7 Puerto Rican MMA fighters you should know about

Although there are very few MMA fighters from Puerto Rico, fighting runs deep in their roots.

Many have grown up watching and hearing about some of Boxing’s best to come from La Isla del Encanto. So Puerto Rico is no stranger to the fight game- they had Jose Torres in the 50s, Edwin Rosario in the 80’s, and Wilfredo Vazquez in the 90s. We’ve also been blessed with notable names such as Miguel Cotto, Felix Trinidad, Wilfredo Benitez, Carlos Ortiz, and Wilfredo Gomez.

Needless to say, when Puerto Ricans see Puerto Rican fighters, they cherish their existence and support them to the fullest. Thus, leading to this list of 7 MMA fighters you should know about with Boricua blood.

I’m sure you know some and many you’ll continue to hear about in 2020.

📸: Jonathan Sepulveda / Facebook

#7. Jonathan Sepulveda (9-2)

Sepulveda was riding 4-fight win streak until he ran into Jose Guerra at Warrior Games 6 for the second time. This was an immediate rematch which saw Jonathan coming into the fight having a win over his opponent, catching him in round 2.

At age 32, he is currently 3rd ranked of 17 active Caribbean Pro Flyweights. So Puerto Rico is represented well, and we hope to see Jonathan back stronger in 2020.

📸: MMA Junkie

#6. Kailan Hill (4-1)

Hill hasn’t returned to the cage since his Contender Series loss to Impa Kasanganay in 2018, however, we hope to see him back in 2020. He’s a rising prospect representing Puerto Rico at only 25 years of age. Hill is part of the new generation who started MMA at a young age and we can’t wait to see him back doing what he does best: whooping a*s. He is 21st ranked of 224 active US West Pro Middleweights and 10th ranked of 114 active California Pro Middleweights.

Kailan Hill is likely a name you’ll continue hearing on the regional scene next year. Maybe a win early on in the year will warrant a second shot on Dana White’s Contender Series.

📸: Jason Silva / USA TODAY Sports

#5. Jimmie Rivera (22-4)

Rivera may be a familiar face for you all, he’s been fighting in the UFC since 2015 terrorizing the bantamweight division for 3 years. It wasn’t until Jimmie faced Marlon Moraes in 2018 that he would taste his first defeat inside the Octagon. Now riding a 3-fight win streak, Rivera faces Marlon Vera at UFC 247 and hopes to turn things around for the better.

Regardless of his current skid, Rivera is one of the best 135ers in the world representing Puerto Rico in the UFC.

📸: Josh Hedges Lyman / Zuffa LLC

#4. Lyman Good (21-5)

Another UFC fighter representing Puerto Rico is Lyman Good. He recently got back in the win column at UFC 235 with a third-round TKO finish of Chance Rencountre. Going 1-1 in 2019, Good looks to continue his run towards the welterweight championship next year. Not only is he a physical specimen, he has 13 finishes on his resume.

Speaking of his resume, if you take a look you’ll see names like Ben Saunders, Hector Urbina, and Andrew Craig. He’s also fought some of the bigger names in the sport, losing to Ben Askren and Demian Maia.

📸: Michael Irizarry Ortiz / Facebook

#3. Michael Irizarry Ortiz (11-3)

Ortiz is another young rising prospect on the regional scene, going 2-0 this year with impressive finishes. He represents Añasco, Puerto Rico to the fullest and hopes to continue putting his Island on the map in 2020. He is currently 4th ranked of 54 active Caribbean Pro Lightweights and although his Combate Americas debut didn’t go as planned, the experience will likely make him better and hungrier.

Michael Irizarry Ortiz is a name you’ll hear more of next year, especially with Contender Series right around the corner.

📸: Amber Searls / USA TODAY Sports

#2. Rob Font (17-4)

One of the baddest men in UFC’s bantamweight division comes from Puerto Rican parents. He’s also one-half of the New England Cartel.

Font is destined for UFC greatness, especially after his most recently performances in the Octagon. Taking on Sergio Pettis late in 2018; Font struggled most of 2019 finding an opponent to show up for work. Luckily he was able to get a fight with Ricky Simon, beating him in Washington D.C.

Traveling the world and doing media with Calvin Kattar, the New England Cartel will likely make waves in 2020. And know that Puerto Rico is behind Rob Font 100% of the way. Let’s hope for more Font fights next year!

📸: Ed Mulholland / Matchroom Boxing USA

#1. Amanda Serrano (1-0-1)

If you don’t know Amanda Serrano, you probably should. She’s absolutely a contender for GWOAT, Serrano is a Puerto Rican professional boxer, mixed martial artist and professional wrestler. As a boxer, she has held the WBO and WBC interim featherweight titles since September 2019.

She is the only female, and Puerto Rican, to win world titles in more than four weight classes, and has 9 major world titles across seven different weight classes. The only word appropriate to describe her is: BADASS.

With all her recent accomplishments, Serrano has been planning her MMA transition while taking Boxing matches throughout the year too. Most recently, we saw Serrano vs. Heather Hardy in Boxing. Both women have also transitioned and fought in MMA, so it was a huge match that saw Serrano make history.

There’s hope for a future world Puerto Rican champion in the UFC. Women from P.R. fighting are rare, so we’ll likely see Serrano continue making noise and generating buzz. She will likely fight in Bellator some next year and continue to build her name. Although truthfully she doesn’t have to build it, since her accolades speak for themselves.

We’re hoping for more MMA bouts in 2020 from Amanda, and a full transition to MMA.

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Follow Katie Vega (@KatieVegaMMA), a competitor on Season 2 of The Ultimate Writer.