Dana White’s Contender Series will start up again for a fifth season at the end of the summer. After an insane 2020, the kick-off show for Season 5 will take place on August 31st inside the UFC Apex Arena. It will feature more international prospects than ever before, live on ESPN+.
With so many new names some fight fans are hearing for the first time, The Scrap decided to highlight ten promising prospects you should keep an eye on this upcoming season.
Paul Capaldo (5-0, USA – Bantamweight)
Fresh off a viral Spinning Wheel Kick KO at CFFC 95, rising star, Paul Capaldo finally gets his shot at a UFC contract. The bantamweight prospect will get to showcase his well-rounded skillset on the biggest stage possible on October 5th against Fortis MMA’s Fernie Garcia. Capaldo is a promising standout fighting out of New Jersey who has all the tools to be the next big thing in his division.
Aaron Jeffery (10-2, Canada – Middleweight)
Though he deserves to already be in the UFC after main evening his last four fights, beating two DWCS vets, and dominating a former UFC signee to claim the CFFC middleweight title, Aaron Jeffery makes his return to Contender Series. He’s one of the best middleweights still fighting on the regional circuit and has massive star potential. His mullet is also second to none. UFC is starting to build some solid Canadian prospects, and Jeffery should without a doubt be the next. It’s time, and The Niagara Top Team captain is ready to put his gym on the UFC map.
Jasmine Jasudavicius (5-1, Canada – Flyweight)
Jasmine Jasudavicius is one of the fun flyweights to watch right now on the regional scene. She’s vicious in the ring; she’s long, has fast elbows and those knees to the body make any fan jump to their feet and scream at the screen. She finally gets her long anticipated shot on DWCS this season, alongside her teammate Aaron Jeffery. Jasudavicius has been seen training often at Syndicate MMA in Las Vegas with some of UFC’s best. So you know we are going to see the best Jasmine Jasudavicius we’ve ever seen inside the UFC APEX this season.
AJ Fletcher (8-0, USA – Welterweight)
There aren’t many USA talent, so of course we have to feature the 24-year-old AJ Fletcher. Fighting on the season opener card, Fletcher has his toughest opponent to date. If there’s one knock soon the undefeated prospect, it’s his level of opposition. However, that doesn’t mean he’s not good — it could very well mean that people don’t want to fight him on the regional scene. Regardless, tune in on Aug. 31 to watch the American do what he does best.
Piera Rodriguez (6-0, Venezuela – Strawweight)
The newly crowned LFA starwweight champion gets her first shot on Dana White’s Contender Series this season. She’s a mean one in the cage too; loves to scrap and stay in your face the entire time. Piera Rodriguez is a fun one to watch. For a 115er, she has power in her hands and is comfortable wherever the fight goes. We’re excited to she what she does on Oct. 19.
Nasrudin Nasrudinov (9-0, Russia – Light Heavyweight)
The undefeated Russian prospect Nasrudin Nasrudinov finally gets his much deserved shot at a UFC contract this upcoming season. The light heavyweight is coming off a third-round stoppage against Evgeny Egemberdiev after winning a majority decision months before that. Nasrudin won’t have an easy task ahead of him come fight night though. While he loves to finish his opponents, the 29-year-old can also go the distance, making him dangerous against any fighter they place in front of him.
Khusein Askhabov (23-0, Russia – Bantamweight)
To be honest, anyone who is 23-0 fighting on DWCS is odd. At 26-years-old, with a record like that, Khusein Askhabov should already be fighting in the UFC. It’s rare we see Russian prospects on Contender Series, which makes this next season something special to watch. And to think he also trains with American Top Team, he really is a scary name to draw when you’re coming up on the regional scene. With the amount of finishes on Khusein’s record, you know he’s going to be fun to watch.
Anton Turkalj (7-0, Sweeden – Light Heavyweight)
The light heavyweight division is very slim right now, both on the regional scene and big leagues. So we decided to feature two of them on our list, despite there being tremendous talent in other weight classes. If you don’t recognize Anton Turkalj, he recently fought on BRAVE CF 50. He really burst onto the scene after defeating the previously undefeated Ibo Aslan. He has a bright future, but has a tough opponent ahead of him this season. Keep an eye on this one…
Łukasz Sudolski (8-0, Poland – Heavyweight)
You know we had to feature one of the big boys. Heavyweights are aways fun to watch and Łukasz Sudolski is another one of them with six finishes on his record. Coming off three consecutive first-round finishes, the Polish prospect finally gets his shot at a UFC contract. Though he has his toughest opponent to date come September 28th. Don’t blink when Sudolski is fighting, you might miss the whole fight.
Daniel Zellhuber (11-0, Mexico – Lightweight)
At only 22 years old, the “Golden Boy” gets his shot at a UFC contract on Season 5. His record speaks for itself, but when you actually take a deeper dive, his record is far from padded at 11-0. He may be young, but he’s exciting to watch with every fight never going to the judges. Daniel Zellhuber will also take on a fellow undefeated prospect September 28th, which makes his fight every more exciting. Keep an eye on this Mexican standout, Zellhuber has a whole career still ahead of him.