Demarte Pena (Ruby Wolff/EFC Worldwide)

Give Them a Chance: 32 Prospects Who Deserve a Shot at the Big Leagues

The next big thing.

This phrase served as Brock Lesnar’s nickname at one time in professional wrestling, before he became the next big thing in MMA.

It was Conor McGregor when he arrived in the UFC.


Promotions are always on the hunt for the next big thing. The UFC has used The Ultimate Fighter and Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series in its hunt. Bellator MMA had its own attempt at a TUF clone. Legacy Fighting Alliance and its predecessors, the Resurrection Fighting Alliance and Legacy Fighting Championship, put prospects through the final test to separate the best from the rest.

The next big thing has to come from somewhere. They have to start somewhere, too. Not all of them will deliver the personality that comes with a McGregor or Lesnar. Some will do all their talking with their fists and submission skills.

Here are 32 prospects who’ve put together the type of resume that would suggest that they could excel on the big stage. All they need is the chance.

Killys Mota (11-0)

The 26-year-old Mota has been bouncing around the Brazilian regional circuit since late 2013. The result is a perfect record through 11 fights. The lightweight, who has trained out of CM System and King Shark MMA, has five knockouts and three submissions. While his competition has varied in quality, he was able to hand João Carvalho his first pro loss and also recently put away Japanese star Akihiro Gono with strikes in the third round.

Weili Zhang (16-1)

Zhang is one of only two women to make this list. The Chinese fighter trains out of the Black Tiger Fight Club and debuted in her homeland in 2013. That debut outing, against fellow Chinese prospect Bo Meng, remains her only loss. The 28-year-old strawweight started steamrolling opponents with a combination of knockouts and submissions en route to a 15-fight winning streak. Along the way, she tallied 14 stoppages. She has proven herself against Japanese veteran Emi Fujino, journeywoman Karla Benitez and Brazilian veterans Aline Sattelmayer and Marilia Santos. Zhang also handed Simone Duarte her first career loss. On Oct. 3, she added a first-round submission victory over sub-.500 fighter Bianca Sattelmayer.

Rena Kubota (5-0)

Kubota is far from the average MMA prospect. The Japanese star is just 26 years old, but she already has a wealth of combat-sports experience as a kickboxer. She started competing as a kickboxer when she was just 16. In MMA, she has only tallied five fights, but she remains perfect in her young career. The Caesar Gym fighter debuted as a pro MMA fighter in 2015 with a submission finish of Jleana Valentino at Rizin Fighting World Grand Prix 2015. In her sophomore outing at a 2016 Rizin event, Kubota submitted Miyuu Yamamoto. Her three subsequent Rizin appearances all ended in knockouts. First, she stopped Hanna Gujwan. Then, it was Dóra Perjés, Kubota’s most accomplished MMA foe. Finally, in her Oct. 15 appearance, she stopped former King of the Cage titleholder Andy Nguyen. If the UFC ever creates an atomweight division, it might just want to look overseas and throw Kubota into the mix.

Rogério Bontorin (12-0, 1 NC)

It’s rare for a fighter on the regional scene to flirt with a top-15 ranking in any weight class, but that’s exactly what Bontorin has managed to do in the flyweight division. The 25-year-old has been a nightmare on the ground for his opponents. Since debuting in 2013, the Gile Ribeiro Team and Noguchi Team product has tapped 10 opponents. He has also tacked on one knockout. Bontorin won the Imortal FC 5 “Road to Pancrase” tournament to punch his ticket to an appearance in the Japanese promotion. He was forced out of a slated match-up against Mamoru Yamaguchi, but finally debuted in Pancrase against Takeshi Kasugai. The Brazilian submitted Kasugai, but the bout’s result was a no-contest because Bontorin missed weight. He has since returned to Brazil to hand the first pro loss to Jon Olivar and knock out Rildeci Dias in just 48 seconds. Bontorin has fought everywhere between flyweight and featherweight.

Juan Archuleta (16-1)

Titles in four different King of the Cage weight classes and an acting credit. What more does a fighter need to do? Since debuting in 2014, the “Spaniard” has run roughshod on the KOTC’s roster, claiming titles at 135, 145, 155 and 160 pounds. Meanwhile, he’s played the part of a coach and cornerman on Audience Network’s Kingdom television drama. The Californian won his first four fights under the Gladiator Challenge banner before making an appearance for the World Series of Fighting. He lost his WSOF fight via submission against rookie Andres Ponce. Archuleta has since gone on a 12-fight run. Many of the 30-year-old’s opponents have been unheralded, but he has topped Bellator veteran Emilio Chavez, The Ultimate Fighter 15 alum Chris Tickle and KOTC mainstay Jordan Griffin.

Mateusz Gamrot (13-0)

The 26-year-old Gamrot could join fellow Europeans McGregor and Duquesnoy on the big stage in the near future if he continues to improve upon his perfect 13-0 mark. The Polish fighter debuted in 2012 and won his first three fights before joining KSW. The shift in organizations meant an upgrade in Gamrot’s competition. He kept winning despite facing the likes of Mateusz Zawadzki, Tim Newman, Łukasz Chlewicki, Rodrigo Cavalheiro, Marif Piraev, Mansour Barnaoui, Renato Gomes and UFC veterans Andre Winner and Norman Parke. That long list of adversaries sported a combined mark of 138-34-5 when they fought Gamrot. The “Gamer” has just four knockouts and three submissions, but he’s been a very effective fighter who currently rules over KSW’s lightweight division. After defeating the aforementioned Parke in his most recent title defense in front of his countrymen, he’ll rematch the UFC vet in KSW’s upcoming trip to Ireland on Oct. 22.

Manny Bermudez (10-0)

It’s quite puzzling that Bermudez has yet to land in a major promotion. Instead, the South Shore Sportfighting export has compiled his unblemished 10-fight record exclusively with the Cage Titans and CES MMA organizations. Bermudez went 7-1 as an amateur before going pro in 2015. He’s quickly piled on the victories while bouncing between the bantamweight, featherweight and lightweight divisions. He’s been at 135 pounds for his two most recent outings. Bermudez has built a respectable record that includes victories over WSOF veteran Rodrigo Almeida, Bellator and WSOF vet Saul Almeida, LFA vet Tony Gravely and WEC veteran Bendy Casimir. Bermudez has six submissions and one knockout finish.

Yoni Sherbatov (7-0-1)

Sherbatov’s name might resonate with casual fans more than any other on this list. The Russian-born, Canadian-based fighter appeared on The Ultimate Fighter 24, where he entered as a high seed and fell via submission to lower seed Eric Shelton. The 29-year-old earned his way into the TUF house with an early career run that included four first-round submissions, three of those coming in under one minute. The final one of those knockouts, a 34-second demolition of Adrian Wooley, came in a fight for the Xcessive Force flyweight crown. Sherbatov fought to a majority draw with Tyson Nam in his only official outing of 2016 and then returned to the win column in 2017 with a 44-second knockout of Martin Sandoval. Sherbatov made the most of a golden opportunity in his recent Oct. 14 bout against former UFC flyweight Zach Makovsky in the headlining affair of Absolute Championship Berkut 72. Sherbatov edged Makovsky on the scorecards to claim his seventh pro victory.

Alexey Kunchenko (16-0)

Kunchenko is one of the bigger and most successful stars under the M-1 Challenge banner. The 33-year-old debuted in 2013 and marched his way to the M-1 welterweight title by 2016. The Boets fighter has faced some varied competition throughout his career, but he does hold victories over the strong cast of Gennadiy Kovalev, Bellator veteran Ron Keslar, Carlos Pereira, Murad Abdulaev (for the belt and again in a title defense) and Eduardo Ramon. Kunchenko has 11 knockouts and one submission finish. He can add to his remarkable record on Oct. 27, when he faces Sergey Romanov under the M-1 Challenge banner.

Demarte Pena (11-0, 1 NC)

South Africa’s Extreme Fighting Championship Worldwide promotion has yet to deliver a prospect whose local success translates into global success and a spot among the UFC’s elite. If any EFC Worldwide fighter can break through and become an international star, it’d be Pena. Under the EFC banner, Pena has already captured featherweight and bantamweight titles. He’s now a part of EFC Worldwide’s The Fighter: Team Pena vs. Team Sayed competition. The 28-year-old has been a fixture of the EFC roster since his pro debut in 2011. After only three victories, he was the promotion’s featherweight champ. As a 145-pounder, Pena defended the belt five times, including against such notable challengers as Wesley Hawkey and Alain Ilunga. Eventually, “The Wolf” vacated the featherweight throne to pursue a title reign in the bantamweight division. As a 135er, he immediately claimed the title with a win over Nkazimulo Zulu and subsequently defended the strap with victories over Francois Groenewald and Cedric Doyle. Most recently, Pena defended the belt against Irshaad Sayed, but the champ failed a drug test and the outcome of the fight, a victory for Pena, was overturned to a no-contest. As a result, the champ Pena and interim titleholder Sayed will fight again in December. “The Wolf” is a SASCA grappling champion and an undefeated amateur Muay Thai competitor through six contests, but he also has a background in Shaolin Kung Fu, karate and judo. The Fight Fit Militia product has just two knockouts and two submissions.

Irshaad Sayed (13-2, 1 NC)

Sayed is another top name on the EFC Worldwide roster, thanks in part to his previous fight with the aforementioned Pena and his upcoming rematch. The “White Tiger” was born in South Africa, but he fights out of New Zealand and spent the early part of his career, from his 2010 debut through his ninth pro outing, competing exclusively in the Asian region. Sayed even has one appearance for ONE Championship. In 2014, the 28-year-old shifted his focus to EFC Worldwide. In his promotional debut, he topped Leo Gloss, the same man against whom Pena first became an EFC champion. He added four more victories to become the EFC Worldwide interim bantamweight champion. Then came his fight against Pena, which was later ruled a no-contest when Pena failed a drug test. The Evolve MMA fighter added another win in April when he toppled Tumisang Madiba in a non-title outing. Now, Sayed is featured in EFC Worldwide’s The Fighter: Team Pena vs. Team Sayed competition and is slated to rematch Pena to unify the belts in December. He has six knockout victories and three submission finishes in his 15-fight career. His only losses, besides the voided unanimous decision against Pena, came against future UFC fighter Tuerxun Jumabieke.

Dricus Du Plessis (11-1)

EFC Worldwide contributes a few more prospects beyond the two rival bantamweight stars of the promotion. One of these fighters is Du Plessis, who has followed in Pena’s footsteps by working within two divisions and conquering them both. “Stillknocks” is another EFC lifer, having made his pro debut with the company in 2013. After four finishes as a middleweight, Du Plessis came up short in a middleweight title bid against Garreth McLellan. The loss remains as the only blemish in the fighter’s career. He rebounded with five submission victories spanning two weight classes, a catchweight affair and a welterweight championship win. In his first fight of 2017, Du Plessis defended his 170-pound belt. In his most recent fight, he added the promotion’s 185-pound title to his mantel with a first-round submission of Yannick Bahati. Du Plessis is a former WAKO world champion kickboxer who has just three knockout finishes to accompany eight submission victories. He has never gone the distance.

Igeu Kabesa (9-1)

South Africa’s contributions to this list continue with Kabesa, EFC Worldwide’s current featherweight kingpin. “Smiley” is yet another lifelong EFC fighter. Kabesa debuted as a pro in 2013 in a lightweight fight. He dropped to bantamweight for his sophomore outing, but then returned to 155 pounds for his next four fights, all of which ended in victory for the native South African. The Fight Fit Militia teammate of Pena then moved to the featherweight division and immediately dethroned future UFC fighter Danny Henry. He defended his title against Hanru Botha to close out 2016, but he relinquished the title to Henry in their 2017 rematch. With Henry whisked off to the UFC, Kabesa defeated Pierre Botha to capture the vacated featherweight strap. Kabesa, who has a foundation in wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, has two submission wins and three knockout finishes.

Hayato Suzuki (17-0-2)

It’s difficult to believe that the 31-year-old Suzuki hasn’t received more attention after a 19-fight run in which he has never lost. Perhaps that’ll change with the Japanese fighter competing under the ONE Championship banner. The Brave Gym export debuted in 2012 and recorded both of his draws within his first five appearances. He’s won his last 14 fights. Suzuki has made stops in numerous promotions, including Deep, Grachan and Vale Tudo Japan. Until he landed in ONE, however, the argument could be made that he had not really defeated any notable names. Upon his arrival in ONE, he secured a first-round submission win over former men’s strawweight title challenger Joshua Pacio. Overall, Suzuki has seven submissions and five knockouts.

Israel Adesanya (10-0)

Unless you’re a fan of kickboxing, it’s OK if you’ve never heard of the 28-year-old Adesanya. After all, his MMA bouts have primarily been less publicized contests in New Zealand and China. The Nigerian-born fighter has been in the ring with some of kickboxing’s best, including former GLORY champions Simon Marcus and Jason Wilnis. However, Adesanya finally earned some major recognition for his MMA skills with a first-round knockout of UFC veteran Melvin Guillard in a Australian FC title fight in July. “The Style Bender” claimed the promotion’s middleweight belt with the victory. While the rest of his MMA resume hardly compares in terms of star power, Adesanya has also scored stoppage victories over established veterans Vladimir Katyhin, Dibir Zagirov and Andrew Flores Smith. All 10 of his pro MMA outings have ended in a knockout victory for the emerging prospect.

Darko Stošić (11-1)

The 25-year-old Stošić has done an admirable job of representing his native Serbia in the world of MMA. The judo practitioner debuted in 2012 and tallied wins in his first four fights before running into Jiří Procházka, who stopped Stošić in the first round for his only career defeat. Stošić responded with seven straight wins. Along the way, he stopped five opponents and won the Final Fight Championship heavyweight crown. He holds notable victories over Dion Staring (twice) and Emil Zahariev. Stošić has seven knockouts and one submission win.

Chazz Walton (5-0)

With only five pro bouts under his belt, Walton is one of the least experienced fighters on this list. Why did he make the cut then? Well, it could have something to do with his total cage time through those first five contests. He’s spent just under five and a half minutes in action, total. His 2015 debut against Jason Everhart lasted just over two minutes and stands as his longest outing so far. His next fight, against Shaun Stoffer, was over in seven seconds. After going all of 68 seconds with Josh Millwood before earning his third victory, Walton went just 43 seconds with Wesley Golden. In his most recent outing, Walton almost made it to the 90-second mark before finishing Warren Smith. The 28-year-old still needs some tougher tests — Golden and Smith, at 5-5, were his most successful foes — but his knack for quick finishes should catch the attention of the big promotions soon enough. His wins over Millwood and Golden came under the Legacy Fighting Championship banner. Overall, “The Hybrid” has three knockouts and two submissions.

Khalid Taha (11-0)

Taha, 24, might already have his big break in front of him. The young bantamweight defeated Japanese fighter Keita Ishibashi in the tournament round of 16 at Rizin Fighting Federation’s World Grand Prix 2017 1st Round in July. The first-round knockout allows the German to advance on in what is sure to be a high-profile tourney. Taha debuted in 2013 and finished his first five opponents before challenging for the Fair FC bantamweight title with a decision nod over Oemer Cankardesler. Two fights later, he added the Top Ten Champions crown to his collection with a first-round technical knockout of Nijat Valijev. He added two more victories, including a split decision over veteran Timo-Juhani Hirvikangas, before he faced Ishibashi in Japan. The Combat Club Cologne product has seven knockout finishes and two submission victories, including one that came as a result of strikes.

Ottman Azaitar (9-0)

In addition to Taha, Germany also gives us Azaitar. The “Bulldozer” started his career in 2014 as a welterweight on the German regional circuit. He has recently moved on to compete under the Brave CF banner in the Middle East. He dropped to the lightweight division for his recent dismantling of veteran Charlie Leary and will remain in the weight class for a Brave CF title match against Alejandro Martinez that is set to take place in November. The Turkish-born Muay Thai specialist has five knockouts and three submissions, including one by way of strikes.

Go Kashiwazaki (16-1-2)

Kashiwazaki is only 21 years old, but he already has 19 pro fights under his belt. The K-Place fighter was just 16 when he debuted in 2012 against Kazuki Date. Kashiwazaki locked in an armbar to finish Date and then claimed another five arms to move to 6-0 under the ZST banner. The Japanese fighter fought to a draw against Ken Kawamura before switching gears and knocking out his next two opponents. After another draw, he returned to his submission game and choked out five of his next six foes (the other fight went the distance). It was back to knockout finishes in his two most recent victories. Kashiwazaki finally endured his first loss in his most recent fight in November 2016 when he dropped a majority decision to UFC veteran Motonobu Tezuka. He’s slated to fight for the first time this year when he appears at Grandslam 6 in late October against Tomohiko Hori. The youngster has 10 submissions and four knockout finishes. He has also claimed a ZST tournament championship and reigned as the promotion’s bantamweight champion.

Allan Zuñiga (13-0)

Costa Rica hasn’t exactly been a source of MMA stars, but Zuñiga has a chance to change that. “Tigre” debuted on the local scene in 2010 and won his first six fights in his homeland before traveling abroad. He continued to win internationally, but he was largely unproven until he collided with Levy Salazar, Marcin Bandel and Ilianovich Chalo in his last three fights and emerged no worse for the wear. The lightweight fighter has three knockouts and four submissions, but he still needs to prove himself against increasingly difficult competition.

Mark De La Rosa (9-0)

“The Bumblebee” is only 23 years old, but he’s already off to a strong start. De La Rosa debuted in 2014 with a first-round submission victory over fellow rookie Marcus Huerta. The Genesis BJJ product has slowly stepped up in competition in his subsequent fights. He scored a decision in his sophomore outing against another rookie and then made an appearance under the Legacy Fighting Championship banner in 2015 when he edged Keeton Gorton via a split decision in a preliminary-card bout. The bantamweight hasn’t been back to Legacy FC or its successor, the Legacy Fighting Alliance, but he maintained his winning ways en route to championships in the Dominion Warrior and Superior Combative Championships organizations. From there, he moved on to Mexico’s Combate Americas organization, where he’s added two recent submission wins. Overall, the Texan has five choke submissions and one knockout.

Sergio Giglio (11-0)

Peru has yet to provide us with many top fighters, but the 20-year-old Giglio is out to change that. “Cachorrito” The young fighter made his pro debut at the age of 16 and defeated Alonso Salazar in the first round. He continued to reel off first-round finishes through his first four fights, competing with major Peruvian promotions 300 Sparta and Inka FC. In his fifth fight, he went the distance against a sub-.500 fighter who represented Giglio’s first experienced foe. The featherweight submitted his next three opponents before again going the distance in a decision win against Sandro de Souza, who easily stands as Giglio’s most experienced and most successful opponent to date. The Los Perros Sarnosos export has since added another decision nod and a knockout victory to his resume. There are two big concerns with Giglio: his injury history and his level of competition. Giglio needs to prove he can stay healthy, but he also needs to venture outside of Peru to prove that he is a legitimate up-and-comer.

Alexander Keshtov (8-0)

Eight fights, eight wins, and eight years as an MMA fighter. Keshtov’s biggest issue is obviously his lack of activity since debuting in 2009. However, the Russian fighter is still perfect, and he hasn’t exactly been fighting tomato cans when he does compete. “AK-47” has an odd career for a Russian fighter. He won his first two pro bouts on the Russian regional circuit, but then hopped to Arkansas for his next victory. After two more wins in his homeland, he traveled to China and then the United States to accumulate his three most recent victories. While he only averages one fight per year, this has more to do with a lengthy hiatus between his two 2009 bouts and his return to the sport in 2014. The K-Dojo Warrior Tribe fighter has made appearance in Kunlun Fight, World Series of Fighting Global, Global Proving Ground and Ring of Combat. He has won bantamweight titles under the GPG and ROC banners. The 30-year-old has four knockouts and one submission victory. He’s scored victories over Caleb Lally, Billy Giovanella and James Quigg.

Luka Strezoski (7-0)

Serbia’s Strezoski has a similar problem to Keshtov. He, too, tends to average just one fight per year. The 27-year-old debuted in 2011 with a submission victory on the Montenegro regional circuit, but he didn’t have his sophomore outing until two years later. He took a decision and then added two more stoppages before the end of 2014. That’s when controversy hit. Strezoski was slated to meet fellow welterweight prospect Salim Touahri at Serbian Battle Championship 4, but the fight never took place. According to Strezoski’s camp, the fighter had an injury. However, Touahri’s people claim he was asked to throw the fight or fight for half the pay. Of course, this puts a blemish on Strezoski’s reputation. The Serbian has responded with three first-round submission victories, including two on American shores. Veteran journeymen Portland Pringle III and Dequan Townsend are among the Family Fight Team product’s victims.

Sean Brady (6-0)

The 24-year-old Brady is among the least experienced pros on this list, but he’s also the Cage Fury Fighting Championships welterweight champion and a mainstay of the promotion since his debut. After amassing a 5-0 mark as an amateur, the Pennsylvania-based upstart turned pro in 2014. He scored a 33-second technical knockout of Paul Almquist in his first fight. He reeled off decision victories in his next three outings, including a fight against veteran Rocky Edwards. His next victory, a 57-second spinning-backfist knockout, came against LFA and WSOF veteran Chauncey Foxworth. Brady captured the vacant Cage Fury title in May when he scored a first-round submission finish of Tanner Saraceno. He’s slated to defend his belt on Oct. 21 at CFFC 68, where he fights fellow prospect Dwight Grant.

Adam Dyczka (6-0)

His nickname is “Kung Fu Panda,” and so far the heavyweight fighter has been living up to the reputation of his animated namesake. The Canadian fighter has demolished his first six opponents via strikes. It all started when the 26-year-old turned pro in 2014. The Speedy Gym product put away Jesse Guillemette in less than a round. He added an injury TKO in early 2015, but didn’t fight again until late 2016 when he signed on with the Canadian TKO organization. He’s torn through four opponents in less than a year. First, he scored a 56-second technical knockout of rookie Emanuel Vallée. His next victim, Jared Henderson, lasted just 54 seconds. He went to the second round against Bobby Sullivan, but then returned to his habit of first-round finishes when he met Ricardeau Francois in September. Dyczka has a long way to go — Francois was his first opponent to have more than five previous pro fights — but the heavyweight division can always use prospects with finishing ability.

Pongsiri Mitsatit (8-0)

The men’s strawweight division doesn’t get much attention, especially on American shores. Head over to Asia, however, and there’s a bigger market for diminutive men slugging it out. The division tends to be shallow on talent, but Mitsatit is a welcomed addition. He’s already getting some spotlight on the ONE Championship stage, where he has made two recent appearances. Under the ONE banner, “Piak” has brought an early end to the evening for opponents Ye Thway Ne and Rabin Catalan. The 21-year-old debuted as an 18-year-old in 2014. He scored first-round finishes in his first two fights before going the distance against Payoongsak Singchalad in his third pro bout. He scored knockouts in his next three contests, including back-to-back fights against Wisawa Kaveevaragorn. Other than in the second fight with Kaveevaragorn, Mitsatit’s only fight against an experienced opponent came in his outing against the aforementioned Catalan. The Thai fighter is a member of Team Quest Thailand. He has a knack for knocking out his foes, but he needs to fight more seasoned opponents.

Bryce Mitchell (9-0)

Mitchell hardly has the look of a fighter whose nickname is “Thug Nasty,” but maybe it has more to do with his work inside the cage. After all, the Arkansas native has put a beating on his opponents to the tune of seven first-round submissions, eight submissions overall and nine total victories. This came after the 23-year-old had already racked up a 10-1 run as an amateur. The Barata MMA export has fought primarily under the V3 Fights banner, but he’s made stops in the World Series of Fighting and also competed as part of the co-promoted RFA vs. Legacy FC 1 event. With the WSOF, Mitchell notched submission finishes of Jorge Medina and Brandon Phillips. More recently, he defeated Isaac Ware to become the V3 Fights featherweight champion and then defended the belt against Jose Mariscal.

Dmitriy Parubchenko (13-0)

The Ukraine delivers a prospect who has been making a name for himself recently. The 24-year-old Parubchenko debuted in 2011, but his first eight fights — all finishes — came against very inexperienced competition. In his second appearance for Tech-Krep FC, the Germes fighter finally stepped up to face a fellow undefeated up-and-comer, Bayzet Khatkhohu. Parubchenko won a decision and then traveled to Japan, where he scored a technical knockout of UFC veteran Naoyuki Kotani. He added two more finishes on the Ukrainian regional circuit before against surprising a veteran Japanese fighter when he went to Brazil and submitted Daisuke Hoshino at Arzalet Fighting 1. The victory came in Arzalet’s lightweight tournament semifinals. Parubchenko is expected to return to action under the Arzalet banner on Oct. 21, but his opponent is not yet known. Overall, the Ukrainian fighter has five knockouts and seven submission victories.

Sergiu Spivac (7-0)

The heavyweight division remains among the most shallow in terms of talent. That’s why Moldovan standout Spivac is an intriguing prospect. The “Polar Bear” is only 22 years old, but he already has seven victories, all by stoppage, under his belt. He debuted in the Ukraine in 2014 and quickly picked up three victories. He then made stops in two other countries, including his homeland, before returning to the Ukraine for his two most recent affairs. In March, Spivac destroyed .500 fighter Luke Morton in just 40 seconds. Most recently, he added a win over Travis Fulton, a veteran of over 300 fights. Spivac submitted Fulton in under three minutes to claim World Warriors Fighting Championships heavyweight gold. Overall, the big man has four submission finishes and three knockouts.

Jon Neal (10-0)

An American rounds out this long list. The 29-year-old Neal has been fighting professionally since 2008, making him another fighter who barely averages more than one fight per year. The Utah-based fighter only fought once in 2008 before going inactive until 2011. He tacked on three victories within four months before again vanishing from the scene until 2013. Neal has continued these spurts of activity ever since. Along the way, though, he’s fought and defeated several seasoned veterans, including Scott Casey and Jordan Clements. In 2013, Neal claimed the SteelFist Fight Night lightweight strap with his victory over the aforementioned Casey. He successfully defended the belt against Troy Dennison, but then had to win it again more than a year later when he met the aforementioned Clements. Upon his return to action in 2017, Neal dropped to featherweight and won another SteelFist title with his victory over Tanner Cowan. Neal most recently made a successful defense of his crown against Skyler Frazier. Overall, Neal has seven submission victories and two knockouts.