The UFC is heading back to the Fight Island next Saturday for UFC 253. Fight Island is hosted in Yas Island, Abu Dubai, UAE, and will be the home of the UFC for its next five events. ‘
When the UFC first went to Fight Island, it was a big success. Some new signings that made a name for themself during that time are Roman Dolidze, Amir Albazi, Mounir Lazzez, budding superstar Khamzat Chimaev, Modestas Bukauskas, ranked light heavyweight contender Jiri Prochazka, and Tom Aspinall.
As the cards are all nearly full, MMA-Prospects is going to list five prospects fans may see the UFC sign straight up or give an opportunity to on short notice.
Jack Cartwright (8-0) – bantamweight
Jack Cartwright (8-0) had a huge 2019, getting four wins, signing with Cage Warriors, and winning the Cage Warriors title. One year ago, in September 2019, Cage Warriors held a one-night four-man tournament. Among the names, Cartwright was the biggest underdog and won with two first-round knockouts. Cartwright has been wrestling since the age of five and has a background as a former ABA boxer. Cartwright already has one title defense and has another one scheduled later this week. On Friday, if he can get past the very talented Gerardo Fanny (9-1), fans may – or should – get Cartwright in the UFC next.
Mateusz Rębecki (12-1) – lightweight
Mateusz Rebeçki is a BJJ black belt and is a two-time gold medalist in national Polish grappling competiton. Holding an impressive resume of top regional talent, he trains out of Berserker Team with great fighters like KSW standouts Michał Materla (MMA-Prospects’ #2 ranked KSW middleweight), light heavyweight champion Tomasz Narkun (MMA-Prospects’ #1 ranked KSW light heavyweight), and many more established veterans. Rebeçki is the Fight Exclusive Night (FEN) lightweight champion, which is a solid promotional title out of Poland. Rebeçki is destined to be in the UFC, and it could be sooner rather than later.
Usman Nurmagomedov (11-0) – lightweight
Yes, the Nurmagomedov name is thrown around a lot when you watch the Russian scene. Usman Nurmagomedov (11-0) is actually the cousin of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0). His competition hasn’t been too stellar, fighting four opponents with losing records or making their debut, but his performances have shone through. A year ago, many would say Usman isn’t close to signing with the UFC, but now that’s a different story. He’s been pretty active in 2020 with two fights, has those familial ties to Khabib, and most importantly, is an excellent fighter with a well-rounded, improving game.
Casey O’Neill (4-0) – flyweight
When it comes to young up-and-comers, Casey O’Neill (4-0) is one of the best. From Scottland, O’Neill has fought her entire amateur and professional careers in Australia. She won the Eternal MMAstrawweight title in her pro debut, and O’Neill also fights out of an excellent camp in Tiger Muay Thai. She is only 4-0, but has a fight scheduled for September 25th. She’s fighting a good test in Christina Stelliou (6-3) and if she wins injury-free, fans may see a quick turnaround for the undefeated prospect.
Aaron Jeffery (8-2) – middleweight
Jeffrey is coming off two consecutive wins but lost just a year ago on the Contender Series. That loss was to Brendan Allen (15-3) who was one of the better fighters that season. The Canadian Jeffery is a solid prospect at 27-years-old. With his only losses to promising UFC prospects Allen and Sean Brady (13-0), his resume remains strong despite two setbacks. The UFC needs more Canadian fighters, and Jeffery fits the mold.