Outside of the UFC Fighters to Watch in 2022

UFC is the Premier MMA organization, Everyone overlooks the talented MMA rosters like Bellator, One Championship and Professional Fighters League. There some talented MMA fighters in top tier promotions who can beat top 15 fighters in there weight class it’s just they don’t fight for UFC.

Fighters to watch list can become world champions for there promotion, Sign with UFC in 2022 fighting on the biggest stage. Getting the biggest exposure possible. Ranked as one of the best fighters or take the money route fighting for a underrated promotion.

Aaron Pico

Best decision he’s ever made was moving down to Albuquerque, New Mexico and training at JacksonWink MMA Academy.

Since the move down he’s on a five fight winning streak defeating top fighters like Solo Hatley, Justin Gonzales former LFA Featherweight Champion & Aiden Lee.

Looking like the featherweight version of George St Pierre.

Pico dominating fighters that are pretty good, Making it look easy. However Pico is on another level right now physically and mentally.

“I’ve really gotten good everywhere and it’s fighting in the clinch, on the ground, off my back, if a guy’s on my leg against the cage, if I’m on his leg against the cage, elbows, clinch fighting, rhythm changes”

https://www.mmafighting.com/2021/6/10/22525474/aaron-pico-puts-faith-manager-coaches-lead-career-after-learning-harsh-reality-im-not-invincible

Pico one of the best fighters in Bellator prove he’s one of the best Featherweights in the world future matchups against Mads Burnell, Emmanuel Sanchez, Daniel Weichel.

Depending on AJ McKee’s decision he can move up to Lightweight and face Patricky Friere for the title.

Aaron Pico can fight Mads Burnell for the vacated Bellator Featherweight title. Pico becoming the Bellator Fighter of the Year for 2022.

Ray Cooper

Robbie Lawler 2.0 won the the PFL Welterweight Title in 2021 by defeating one of Dagestan’s finest Magomedkerimov. Biggest win of his career by defeating Rory MacDonald.

Ray Cooper one of the most underrated welterweights right now. Fights exactly like Robbie Lawler two dawgs in his hands and will continue to KO future PFL opponents in 2022. Winning the PFL Tournament most likely but fighting high quality welterweight opponents.

PFL looking for a new broadcast partner and Cooper will be the new FACE of Professional Fighters League assuming Kayla Harrison signs with UFC or Bellator.

“I feel like I’m the most exciting fighter in the PFL.”

“I think I’d run him over. Kamaru Usman is a great champion, but I think I’m the best. I can stand and I can trade and I can grapple. I don’t think anybody has pushed Usman like I will. I think I would put the pressure on him, and I would knock him out. His hands are nothing spectacular. I think everybody is just afraid of his wrestling because he’s a great wrestler. But I ain’t afraid of his wrestling – I can take him down.”

https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2021/11/ray-cooper-guarantees-wins-over-kamaru-usman-colby-covington-ufc-pfl-video

Salahdine Parnasse

KSW Featherweight Champion is one of the best fighters not in the UFC, Defeated some high level European fighters in the past like Ivan Buchinger who was a M-1 Featherweight Champion and Cage Warriors Lightweight Champion.

French Brightest MMA star part of the first generation of French MMA talent.

Two routes in 2022 can happen for Salahdine Parnasse one is multiple defenses for KSW, Selling out Arneas in Poland or Paris with PPV share percentage. Second option is test free agency sign with UFC, Bellator or One Championship.

Rustam Kerimov

Outside of the UFC is one of the best Bantamweights in the world. Former ACA Bantamweight Champion is making a run for the title again after testing free agency but had no luck because of Covid and traveling.

In his MMA return ran through former ACA Bantamweight Champion Daniel Oliveira like it was nothing. Showing everyone that Kerimov is one of the best Bantamweights in the world and he’s looking to take that ACA Bantamweight title back from Magomed Bibulatov in 2022.

First fight for Kerimov in 2022 is against Abdul-Rakhman Dudaev at ACA 135. Kerimov dominated Dudaev before at ACA 93 when Kerimov defended his title for the first time.

Dudaev is a stud but I don’t expect a different result at ACA 135. Kerimov is in his prime and Dudaev is older.

Spring of 2022 Kerimov vs Bibulatov Clash of Bantamweight Champions. Win against Bibulatov I can expect Kerimov for the second time test free agency and see what the best deal is.

Jornel Lugo

Bellator Bantamweight division is RED HOT and stacked right now, Watch a Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix in 2022 as Kyoji Horiguchi joins the Bellator Bantamweight Grand Prix.

One red hot Bantamweight didn’t make the grand prix but at anytime can replace a slot because he’s a well rounded Bantamweight prospect,

With every fight Lugo only getter better and edging the small fundamentals that make or break a fighter into becoming a champion.

Watch and see Lugo continue to improve in 2022 in his next fight against the Irishman and SBG Ireland fighter Brian Moore at Bellator 275.

Sneaky good fight but Lugo is the favorite and will look to face losers out of the Bantamweight Grand Prix or non grand prix matchups against Mattheus Mattos & Jared Scoggins.

End of the year I wouldn’t be surprised if Lugo is ranked in the top five of the Bantamweight rankings.

  • 7-0 record
  • 26 years old
  • Comparison Neil Magny

Gary Tonon

Well known for being part of the Danaher Death Squad and one of the best submission grapplers in the world. Winning medals in Jiu-Jitsu Competitions.

Tonon now looking to win a One Championship Featherweight title in 2022 showing the MMA world were in a new era of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, You can become a world class Jiu-Jitsu grappler and win a MMA World Title.

Thanh Le is the current One Championship Featherweight Champion, Le is a taekwondo 5th degree Black Belt, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Brown Belt under Ryan Hall

Gary Tonon vs Thanh Le would be two completely different fighting styles but would make for an interesting fight.

John Danaher is the mastermind of Jiu-Jitsu, Mastermind of George St Pierre and now will bring his MMA knowledge to Gary Tonon. Curious to see how the Danaher/Tonon partnership helps in 2022 becoming an all-around talent beside being a world class Jiu-Jitsu artist!!

Stamp Fairtex

My favorite women’s MMA fighter in the world is the most exciting women’s fighter on the One Championship roster.

2021 One Championship Female Fighter of the Year because of her SUCCESSFUL transition from Muay Thai to winning the One Championship Atomweight Grand Prix.

Revenging her loss Alyona Rassohyna in the Atomweight Grand Prix Quarterfinals showing the very needed improvement in her grappling skills. Defeated Ritu Phogat World Class Indian Wrestler, Won the 2016 National Wrestling Championship, Gold Medalist at the Commonwealth Wrestling Championship.

Winning the Grand Prix gives her the opportunity to face ANGELA LEE for the One Championship Atomweight Title at One Championship X on March 26th.

Be Angela Lee’s toughest test, Not faced a tougher striker than Stamp Fairtex.

“I will have to go back and train hard to prepare for her [Lee], because she is a very well-rounded fighter and she’s good in all the aspects,” said Stamp, who trains out of the Fairtex gym in Bangkok. “I’ll have to prepare my conditioning, use more weight training and prepare really hard for this fight.”

https://www.scmp.com/sport/martial-arts/mixed-martial-arts/article/3158456/one-championship-stamp-fairtex-embraces?module=perpetual_scroll_0&pgtype=article&campaign=3158456

Yaroslav Amosov

Not surprised by reading that Yaroslav Amosov is on my list for MMA fighters to watch. Yes he’s the Bellator Welterweight Champion dominated Douglas Lima for the title back at Bellator 260.

Yaroslav Amosov vs Michael “Venom” Page is the match everyone wants to see. MVP is the star that Bellator needs as Yaroslav Amosov defeats MVP one of the best Karate Fighters in the world winning the Gold Medal in the 2007 WAKO World Championship.

“We are in the process of putting that fight together now with him and MVP to fight in London at some point early next year,” Coker told MMA Junkie.

“Believe me, a lot of people are saying well Amosov is so good and he’s – yeah he is that good and that’s why his record is undefeated. But MVP has a very unique style and he’s very hard to hit, to catch and it’s gonna be interesting to see how Amosov handles that because he’s fighting like a very awkward, karate style combatant and it’s not like your normal MMA fighter” Scott Coker

https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2021/12/mma-news-scott-coker-yaroslav-amosov-vs-michael-page-in-the-works-for-massive-fight-in-london

Amosov vs MVP would be one of the biggest fights in history but Amosov can make a statement in 2022 by defeated world class fighter Jason Jackson trains with Gilert Burns & Michael Chandler.

Potential matchups against former Bellator Welterweight Champion Andrey Koreshkov and a rematch against Logan Storley which was a great three round fight.

Apti Bimarzaev

I love the Russians but the Eastern Europe region is going to rapidly grow transferring from Soccer, Hockey to MMA.

Apti Bimarzaev will be the King of Belarus MMA, Right now ranked as the #4th ACA Featherweight and I guarantee him winning the ACA Featherweight title in 2022.

Future matchups against SALMAN ZHAMALDAEV former ACA Featherweight Champion would lead Apti to a title shot against MAGOMEDRASUL KHASBULAEV.

29 years old time to get that UFC or Bellator contract in 2022.

The talent speaks for yourself.

Domique Wooding

Last one may be a surprise but since his Bellator release found a “New Home” in Cage Warriors shocking me when he defeated Nathan Fletcher for the vacated Cage Warriors Bantamweight Title.

Defended his Bantamweight title back at Cage Warriors 132 with a MMA twitter trending flying KNEE knockout.

Bellator didn’t cut a OLD fighter released a 25 year old fighter, I don’t expect Wooding to stay for Cage Warriors much longer unless he’s making 50k a year.

“I’m ready right now to be in the UFC, I’m ready to compete against these high-level guys and I’m ready to trailblaze through some of these guys.”

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/17138866/dominique-wooding-ufc-contract-ufc-london-cage-warriors/

Dominique Wooding and his management at Paradigm Sports Management should test free agency and I suggest him signing with One Championship. The One Championship Bantamweight division isn’t that stacked compared to UFC or Bellator.

Of course theirs’s Bibiano Fernandes, John Lineker, Yusup Saadulaev, Rising fighters Fabricio Andrade and Stephen Loman. Beside them that’s really it. Quickly Dominique Wooding can be a top five Bantamweight and fight for the title.

Other option is sign with UFC but no trash contender series where your making 12k a fight. UFC always targeting upcoming talent from England and Wooding can be part of the next group of British fighters.

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