UFC Prospect Watch: April 2021 Edition

Alexaner Romanov - UFC Prospect Watch
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 07: Alexandr Romanov of Moldova reacts after his submission victory over Marcos Rogerio de Lima of Brazil in a heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

A three-event UFC month is upon us for April. Kicking things off is UFC on ABC 2 on April 10, with a Fight Night event on ESPN on April 17 and finally, the massive UFC 261 event rounds out the month on April 24. With all those fight cards there are plenty of prospects to have a look at for the month of April.

Check out our March prospect watch, and see how well our number one ranked prospect, Sean Brady did in his bout.

UFC Prospect Watch for April 2021

The first event of the month goes down on April 10, as the UFC hits ABC for the second time. The main event has had a shuffle, as Darren Till was forced out, now Marvin Vettori will face Kevin Holland. UFC Vegas 24 goes down on April 17 and features a battle between former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum. And a three title fight PPV will cap off the month, as Kamaru Usman puts his welterweight title on the line against Jorge Masvidal in the main event at UFC 261. The women’s strawweight championship is up for grabs as the queen of the division Weili Zhang goes toe-to-toe against Rose Namajunas. And the women’s flyweight gold will also be on the line as Valentina Shevchenko takes on Jessica Andrade.

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

UFC Prospect Watch Top 10

10. Zhu Rong (17-3)

21-year-old Zhu Rong may not have the record of what you’d consider a prospect, however, at his tender age and fighting regionally, this is a huge step up for him and could potentially showcase his talent. The Tibetan-born lightweight is riding a 10-fight winning streak coming into his UFC debut, with knockouts and submissions along the way. He will take on Rodrigo Vargas at UFC 261 to see if he truly is that rising prospect.

9. Shamil Gamzatov (14-0)

At 14-0 Shamil Gamzatov is a true specimen. The man known as ‘Umar’ earned a split decision victory against Klidson Abreu in his UFC debut but showed that he could be a true contender in the light heavyweight division. He was expected to take on Da Un Jung on April 10, however, visa issues came into play. We felt he was still a huge prospect and deserved to be on our list.

8.  Johnny Munoz Jr. (10-1)

Munoz Jr. may have lost his Octagon debut, but many factors could have come into play. At 10-1, he fought every one of his previous bouts under the King of the Cage banner and did not disappoint. The 28-year-old will look to rebound at UFC 261, as he faces Jamey Simmons.

7. Aliaskhab Khizriev (13-0)

The 30-year-old Russian, Khizriev had a nearly perfect performance on Dana White’s Contender Series. He tapped out his opponent with a rear-naked choke just 50-seconds into the match. At 13-0 he will look to set the middleweight division on fire as he takes on fellow prospect Kyle Daukaus at UFC on ABC 2.

6. Juan Espino (10-1)

Heavyweights are tough to choose and we’ve got a few on this list. Juan Espino is the real deal and showed that in his Octagon debut, with a scarf hold submission victory against Jeff Hughes at UFC 253. He will take on undefeated prospect Alexander Romanov at UFC Vegas 24.

Top 5 UFC Prospect Watch

5. Lupita Godinez (5-0)

The LFA women’s champion, Lupita Godinez just signed a multi-fight UFC contract and will make a short notice debut against veteran Jessica Penne. If you don’t know the name now, you surely will after April 17. ‘Loopy’ is 5-0 and fighting out of Titan Training Center in British Columbia. She fights to finish, despite going the distance four out of her five outings. Keep an eye on this firecracker.

4. Erin Blanchfield (6-1)

Many are touting Erin Blanchfield as the most notable women’s prospect to be signed by the UFC. She and Godinez were announced as new signees on the same day and at 6-1, the former Invicta FC talent will look to progress in her career against Norma Dumont at UFC on ABC 2. Her lone loss came to Tracy Cortez and many believe it happened in controversial fashion.

3. Tracy Cortez (8-1)

The woman who we just spoke about above, Cortez is our number three ranked prospect. She earned a UFC contract with a victory on Contender Series and then followed up with two decision victories in her follow-up bouts. The 27-year-old lost her professional debut and since then hasn’t seen a blemish on her rap sheet. Cortez will face Justine Kish at UFC Vegas 24 on April 17. Could a victory for both Blanchfield and Cortez set up a rematch for the ages? We will find out soon.

2. Kyle Daukaus (10-1)

Kyle Daukaus was undefeated prior to his Octagon debut. He lost that 2020 bout and showed composure by rebounding against Dustin Stoltzfus. The former CFFC middleweight champion will look to continue on his winning ways at UFC on ABC 2 against our #8 prospect Aliaskhab Khizriev. One of these two will move up the rankings and the other will have to get back on the horse.

1. Alexander Romanov (13-0)

Romanov has fought twice inside the Octagon, however, he truly is still a prospect in our minds. If ‘King Kong’ can beat another one of our prospects in Espino at UFC Vegas 24, he will move from a prospect into a contender at 14-0. His two victories under the UFC banner came via submission, and all of his 13 victories have come via stoppage. This fight is bound to be bananas.

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That was our UFC Prospect Watch for April 2021. Who do you have on your list?

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