5 – Philip Rowe (7-2)

Result: Gabe Green def. Philip Rowe via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Philip Rowe takes on UFC sophomore Gabe Green at UFC 258. His foe, Green was riding a six-fight winning streak prior to his UFC debut loss to Daniel Rodriguez. Rowe who is known as “The Fresh Prince” is on a six-fight winning streak, with all six victories coming via stoppage. Most recently, the 30-year-old earned a third-round TKO at a 2019 Contender Series bout against Leon Shahbazyan.

#4 – Denys Bondar

Unlike most others on this list, Denys Bondar earned his way to the octagon the old fashioned way — winning consecutive fights. The Ukraine based fighter has won eight fights in a row, with stoppages in all eight fights. The submission specialist most recently earned a first-round rear-naked choke victory against Kenan Jafarli at Road to WWFC in August 2020. He will make his UFC debut against Ode Osbourne at the February 6 Fight Night event.

**Denys Bondar was forced to withdraw for undisclosed reasons and was replaced by Jerome Rivera at UFC Fight Night 184

#3 – Phil Hawes (9-2)

Result: Hawes def. Imavov via Majority Decision

“Megatron” is riding a five-fight winning streak, with his most recent victory at UFC 254. This was one of the most impressive performances of his 11-fight career, as he knocked out Jacob Malkoun in just 18-seconds. Hawes earned his spot on the UFC roster after an outstanding showing in his second appearance on Dana White’s Contender Series. He finished Khadzhimurat Bestaev in the first round of their fight. The 32-year-old will face fellow 9-2 middleweight Nassourdine Imavov at UFC Fight Night 185.

#2 – Drako Rodriguez (7-1)

Result: Zahabi def. Rodriguez via KO at 3:05 of Round 1

After a very decorated amateur career, Drako Rodriguez has showcased his complete game as a professional as well. The 7-1 product is riding a three-fight winning streak, including a first-round submission victory against Leomana Martinez at a September Contender Series event to punch his ticket to the UFC. On February 20, at UFC Fight Night 185, “The Great Drakolini” will look to continue on his winning ways against a very dangerous Aiemann Zahabi.

#1 – Miranda Maverick (8-2)

Result: The fight was cancelled on fight day, as Robertson had a non-COVID related illness.

With five submissions, one TKO and two decisions under her belt, Miranda Maverick is our number one prospect to watch for the month of February. Maverick is on a four-fight winning streak. In 2019 “Fear The” won the Invicta FC Phoenix Series 2 Flyweight Tournament. She followed up on that win with a decision victory against Pearl Gonzalez at Invicta FC 39, which also earned her ‘Performance of the Night’ honors. In October 2020, Maverick made an impressive octagon debut by earning a TKO due to doctors stoppage against Liana Jojua at UFC 254. We will see if Maverick can move up the flyweight rankings with a victory at UFC 258 against Gillian Robertson.

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