5 Flyweight Prospects the UFC Should Sign
We continue the "Prospects the UFC Should Sign" series, which will take us division by division, looking at the top prospects that should be signed by the UFC.
Currently the least-employed but possibly most exciting division in the UFC, the flyweight division is in dire need of some depth and roster additions to survive. A reason they may be short on fighters is because of the recent addition and focus on women's MMA with the company.
The division is firmly under the control of champion Demetrious Johnson, who has staved off all comers. There are some tough guys in the division, including Joseph Benavidez, Ian McCall, John Dodson and Jussier da Silva.
Here are five flyweight prospects that the UFC should sign to build the division from its fountation.
Note: There was no top-five ranking for this weight division last year.
Last Fight: Unanimous decision victory vs. Josh Robinson
Right off the bat, one flyweight that almost every fan tells me they are dying to see in the UFC is Sergio Pettis.
The brother of top contender Anthony Pettis is ineligible to compete on the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter, as he is just 19 years of age. With that being said, he is literally the future of the flyweight division, and he is not even of legal age to consume alcohol (bummer, I know).
Pettis is undefeated in seven pro bouts, looking fantastic in them all. Four wins have come via finish, and the young man has already disposed of respected veteran Josh Robinson in his latest outing.
He has fantastic kicks and striking in general, but it's his ground game that is beginning to develop. The UFC should make him the youngest member of their roster as soon as possible.
Last Fight: Unanimous decision victory vs. Anthony Figueroa
A fellow member of AMA Fight Club, the gym home to Frankie Edgar, Sean Santella has put together an impressive resume while fighting in the eastern United States.
A wrestler with solid all-around skills, Santella has carved out eight of his 12 victories via submission. In three losses, "Shorty Rock" has never been finished—a credit to his durability.
A list of the men he has defeated include East Coast fight veterans Tuan Pham, Evan Velez and fellow CFFC veteran Anthony Figueroa in his last bout.
This submission fighter could add an interesting dynamic to the thin field at 125. However, he has a date with Dave Morgan in May at CFFC 24 that he must handle first.
Last Fight: Split decision victory vs. Mamoru Yamaguchi
At this point, Darrell Montague likely isn't a prospect anymore.
With that being said, it's the flyweight division, there are only 13 competitors in the UFC's ranks and Montague is better than most of them.
Simply put, he needs to be signed immediately. I don't know what the bosses are thinking by not inking this guy.
Montague is a top-10 flyweight in the world right now, if not in the top five. His only two losses have come against a featherweight in Robbie Peralta and another top-five guy in Ian McCall.
Montague is very well-rounded, owning five stoppages by knockout and four by submission. He owns wins against UFC veteran Ulysses Gomez, battle-tested Taylor McCorriston and legendary Japanese flyweight Mamoru Yamaguchi (who should also be signed by the company).
"The Mongoose" could be a title contender right away. Obviously, he would need to fight first, so a matchup against Phil Harris, Tim Elliott or Louis Gaudinot, who are currently without opponents, could be a nice tuneup for him.
Last Fight: TKO victory vs. Josh Robinson
Besides having a name straight out of an Eastern European hitman movie, Alptekin Ozkilic is the true definition of a prospect. The 27-year-old has just eight pro fights and has dominated all seven of his wins.
He has won five of his fights by decision, but that should not take away from the exciting nature of this man. His most recent win was a shocking knockout of respected journeyman Josh Robinson, which saw the St. Charles MMA representative drop hammering blows with his fists to Robinson's dome.
His only loss is to current UFC bantamweight Chico Camus. He has the skills and potential to be a long-lasting member of the UFC's 125-pound division.
Missouri Action Sports
Last Fight: Submission victory vs. Alexis Vila
Josh Sampo may be one of the hottest commodities in the flyweight division right now and has all sorts of momentum on his side. He is a teammate of Alptekin Ozkilic, who is another fighter gracing this flyweight prospects list.
Sampo is a submission fighter with five tapout wins to his name. Though he decisioned a highly-regarded Czar Sklavos, Sampo's two most recent wins over UFC veteran Antonio Banuelos and Bellator veteran Alexis Vila have him jumping up the rankings at will.
Sampo does have some striking skill too, but his bread and butter is on the mat. It would be interesting to see how UFC flyweights would handle this suddenly surging prospect.