FW: Jamall Emmers (Pinnacle MMA) vs. Julian Erosa (Yakima MMA)
MW: Tim Caron (Burgess MMA) vs. Jordan Williams (Nor-Cal Fighting Alliance)
Best Prospect: Antonina Shevchenko
Name value is definitely important when it comes to the fight game, and it sure doesn’t hurt when you’re the sister of UFC top contender and former title challenger Valentina Shevchenko. Of course, no matter whom a fighter is related to, the fighter still has to have skills to be considered for a top promotion. Antonina Shevchenko certainly is among the most skilled ladies not currently under UFC contract.
The undefeated Muay Thai stylist is much like her sister, just with less experience. The knock on Antonina is her lack of finishes to this point in her career, but she’s such a strong technical fighter that her decision victories are usually pretty clear in her favor. Women’s divisions are among the most shallow, so she’s clearly the best prospect in terms of fighter-to-depth ratio.
Best Fight: Jamall Emmers vs. Julian Erosa
Julian Erosa has been in the UFC before after completing a tenure as a member of The Ultimate Fighter. He was released from the company in 2016. Since departing the UFC, he’s gone 6-2 while being the always-exciting fighter he’s always been. Erosa is unorthodox and always willing to trade, which is what’s made him so entertaining.
Erosa’s opponent, Jamall Emmers, is rarely in a snoozer either. He will have no problem standing toe-to-toe with Erosa in an attempt to bring fans the most entertainment possible. Over his last three fights, Emmers has added wins over UFC veterans Chris Avila and Cory Sandhagen to show he can hang with top-level guys.
Don’t blink during this one.
The Longshot: Greg Rebello
The UFC will give guys a second chance when they’ve failed. That’s understandable. Fighters are human. They are not perfect, and they tend to grow over time. However, Rebello receives yet another chance after not just one, but two failures with the UFC.
Rebello failed to gain entry into the house of The Ultimate Fighter 11 after falling to Josh Bryant in the prelims. A long time passed, but Rebello was brought back last summer for the Contender Series in a fight against Azunna Anyanwu. Rebello was brutally knocked out by Anyanwu, and that should probably show UFC head Dana White that Rebello was never UFC material.
Since the loss to Anyanwu, Rebello has gone 2-0 with two knockouts, which does carry some weight, but there are certainly other heavyweights the UFC should look at before giving Rebello a third chance. One has to assume this is truly his last opportunity to score a UFC contract.
The Dark Horse: Te Edwards
The MMA Lab is full of promising young prospects. They get churned out so fast that it’s difficult to keep track. Flying under the radar on this card is MMA Lab member Te Edwards, a 27-year-old lightweight prospect who is quickly learning under the tutelage of John Crouch.
Edwards’ collegiate wrestling background and fantastic athleticism give him the tools to make him very successful in this sport. He took his first fight in 2013, but he has not been very active since then, with just a 5-1 mark. This has changed recently, though, after Edwards took two fights in two months in 2017. It looks like he’s ready to emerge from the gym and make more of a name for himself in this sport. This is a great platform, as he can jump from under the radar into the public eye of the average UFC fan.
Signing Predictions: Shevchenko and Edwards
Shevchenko has pull because of her sister. In addition, the women’s flyweight division is in the building process and needs fighters of her quality.
Meanwhile, Edwards is going to prove his superior prospect status and impressively finish his opponent, Austin Tweedy, to force White to sign him.
Women’s FlyW: Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jaymee Nievara
LW: Te Edwards vs. Austin Tweedy
HW: Greg Rebello vs. Josh Parisian
FW: Jamall Emmers vs. Julian Erosa
MW: Tim Caron vs. Jordan Williams
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