This weekend’s UFC offering isn’t the best card as far as name value goes, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t fighters worth keeping your eye on. UFC Fight Night 127, which goes down Saturday at The O2 Arena in London, England, is chock full of some exciting prospects who could soon be making noise in the Octagon. Here are some of the prospects that MMA fans and observers of the sport should pay attention to when they watch the card this weekend.
Hakeem Dawodu (pictured)
The top prospect fighting at UFC London to keep your eye on is the Canadian Dawodu. He’s an extremely impressive 26-year-old Muay Thai fighter who racked up an undefeated 7-0-1 record while fighting in the World Series of Fighting. He’s a vicious finisher and has some of the best striking in the featherweight division. The UFC has made a great signing here, and if he can get by Danny Henry in his UFC debut in impressive fashion, the matchmakers may put him on the fast-track to a fight against a ranked opponent.
Another fantastic prospect to watch out for is Magomed Ankalaev, who fights Paul Craig in a light heavyweight bout. Undefeated at 9-0 and just 25 years of age, the Russian is a serious prospect with a well-rounded skillset. He comes from a Greco-Roman Wrestling and Combat Sambo background, so we know he has the grappling chops, and clearly he’s improved his striking as evidenced by three-straight finishes. The UFC has given him a favorable matchup here as he’s taking on a guy in Craig who has been knocked out in two-straight fights. The 205lbs division is in dire need of new blood and Ankalaev could be that guy.
Another Russian prospect to keep your eye on is Sosnovskiy, who fights Mark Godbeer in a preliminary fight. Sosnovskiy is 28 and he’s undefeated at 10-0 with six knockouts and two submissions so far in his career. He looks like a great prospect who could make noise in the heavyweight division, but the problem is he hasn’t fought in three years. Having said that, he has the potential to be a really good prospect in the heavyweight division, and a win over Godbeer would do wonders for his stock.
Though he lost his UFC debut, a decision defeat on short notice to Marcin Held, there’s still a lot to like about Haqparast. The Aghan native is only 22, and prior to joining he UFC had reeled off eight straight wins by TKO. He has to work on his grappling, but he clearly has finishing ability and it would be great for the future of the lightweight division if he started to show that stopping power he exhibited on his way to the UFC. He fights fellow UFC newcomer Nad Narimani on the prelims.
I’m listing Duquesnoy as a prospect here even though he’s already had two UFC fights, and the reason I still consider him a prospect is because he’s still just 24 and should be able to improve. That being said, he hasn’t looked great in the UFC so far. Yes, the Frenchman did finish Patrick Williams in his UFC debut, but that wasn’t an easy fight for him and he took some damage in it. And his second outing against Cody Stamann resulted in a split decision loss, even though he was a big favorite to win it. Having said that, Duquesnoy is still a very violent finisher and again, and if he continues to improve and fix the holes in his game, he may reach the lofty championship heights that scouts predicted for him on his way to the Octagon.
We want to hear from you. Which of these prospects do you believe will stand out the most at UFC London? Leave a comment below.