UFC 155: Costa Philippou and the 4 Best Prospects in the Middleweight Division

Anthony FuscoCorrespondent IIIDecember 29, 2012

UFC 155: Costa Philippou and the 4 Best Prospects in the Middleweight Division

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    UFC 155 is almost upon us.

    The card will feature a plethora of middleweights including Alan Belcher, Yushin Okami, Tim Boetsch, Costa Philippou, Chris Leben and Derek Brunson. 

    There are many well established fighters that fans know on that list. And throughout the middleweight division, there are fighters who are attempting to rise through the ranks and gain some recognition.

    Fans may not know all of their names now, but these guys are working their hardest so that they can leap up the ladder and gain some recognition.

    These prospects are motivated and have top-level skill. I think it is time for them to get some attention.

    Here are the four best middleweight prospects currently fighting on the UFC roster.

Francis Carmont

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    Carmont is probably the best established of the middleweight prospects on this list.

    He holds and impressive undefeated record in the UFC (4-0), with finishes of Magnus Cedenblad and Karlos Vemola.

    Carmont is a big, strong, middleweight who possesses excellent control on the ground. His striking is also looking better and better with each passing fight.

    He trains out of the famed Tristar gym in Montreal, and this should further aid his development.

    Other notable wins include fellow prospect Chris Camozzi and veteran "Filthy" Tom Lawlor.

    Carmont is strong, hungry and constantly improving. He is an excellent prospect to keep an eye on.

Chris Camozzi

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    UFC fans got their first taste of Chris Camozzi when he was a competitor in the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter.

    He had to pull out of the show with a broken jaw, but still fought on the finale and earned a win over James Hammortree. He then won his next bout against Dongi Yang, but was released from the UFC after losing to Kyle Noke. 

    Camozzi later made a return to the UFC and dropped his first fight. Since that loss, he has come into his own and is quietly building a name for himself.

    He has rattled off three straight wins over Dustin Jacoby, Nick Catone and Luiz Cane.

    Camozzi is a solid prospect who has good hands and is very creative in the Octagon. He currently holds a UFC record of 5-2. Watch for him in the future.

Brad Tavares

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    Continuing along with the TUF 11 alum, we have Brad Tavares.

    Tavares has a UFC record of 4-1, defeating the likes of Seth Baczynski, Phil Baroni, Dongi Yang and former BAMMA middleweight champion, Tom Watson.

    At just 25 years old, he has a very well-rounded set of striking and wrestling  skills, which is what he used to win his fight against Watson.

    Tavares is an exciting fighter with a lot of potential upside. Look for him to continue moving up the ladder in 2013.

Andrew Craig

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    Possibly the least known middleweight prospect, Andrew Craig began his UFC career by facing adversity in his bout with Kyle Noke.

    He overcame that adversity and took home a unanimous decision victory.

    His next fight came against Rafael Natal.

    After being out-struck, out-worked and rocked, Craig regained his composure and finished Natal with a beautiful head-kick near the end of the second round.

    It was a gutsy display from a fighter who has risen above both UFC challenges he's faced. He holds a 2-0 UFC record and is a perfect 8-0 in his career.

    Look for the former Legacy Fighting Championship middleweight champ to put his never-say-die attitude on display in the New Year.

    Tweet me @FuscoNation16.