In 2022, around 72 fighters made their UFC debuts. This included blue-chip prospects like Muhammad Mokaev and longtime veterans like Emily Ducote. Whether young or mature, the UFC signs fighters prolifically as it holds over 40+ events a year. In 2023, we expect several more high-profile fighters to fight in the UFC. This includes a few old faces who could become fixtures on the UFC betting odds.
New Faces: Fighters To Debut in the UFC
Mineev could be the next big thing out of Russia. The 32-year-old is aptly nicknamed “Big Dillashaw” and is both a kickboxer and MMA fighters. He owns 23 combined knockouts in his career and owns wins over veterans like Maiquel Falcao and recent UFC fighter Andreas Michailidis.
- Last/Current Organization: AMC Fight Nights (Fight Nights Global)
The UFC is always in the market for hot African talent. The next guy out of the EFC could be Makengele who just starched Martin van Staden to win the welterweight title. The Congolese fighter is still green with four professional bouts and just over a year of experience. But that hasn’t stopped the UFC in the past.
- Last/Current Organization: EFC
Adam Cullen and/or Luke Riley
Speaking of young and green talent, Paddy Pimblett’s stablemates in Cullen and Riley may get a shot to impress Dana White soon. We’d bet online the two could debut on the Contender Series sometime in 2023 with either or both being awarded a UFC contract. They’re both unbeaten with explosive finishes in their highlight reels. Seeing how popular Pimblett has become, White may elect to mine his camp some more.
🤯 We had some incredible breakout performances in 2021, but who is your Cage Warriors Breakthrough Fighter of the Year?
💪 Adam Cullen
👊 Luke Riley
😵 Zac Pauga
🔥 Damon Wilson
— Cage Warriors (@CageWarriors) December 28, 2021
- Last/Current Organization: Cage Warriors
Invicta is practically the junior league to the UFC in terms of women’s MMA. Look no further than their champions as they are more than likely to be on the UFC within a year. DeCoursey has come out of nowhere to become Invicta champion. In fact, she owns two upset victories in 2022 – both by finishes. She’d be the best UFC bet if she can keep this up in the octagon.
- Last/Current Organization: Invicta FC
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Tennant got a shot to make it to the UFC but lost to Danyelle Wolf in the Contender Series. Since then, she’s gone 2-0 in Invicta and captured the bantamweight title. An upcoming bout with Talita Bernardo could be her ticket back to the Contender Series or the UFC directly. She’ll need to not only beat Bernardo but do it convincingly.
- Last/Current Organization: Invicta FC
Back Again: Fighters To Make a UFC Comeback
Alvarez could be the most high-profile fighter to return to the UFC in 2023. The former lightweight champion parted ways with ONE and already expressed interest in returning to the UFC. Whether or not he’ll be a title contender, the “Underground King” puts on exciting fights. A trilogy bout with Michael Chandler may just happen if he and the UFC can make a deal.
- Last/Current Organization: ONE Championship
Nash may have gone 0-3 in the Octagon, but he’s been a wrecking ball since his departure. The welterweight has won four straight fights with three coming by first-round KO. He’s the type of fighter who will either finish his opponent or get finished trying. Betting the under on the online sportsbook should be the way to go with this guy.
- Last/Current Organization: XFC
Most fans likely won’t remember AlQaisi’s first UFC stint, which ended after two losses in 2020. Since then, the Jordanian fighter has compiled a 5-1 record with title victories in Titan FC and UAE Warriors. He recently submitted longtime veteran Jesse Arnett in a rematch and could get another shot in the UFC, especially when the promotion needs Middle Eastern fighters for their events in Abu Dhabi.
- Last/Current Organization: UAE Warriors
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