A few weeks ago, we predicted five UFC fighters who will win a title in the next 12 months. This time, we’re looking at six, of the major MMA promotions, that will have a golden belt around themselves. Since there are a ton of “major” promotions, we focused only on Bellator, PFL, ONE, and Invicta, as these places tend to have UFC-caliber fighters.
On another note, we went with fighters who are a) non-champions as of this writing; b) promising prospects, or c) fighters who are on a redemption tour, meaning who flamed out of the UFC or another major promotion and are finding success to had elsewhere. You can even bet on these fighters’ next bouts at the online sportsbook.
Most Likely MMA Champs By August ‘23
Corey Anderson (Bellator – Light Heavyweight, 205 pounds)
In the eyes of many, Corey Anderson is the Bellator Light Heavyweight champ. He was pummeling current champ Vadim Nemkov until an accidental headbutt robbed him off the title…and the $1 million prize. An official rematch has not been announced, however, you can bet “Overtime” will now be the favorite on the MMA betting odds.
Next: TBA (potential rematch against Vadim Nemkov)
Tofiq Musayev (Bellator – Lightweight, 155 pounds)
Sticking to Bellator, star was born during Bellator 283. Tofiq Musayev came into the event as a replacement for the champ, Patricky “Pitbull” Freire. He only needed 27 seconds to dispatch Sidney Outlaw, showcasing his explosive striking skills. The Azerbaijani will undoubtedly get the next title shot when Pitbull returns.
— BellatorMMA (@BellatorMMA) July 23, 2022
Next: TBA (potential title fight vs Patricky Freire)
Jarred Brooks (ONE – Strawweight, 125 pounds)
Sometimes the UFC cuts prospects a bit too early. Jarred Brooks went 1-2 in the promotion. In his brief stint, he arguably defeated the current champion, Deiveson Figueiredo. Since getting released, Brooks has been unbeaten, destroying everyone ONE has thrown at him. If not for an injury, he’d be champ today, but Brooks should be next in line for the title.
Next: vs Joshua Pacio (Date TBA)
Zhang Lipeng (ONE – Lightweight, 170 pounds)
Zhang Lipeng is another ex-UFC fighter on a hot streak since getting cut. “The Warrior” has gone 23-2 in the span of seven years. He signed with ONE in 2021, and is 2-0 in the promotion with a win over the former champ, Eduard Folayang. As an encore, he knocked his opponent out in 32 seconds. Bet online on him to be the division’s next champion.
Next: TBA (potential title fight vs Ok Rae-Yoon)
Carlos Leal (PFL – Welterweight, 170 pounds)
The Brazilian had a slow start to his MMA career but has been unbeaten since 2015. He’s new to PFL, already with a win over Ray Cooper III, who was the defending champion from 2021. Leal is into the 2022 PFL playoffs, where he should be favored against Sadibou Sy. Should he win, we like his chances to surprise the winner of MacDonald-Umalatov.
Next: vs Sadibou Sy (PFL 8, Aug. 13)
Stephanie Geltmacher (Invicta – Flyweight, 125 pounds)
Stephanie Geltmacher is one of the brightest prospects in the flyweight division, only losing against Victoria Leonardo. Leonardo just proved she can hang in the UFC’s ultra-competitive division. Geltmacher is a four-time NCAA All-American wrestler from Oklahoma, winning her last fight by knockout. When Invicta books a fight for the vacant belt, Geltmacher should be the favorite.
Next: TBA (potential vacant Invicta Flyweight Championship)