As the UFC moves to get things back on track in May, lets take a look at some of the young and rising talent in the UFC Middleweight division that are slated for a big 2020 and beyond!
Marvin Vettori is well on his way of becoming a UFC veteran and he is only 26 years old. The Italian native has already compiled a 4-2-1 UFC record after joining the promotion back in 2016 and is currently riding his first win streak in the UFC. Prior to joining the UFC, Vettori was dominating the local Italian circuit and compiled a 10-2 record while becoming the Venator FC Welterweight Champion along the way. He made his UFC on August 20, 2016 where he submitted Alberto Uda via guillotine choke in the first round. He fought three times in a span of 12 months where he compiled 1-1-1 record in the UFC against Vitor Miranda, Antonio Carlos Junior and Omari Akhmedov.
Vettori was then tasked with facing current UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya on April 14, 2018. Although he lost the fight, Vettori is the only UFC fighter that pushed the champion to a split decision victory. Vettori was aggressive and pushed forward against the taller and lengthier Adesanya to disrupt his usual game plan and not allow him to use his notable reach. Vettori went into 2019 with a 2-2-1 UFC record but the best was yet to come.
2019 has been Kings MMA standouts best year in the UFC where he compiled 2-0 record against a pair of established middleweights. The first came on July 13, 2019 where he dominated Brazilian middleweight Cezar Ferreira from start to the finish earning 30-27 unanimous across all the judge’s scorecards. Vettori followed up several months later in October with yet another magnificent performance against Andrew Sanchez that earned him a 30-27 unanimous decision on all three scorecards. Young, hungry and constantly evolving his fight game, Vettori is ready for the next step as he enters 2020 one of the top prospects in the UFC middleweight division.
It took four thunderous elbows and 15 seconds for Karl Roberson to earn himself a spot on the UFC roster. After a 4-0 start to his professional mixed martial arts career, Roberson appeared on Dana Whites Contender Series 3 to face Ryan Spann. The bout began with Spann trying to tie up Roberson against the cage and force an uncomfortable and tiring exchange. Roberson had other plans and launched a short-left elbow to side of Spann’s head visibly stunning him. Roberson noticed the effectiveness of his strike and quickly launched a second elbow that dropped Spann. He followed up with two more powerful elbows to side of the Spann’s head forcing the referee to quickly jump in and rule a knockout victory for Roberson at 0:15 seconds of round one. His performance resulted in a UFC contract and a chance to prove he was one of the best in the world.
After competing at light heavyweight for his last two bouts, Roberson decided to return to middleweight and made his UFC debut against Darren Stewart on November 11, 2017. He made quick work of Stewart by submitting him in the first round via rear-naked choke and extending his professional record to 6-0. Roberson would go on to lose to Cezar Ferreira and defeat Jack Marshman in his next two UFC bouts. In January of 2019 he returned to light heavyweight to face former title challenger and UFC veteran Glover Teixeira on short notice. Roberson gave up a distinct size and experience advantage to Teixeira but manage to impress by using his infamous elbows to hurt Glover early in round one before being submitted prior to the conclusion of the round. Despite going 1-2 in his last three UFC appearances, Roberson bounced back in July of 2019 by defeating Wellington Turman via split decision and followed up in November with another win against Roman Kopylov via rear-naked choke. The New Jersey native is 4-2 in his UFC career and currently riding a two-fight win streak eager to further elevate his status as a UFC middleweight.
Brendan Allen has undoubtedly proven he belongs in the UFC after back to back impressive victories in his first two UFC appearances. The Wisconsin native is currently riding a six-fight win streak and has compiled a 14-3 professional record despite only being 24 years old! After an impressive performance on Dana Whites Contender Series that resulted in a rear-naked choke victory against Aaron Jeffrey, Allen joined the UFC roster intent on making a statement. He did just that by submitting fellow middleweight Kevin Holland in the second round on October 18, 2019. People were beginning to pay attention to the young middle standout.
In his second fight with the UFC, Allen faced Tom Breese and punched his way to a TKO victory in the first round. The bout began with Breese trying to drag Allen to the ground and impose his ground game. Allen quickly reversed the position and ended up on top where he controlled most of the round from side control attempting multiple submissions as Breese defended. Allen transitioned into Breese’s open guard where he postured up and hit Breese with several powerful left hands and lethal elbows. Breese was unable to change position or defend effectively which resulted in the referee stepping in at 4:47 of the first round and securing a second UFC victory for Allen. The Roufousport standout is quickly gaining recognition with UFC fans and is currently averaging a 93% finish rate in his professional career. Allen is due for a big fight in 2020 that will further his exposure with UFC fans and establish his position as future middleweight contender.
For a look more rising stars in the UFC, check out https://mymmanews.com/ufc-bantamweights-on-the-rise/
Andrew is a lifelong follower of combat sports. His passion began as a child and has only grown as an adult. Andrew holds a bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University and a master’s from Texas A & M University. Outside of combat sports, Andrew currently works as a program manager for an aerospace manufacturing company. He has trained Muay Thai for seven years and continues to spar and train on the weekends when time permits.