Inspired by the yearly XXL Freshmen List, and our consistent urge to be a platform regional fighters are able to benefit from, The Scrap will start our yearly Top of the Class List. This year we’ll feature The Scrap 7, which is a list of seven prospects that have separated themselves from the rest of the regional bunch.
Being at the Top of the Class means you’re an up-and-coming fighter who is making noise on the regional scene. That next level should be right around the corner, within the next year or so if they aren’t already booked for Dana White’s Contender Series. We decided to feature fighters who are starting to generate hype after every appearance, and their following is starting to increase. They are currently finishing fights, taking on tough competition, capturing regional titles and/or fighting on the best and biggest regional promotions possible.
Read about the 7 regional fighters from all over the world currently ready for the big leagues.
Aaron Jeffery – Middleweight
Canada’s Aaron Jeffery has been on quite the run. He was won 4 fights in a row, finishing 3 of them. He also won the CFFC Middleweight Championship in his last fight. In his 4-fight win streak, Jeffery has beaten 2 former Contender Series veterans, one of which had actually earned a contract already. Fortunately, this leads to a return to Contender Series with another shot at a contract coming in September. One has to think, what more does he need to do to get in? Tune into Week 5 of DWCS on Sept. 28 to find out.
Paul Capaldo – Bantamweight
New Jersey’s Paul Capaldo is coming off a highlight reel KO in his last fight. A home-grown talent from CFFC, Capaldo is 24 years old, and has risen to every challenge that the promotion has presented him. Now, he’s ready to make a run at bantamweight for the first time since last October. There is no hype train quite like a young, undefeated prospect with big dreams. A dream he has the chance to achieve on Oct. 5 when he takes on his toughest test to date. Should Capaldo remain undefeated, there should be no thinking involved. This is a no-brainer signing at bantamweight who has potential to become a future world champion.
Yasmin Jauregui – Strawweight
The Mexican phenom Yasmin Jauregui is coming off one of the best performances in MMA. A jaw dropping one if honest… She won Combate’s first-ever 8-woman strawweight tournament, and was the “Last Latina Standing”. After winning 3 fights in one night to become the tournament champion, she earned herself a title fight with the reigning champion at a later date. When you look at her competition, she didn’t just beat anyone that night; she demolished a top prospect, former DWCS challenger and a French fighter with no quit. Her performance in the tournament was nothing short of remarkable and truly separated Jauregui from the rest of the strawweights left on the regional scene. There truly is no other strawweight currently on the come-up that has more championship potential. So keep an eye on this one.
Mitch Raposo – Flyweight
Coming off The Ultimate Fighter, Mitch Raposo looks to be officially moving back down to flyweight. Even though his actual last fight was a loss in TUF, the exhibition bout will not count towards his professional record. So he is still undefeated at 22 years old, and has an incredible skillset to work with at such a young age. There is no doubt that Raposo has what it takes to bring New England their first UFC belt if Rob Font for Calvin Kattar fall short. It could go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyways… Mitch at flyweight is exactly what we want to see. Whether it’s another regional fight or UFC next, we’re excited to watch his next moves.
Anton Turkalj – Light Heavyweight
Sweden’s Anton Turkalj may be 25 years old, and only have 7 pro MMA fights, but that does not paint a clear picture of his experience. He has an extensive amateur MMA career, and could provide that new blood needed in any promotion’s light heavyweight division. Anton has finished every fight in his pro career thus far, and has been extremely impressive in each one. After choking out the undefeated Ibo Aslan and knocking Konstantin Soldatov out in 13 seconds of round one, there’s no doubt he’s ready for the upper echelon of his division. Anton has even grappled with the likes of Alexander Gustafsson at AK Fighting Championship 3. Keep an eye on this young killer, he’s going to do big things in the UFC and his first step in making his dreams a reality starts Oct. 12 on DWCS.
Mike Figlak – Lightweight
We consistently check for Mike Figlak fight news almost every week. The exciting lightweight is a fun one to watch, and is very much so a fan-friendly fighter. Since re-joining Cage Warriors last year, Figlak has gone 3-0 under the promotion’s banner extending his pro record to 5-0. He has 4 finishes on his record, and while perfect in his pro career thus far, the 25-year-old Polish prospect went 10-2 as an amateur. It’s not often you see an extensive amateur record in the fight game nowadays. There is not doubt that we’ll see Figlak in the big leagues, or even Contender Series next year. The fun part though, is he may not come to the UFC alone…
Matt Figlak – Welterweight
Matt Figlak is 5-1, and his only loss as a pro is to the UFC’s newest signing from Cage Warriors, Ian Garry. Since returning to the promotion last year alongside his brother, Matt has been a finishing machine. With only one of his fights making it to the judges score cards, he will likely catch the eyes of UFC matchmakers too. You have to love a talented, hungry brother duo. Especially true scrapers who do not shy away from competition. With more sibling pairings in the UFC today than ever before, the Figlak’s are bound to stand out. It’s only a matter of time that their number gets called.
The Scrap will be featuring each Top of the Class fighter on their own in-depth piece, highlighting big moments and wins from their regional fight careers. Stay tuned and make sure you check back for more on The Scrap 7.