Fighters To Watch In 2022 | Part 2

Fighters To Watch In 2022 | Part 2

McKinney earned four wins in 2021 in a combined 112 seconds, finishing each of his four opponents by stoppage due to strikes. The scary thing to think about is that everyone you ask about the promising lightweight swears that his wrestling is even more developed and dangerous than his striking.

Consider yourselves warned, UFC lightweights.

Muhammad Mokaev

If debuting fighters can make the weekly editions of this series with regularity, then I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t include Mokaev on this 2022 preview.

The 21-year-old flyweight, who signed with the promotion in mid-November, went 23-0 as an amateur, winning back-to-back IMMAF titles before racing out to a 5-0 start as a professional, most recently choking out Irishman Blaine O’Driscoll in September.

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Born in Dagestan, he’s lived in England since leaving Russia with his father at age 12, settling in Wigan before shifting his training to Manchester. He’s won British wrestling championships, European Brazilian jiu jitsu accolades, and has designs on breaking Jon Jones’ record for being the youngest fighter to claim UFC gold.

It’s a lofty goal for Mokaev to set for himself, and the competition in the flyweight division continues to deepen and improve with each passing month, meaning it certainly won’t be easy, but with roughly two years to meet the challenge and his debut penciled in soon, I suggest circling your calendars and remembering his name, because chances are you’re going to hear a great deal about the promising prospect in the first quarter of 2022.

Lerone Murphy

Speaking of talented fighters from Britain…

A case could be made for Murphy being “The Mayor of Fight Island,” as the featherweight has made all four of his UFC appearances in Abu Dhabi, following up his split draw result against Zubaira Tukhugov at UFC 242 in the fall of 2019 with a first-round stoppage win over Ricardo Ramos in his lone appearance of 2020.

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