UFC Prospects to Watch in 2023

UFC, Fighters, Contenders, Women, Men

Every year the UFC is known for promoting and developing the best young fighters in the MMA world. In 2022, we saw that process in effect with the rise of Alex Pereira and Sean O’Malley. Now, with 2023 upon us, we’ll get to see more talented newcomers take the stage.

This article covers the best UFC prospects to watch in 2023. I’m talking about the best under-the-radar fighters who could develop into MMA superstars. These men and women have tons of potential, including the skills and talent to contend for a belt eventually.

Adrian Yanez

  • Age: 29
  • Country: United States
  • Pro Record: 16-3

Adrian Yanez easily earns a spot on my list of the best 2023 UFC prospects. He’s been around for a while now, but he’s beginning to garner a lot of recognition. He’s also 5-0 since he defeated Brady Huang in Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2020.

What’s impressive about Yanez is that five of his past six victories were knockouts. He’s one of the heaviest strikers right now at bantamweight, and he’s always willing to go to war with his opponents. He also seems to get stronger with every fight he takes.

Yanez has yet to face a true contender in the division. Also, he hasn’t faced a veteran fighter in the UFC either, except for Davey Grant. The belief, though, is that the UFC is setting him up for big things in 2023. His wild fighting style alone could make him a big draw in the future.

Jack Della Maddalena

  • Age: 26
  • Country: Australia
  • Pro Record: 13-2

Jack Maddalena is another one of the best UFC prospects in 2023 that you need to watch. He is the next rising star from Australia, joining the likes of Robert Whittaker and Alexander Volkanovski. He could be the next big thing based on what he’s done so far.

It’s shocking to believe that Maddalena made his official UFC debut in early 2022. He’s won three fights in the span of a year, including a TKO of Pete Rodriguez. The guy fights with the composure of a veteran, so I really want to see where his ceiling is.

The biggest question surrounding Maddalena is his ground game. Many are also critical of his cardio, which needs improvement as well. However, you can’t deny that he’s a deadly striker who packs a ton of ferocity into his punches.

It won’t be long until we see more action from Maddalena in 2023. He’s set to face Randy Brown at UFC 284, and the fight will take place on Maddalena’s home turf. Brown also enters the fight on a 4-match winning streak, so this should be interesting.

Casey O’Neill

  • Age: 25
  • Country: Australia
  • Pro Record: 9-0

The undefeated Casey O’Neill has officially arrived. She’s one of my favorite 2023 prospects to watch in the UFC because she’s an absolute menace. The Australian newcomer is also already 4-0 in the UFC at 25 years old.

O’Neill’s most impressive moment was back in February of 2022 when she defeated Roxanne Modafferi. She won the fight via split decision against a legitimate contender in the women’s flyweight division.

Unfortunately, O’Neill suffered a major setback not long after the match against Modafferi. A torn ACL forced her out of a fight against Jessica Eye, and the road to recovery hasn’t been easy. The good news is that she could return as early as March.

O’Neill also benefits from the lack of title contenders at flyweight. She was already a threat to take over the division, and 2023 could be the year in which she asserts her dominance. Her fighting style is also exciting to watch, and she has all the makings of a superstar.

Shavkat Rakhmonov

  • Age: 28
  • Country: Kazakhstan
  • Pro Record: 16-0

Not enough people talk about Shavkat Rakhmonov as one of the best UFC prospects, which is a travesty. He’s a rising star welterweight, and he delivered two stellar victories in 2022. However, we’re still awaiting a breakout performance against an elite opponent from the Kazakhstani fighter.

I expect major changes at welterweight this year, with Rakhmonov emerging as a contender. He’s the real deal in this division, having won all four of his UFC fights either by submission or TKO. He’s also incredibly well-rounded in terms of his fighting style.

Rakhmonov has several other traits you often find in the top UFC contenders. He always knows when to get aggressive, and he’s one of the best finishers at welterweight. His potential is sky-high at the moment, and he could become a star in 2023.

Erin Blanchfield

  • Age: 23
  • Country: United States
  • Pro Record: 10-1

Erin Blanchfield is a product of the Invicta FC system, which is known for its large reservoir of talent. She has already delivered a trio of victories after spending just one year in the UFC. This includes submitting veteran fighter Molly McCann at UFC 281 with relative ease.

Blanchield has an extremely high ceiling, given her skill set. The long-time practitioner of jiu-jitsu also looks determined to take over the flyweight division. Many believe that it’s just a matter of time before she captures the title, so 2023 should be pivotal for her career.

Bo Nickal

  • Age: 27
  • Country: United States
  • Pro Record: 3-0

Hardcore UFC fans know Bo Nickal was a dominant wrestler with a 120-3 record at the collegiate level. Now, he’s on the rise in the MMA world, having won two fights in Dana White’s Contender Series.


In August, Nickal choked Zachary Borrego out just 62 seconds into their match. He would then submit Donovan Beard in only 52 seconds in September. It only took him three professional fights to earn a UFC contract, and now his future is looking bright.

Nickal was scheduled to fight Jamie Pickett at UFC 282, but the match was canceled. His debut is now expected to take place at UFC 285 in March. Once he enters the octagon again, Nickal will likely put himself on everyone’s radar.

Jailton Almeida

  • Age: 31
  • Country: Brazil
  • Pro Record: 17-2

Jailton Almeida is another fighter who’s quickly ascending within the UFC. The Brazilian shows no fear when he enters the octagon. In his three official fights with the promotion, Almeida has defeated his opponent in under five minutes combined.

Perhaps Almeida’s biggest strength is his ground game. Usually, fighters at his size shy away from grappling and wrestling. His unique skill set sets him apart from his opponents. The Brazilian has great hands, and his versatility will benefit him in the UFC.

Betting on the Best UFC Prospects in 2023

These are my best UFC prospects to watch in 2023, but I won’t be simply observing them. The plan is to watch out for the odds of the top UFC betting sites and look for good opportunities to make some money.

The sportsbooks in question cover all major UFC events and have various promotions for new and existing customers, so feel free to check them out.

Jim Beviglia
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About Jim Beviglia
Jim Beviglia has been a gambling writer at LegitGamblingSites.com since 2018. During that time, he’s written just about every type of article related to gambling, including reviews of betting sites, guides to popular casino games, betting tips on both casino and sports betting, sports and casino blog posts, and game picks. In addition to online gambling, one of Jim’s other major interests is music. He has been doing freelance work for various music sites and magazines for two decades. Among his outlets past and present are American Songwriter, VinylMePlease, Treble, and The Bluegrass Situation. Jim has also written five books on music that were published by Rowman & Littlefield.