During a week where many college and university students will take to their dorms and get set for a new semester of education, the UFC will have no shortage of promotional freshmen at their “Fight Night” card. Along with their six “Ultimate Fighter” competitors appearing on the card, fighters Mana Martinez and Vanessa Demopoulos will also make an appearance.
Martinez is one of the rare UFC signees who was picked up off reality webseries “Dana White’s Lookin’ For A Fight.” His 32-second win at Fury FC in May scored him a UFC contract, and in turn, placed him against Guido Cannetti on this card.
Demopoulos is joining Saturday’s lineup on short notice, climbing up a weight class to face JJ Aldrich at flyweight. The former LFA Strawweight Champion is coming off a 37-second victory she scored in March that snapped a two-fight skid.
This week’s Octagon Oracles will be looking at those two fighters. Looking into the famous MMA-Prospects crystal ball, our writers gave predictions on what their futures might be like.
By Zac Herbison
Martinez has a lot of first round finishes on his record. Across his pro career and what’s available of his amateur career, his average win is in just over two minutes. Many of those wins were against good competition, too. Meanwhile, of his three losses, two were decisions. The only time he’s been finished was in his 2020 “Contender Series” fight with current UFC fighter Drako Rodriguez, who submitted him via triangle choke. Their fight was competitive on the feet before Rodriguez caught a kick and completed a takedown. Even then, Martinez attempted several submissions to get up, and was in the process of sweeping to top position when he got caught in the triangle.
Martinez is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt and he’s also a Karate black belt, having started when he was four. He looks much more comfortable striking. He kicks often, changing up his target and stance while doing so. His kicks aren’t the only threat, either – in many of his finishes, it’s a punch that drops his opponent. His movement is fairly busy, with frequent repositioning, feints, and stance changes. He backs out of striking range when his opponent shows something. There’s a lot to like here. What he looks like in round three is mostly a mystery due to his finishing skills, though.
Out Within 1-2 Years 50/50 Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years Top 15 Top 10 Top 5 Title Contender Champion
By James Colwell
Martinez is an absolute knockout artist with 5 first round finishes and his other 3 fights ended in the 2nd. The best win on his resume is a 3-minute KO of Ricky Turcios in 2018, who’s now a finalist on the Ultimate Fighter.
He’s super tall for a bantamweight at 5’10” and uses that well to keep his opponent out of range and still manages to pack a ton of power into his strikes.
He got a chance on the Contender Series in 2020 but got submitted in the first round by Drako Rodriguez. His jiu-jitsu is my biggest concern, as he’s shown decent wrestling but his fights rarely last long enough to see him tested against other quality opponents.
Since his loss, Martinez has picked up two highlight-reel knockouts for Fury FC in a combined 92 seconds, including one against fellow DWCS washout Jose Johnson back in May. He’s booked against Guido Canneti, which should be a very winnable fight and gives him a chance at a great finish in his UFC debut.
Out Within 1-2 Years 50/50 Winner Bonus Winner A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 5 Title Contender Champion
By Vince Rodemer
Vanessa Demopoulus has a lot of experience. She’s 32 and has a total of 16 fights from amateur to pro. She has fought some elite fighters, some good fighters and some bad fighters. She’s beat some good fighters and lost to some. She has fights against the likes of title challenger Katlyn Chookagain, Cheyenne Buys, Lupita Godinez, Cory McKenna and Sam Hughes. Demopoulus is a good submission artist, but her striking defense needs a lot of work. Godinez teed off on her in their LFA title fight last year. Chookagain is a great striker and beat her on the feet. I worry about pretty much everything with this fight at flyweight. Demopoulous has a much better chance at strawweight, and we’ll have to wait and see after this fight whether she drops back down. She gets credit for taking this on short notice, so she’ll get an extra fight. Hopefully, fighting at her natural weight will help in the future.
Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner Bonus Winner A Mainstay Through the Years Top 15 Top 10 Top 5 Title Contender Champion