Fight Island prospect watch: 5 fighters with bright futures

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Every champion was once a contender, and every contender was once a prospect. Throughout all the UFC events on Fight Island, every card is stacked with a unique blend of familiar faces and emerging talent. Here are a group of lesser known prospects competing during the month of July, in Fight Island, who are well worth your attention. 

Abdul Razak Alhassan


Many will read this prospect watch article and ask themselves, “how can a 34 year old be considered a prospect?” Allow me to explain. According to a simple google search, the definition of a prospect is: “a person regarded as likely to succeed.” I truly believe that the unranked Abdul Razak Alhassan should absolutely be regarded as likely to succeed. When one attempts to rank the heaviest hitters in the welterweight division, Ghana’s Abdul Razak Alhassan must be at the forefront of every list. Boasting an impressive 10-1 record, with 10 knockout victories, Alhassan’s life-changing power speaks for itself. 

Early in his career, Alhassan was known for being one of former UFC welterweight champion, Johny Hendricks’, main sparring partners during his title run. At that point, Alhassan garnered a reputation for devastating knockouts on the regional scene, which had pundits clamoring for the man known as “Judo Thunder” to get the elusive call to the big show, the UFC.  When Alhassan finally made his debut in the UFC, a :53 second Performance of the Night winning knockout over Conor McGregor’s teammate, Charlie Ward, soon followed. Alhassan has gone on to knockout division standouts like Niko Price, as well as competed in a closely contested 3 round war with top 15 UFC middleweight Omari Akhmedov. 

While many might argue that “Alhassan is KO or bust,” I respectfully disagree. Despite not getting the nod in his 15 minute battle with Akhmedov, Alhassan showed that he has the necessary tools to go 3 hard rounds inside the octagon. Fans can expect Razak Alhassan to display more of his world-renowned knockout power this Wednesday, July 15th, on ESPN, as he battles exciting newcomer Mounir Lazzez on the main card for UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Ige. 

Apr 13, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Montel Jackson (red gloves) reacts after defeating Andre Soukhamthath (blue gloves) during UFC 236 at State Farm Arena. Jackson won by unanimous decision. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Montel Jackson


Out of all the amazing prospects in this article, Montel Jackson is the first one I will rush to call a “future world champion.” It’s not often that a fighter reminds you of the great Jon Jones, but Montel Jackson does just that. Jackson has freakish size for the bantamweight division, as he stands 5’10 with a 76 inch reach. Often referred to as “Quick” for his ability to finish fights in an instance, Jackson can simply do things that other human beings cannot. In Jackson’s UFC debut, he took a fight versus the always tough Ricky Simon on 6 days’ notice. I have never once seen a fighter back mounted, fully flattened out, like Jackson was, and literally take zero punches because his long arms trapped the wrists of Simon and prevented any offense from landing. We’re talking about a position that is universally considered to be the absolute worst case scenario spot in an MMA fight, and Jackson literally came out unscathed. 

Now let’s talk about his wins. Montel Jackson has outstruck all of his UFC opponents by a considerable margin, as well as landed takedowns in every single fight but one; the Brian Kelleher bout, where he dropped “Boom” with an elbow and finished with a d’arce choke in the first round. A fun fact which I’m sure most have heard, Montel Jackson has bigger hands than Francis Ngannou. Think about that for a second. A man that weighs in at 135 lbs has bigger hands than the 260 lb knockout machine, Ngannou. But how are his skills? On the feet, Jackson is masterful with his range, landing strikes at a very high clip, while absorbing a minimal amount of shots. Montel Jackson lands 4.51 strikes per minute, and only absorbs 1.51 per minute. That is one of the best striking ratios in all of mixed martial arts. On the mat, Jackson has landed a whopping 16 takedowns in 4 UFC fights, and can get chokes from awkward angles using his exceptionally long limbs. Look for Jackson to continue showing his greatness inside the octagon for years to come. Montel Jackson returns to the octagon this Saturday, July 18th, against the always tough Weslchman Brett Johns at UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo vs Benavidez 2. 

Jack Shore


Wales’ Jack Shore is the only undefeated fighter on this prospect watch article. The thing I love most about Welsch phenom Jack Shore is that he doesn’t waste any time inside the octagon. Shore knows exactly where his strengths lie. Boasting a professional record of 12-0 with 11 finishes, Shore is no stranger to ending his opponents’ night. Known for his dominant grappling abilities, Shore has submitted 7 of his 12 foes. To take it a step further, Shore went 12-0 as an amateur. While I rarely put stock into amateur records, it speaks volumes that Shore is 24-0 in his mixed martial arts campaign. All he does is win. The pressure of carrying a country on your back is one that has made many fighters falter under the bright lights of the UFC. Not Jack Shore. The man simply known as “Tank” has aspirations far greater than simply saying he won a few fights and had a good run. Shore wants to be the first Welsch champion in UFC history, and will do anything to accomplish that career goal. Another thing I really like about Shore is that he’s taken the proper fights which have truly allowed him to develop his skill set and blossom into the wrecking machine he is today. Look for Shore to continue his dominance as he welcomes tough Louisiana native Aaron Philips back to the octagon at UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Ige, Wednesday, July 15th. 

Ricardo Ramos


Ricardo Ramos is no stranger to high pressure situations and overcoming adversity. In 2016, Ramos had his first opportunity to impress Dana White, as he headlined Legacy FC 51. With the UFC president watching in the first row, the then 20 year phenom was supposed to finish his opponent in highlight reel fashion and earn a contract to the big show. Things didn’t go according to plan. Ramos was submitted in the first round by journeyman Manny Vazquez, and had the carpet pulled out from right under him as his dreams were completely crushed. For many fighters, this would spell the end of their UFC hopes. Not for Ramos. 

The man known as “Caracinha” dusted himself off, patched up the holes in his game and stepped back in the cage 6 months later. After a dominant second round finish of Contenders Series alum Alfred Khashakyan, Ramos earned his spot on the UFC roster. Fast forward to 2020, Ramos is 5-1 in the UFC, and is making massive leaps of improvement every single fight. The now 24 year old has a very unique and unorthodox style as he can attack with spins, flying knees, long-range strikes, and on the mat it’s no secret that Ramos is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. With so much experience at such a young age, look for Ramos to continue his evolution in the fight game as he matures significantly between bouts. Ricardo Ramos faces off with British standout Lerone Murphy at UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Ige, Wednesday, July 15th on ESPN. 

Arman Tsarukyan


Arman Tsarukyan is the youngest fighter on this prospect watch article at 23 years old. One doesn’t simply fight Islam Makhachev in their UFC debut. No one would have held it against Tsarukyan if he had been dominated or finished by Makhachev last April in Russia. We’d all understand that a young kid making their UFC debut has little to no chance against the top 15 Russian. Arman Tsarukyan was neither dominated or finished. In fact, Tsarukyan was awarded Fight of the Night honors against Makhachev, for his incredible scrambling ability shown throughout the 3 round fight. MMA fans were so impressed with Tsarukyan’s performance in a loss, that they wanted to see him go ahead and continue facing top competition right away. With most young prospects, it is important to take the appropriate fights so the fighter can gain seasoning and experience. Armenia’s Tsarukyan is quite the exception, as he’s already swimming with the sharks, only 2 fights deep into his UFC career. After a gritty win over TUF finalist and 12 fight UFC veteran Olivier Aubin Mercier, hardcore fans agree that Arman Tsarukyan has a future in the top 15 of the most talent stacked weight class in the entire sport, lightweight. This Saturday night in Fight Island, Arman Tsarukyan faces off with jiu jitsu ace Davi Ramos in another high stakes bout at 155 lbs. If Tsarukyan can get a victory over the “Tasmanian Devil” Ramos, it will prove that he is one step closer to cracking the rankings in the UFC’s deepest division. 

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Dan Levi has gained a reputation as MMA's premiere handicapper by consistently going against the grain with a sharpshooter approach that has coined him one of the top underdog players in the industry. Boasting an over 5 year sample size & track record, Levi has proven that he can deliver a profit year after year. Even in his toughest years, Levi still ended in the green. Host of the weekly show “Half The Battle,” Levi can be found giving entertaining & insightful analysis on the fights every single week. Levi gives back to the fight community by sponsoring over 7 professional & amateur fighters, as well as handling commentary duties for the NFC, the Southeast’s #1 regional MMA promotion. A true student of the game, Levi is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blue belt under Professor Gui Cury. All true fans of mixed martial arts can count on Levi to provide a one-of-a-kind listening experience with his unique, enthusiastic approach.