When it comes to staying entertained in your spare time, few sports can match MMA. The volatile personalities involved always make it exciting even when there are no fights going on. When you also factor in the fighting talent within MMA, it is no surprise that so many of us like to keep an eye on it. There are so many great fighters around now from Henry Cejudo and Conor McGregor to Israel Adesanya and Khabib Nurmagomedov that the match-ups are usually pretty explosive.
Gone are the early days of big fights taking place in casinos – the thrill of MMA and UFC has now moved to bigger venues. Now, the casinos are on people’s phones with apps such as , and they pay for the privilege of association. This may be intimidating for rising stars, yet many are up for the challenge.
New blood for 2019
A term that applies both literally and metaphorically in the MMA world. MMA, like all sports, relies on fresh talent coming through each year to keep it interesting for fans and stop it getting stale.
Who are the rising MMA stars poised to make big waves in 2019?
Weighing in at 238lbs, you can see why this 24-year-old bruiser from Kiev is called “The Polar Bear”. With a record of nine fights and no losses to date, many think that Spivak will come to the fore in a major way this year. Fighting in the heavyweight division, he has a good submission game and is a real pounding machine. Although his technique is a little raw still, you cannot deny his power or finishing abilities, and when you factor in that most of his fights have been ended in the first round, you can see how destructive he is.
Dropping down in the weights now, we have Søren Bak, a lightweight. Known as “The True Viking”, he cuts an imposing figure still at 155lbs. Aged 26, many feel that he is at the perfect point in his MMA career to make a real impact in 2019. Bak has fought 11 times so far and only suffered one loss. That loss came way back in 2016, and many think that with his superb stand-up skills and improved grappling, he will enjoy success in the next 12 months. With a mooted move down to featherweight on the cards to unify the belts as Conor McGregor did, Bak is one to keep an eye on.
Of course, it’s not just about the men who may make their mark in MMA during 2019. There are some great women to keep an eye on – and Ariane Lipski is perhaps the most impressive. Known as “The Violence Queen”, she has shaken off a rocky opening to her pro-MMA career and chalked up nine straight wins recently. While a recent debut UFC loss to Joanne Calderwood was not ideal, many think that she will still have the talent to push on in 2019. With a swagger and style about her that is exciting to watch, and plenty of power to finish opponents, she could bounce back with a real bang in the coming year.
Known as the “Strabanimal”, Irishman James Gallagher looks set to be a real MMA star in 2019. At 135lbs and 5 feet 9 inches tall, he is a real athlete around the ring. Although he has one loss on his record, many believe that this will only spur him on to greater things in the next 12 months. The seven wins he also has in the Bantamweight division and the explosive power he possesses to finish opponents are also proof that he could be a rising star that shines brightly in 2019.
Known by the nickname of “Patchy”, Mix hails from Buffalo. Fighting at Bantamweight like Gallagher, many MMA experts expect him to also make his presence felt. Having tasted success in the King of the Cage competition, it is thought that he is poised for a move to one of the major players, such as UFC. With long limbs for extra reach when fighting stand-up and superb grappling skills, he is perhaps the most exciting prospect on our list.
Rising MMA stars for 2019
As the above shows, there is some real talent set to make their mark this year in MMA. Whether in UFC, Bellator or any of the other top MMA competitions, these are certainly new fighters to enjoy watching. Of course, no one can say for sure how they will get on, but they should all do well if they perform to their potential and stay injury free.