Welcome back for another year of our pre-event series spotlighting some of the up-and-coming talents poised to step into the Octagon.
Some of the names to be featured in this space over the years include current champions Zhang Weili, Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski, as well as contenders like Tatiana Suarez, Francis Ngannou, and Petr Yan, plus 2019 breakout talents Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Amanda Ribas and UFC 246’s own Maycee Barber.
There have been some misses too because nobody’s perfect, but on the whole, we work hard to give you an advanced introduction to some of the newcomers and emerging names to keep an eye on going forward.
Here’s the first trio of fighters to check out in 2020.
This is the UFC 246 edition of On the Rise.
Dawson has appeared in this series before, and as he readies to make his third trek into the Octagon, this is your last chance to take note and start following the talented featherweight prospect.
The 25-year-old, who trains out of Glory MMA & Fitness under James Krause, made a name for himself on the Midwest regional circuit before earning a victory and UFC contract during the opening season of the Contender Series. His first year as an active UFC fighter was delayed by a USADA violation where he was later cleared of any wrongdoing, but proved to be worth the wait.
Dawson went 2-0 during his rookie campaign inside the UFC cage, outworking Julian Erosa in his debut before bouncing Mike Trizano from the ranks of the unbeaten in his sophomore outing. This weekend, he gets a step up in competition against Chas Skelly, who snapped a two-fight skid with a unanimous decision victory over Jordan Griffin in August.
This is the kind of veteran test all emerging youngsters must pass in order to make a permanent move to the next level of competition within their division. Dawson has looked outstanding thus far and if he can continue his current run of success on Saturday, he’ll put himself in position for another challenging assignment later this year.
One of the top young light heavyweight prospects in the sport, Camur makes his Octagon debut at UFC 246 after securing a contract with a second-round stoppage win over Fabio Cherant last summer on the Contender Series.
Training alongside current heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic as a member of the Strong Style Fight Team in Cleveland, the undefeated 24-year-old has been taught by excellent, proven coaches and witnessed first-hand the amount of effort and commitment it takes to become an elite talent at the highest level, all of which should serve him well going forward.
With just five professional bouts under his belt, Camur is still green, but his upside is obvious. He’s never gone the distance in his career, finishing all four of his amateur bouts before continuing that trend after turning pro. He’s a quality athlete with good power, and his UFC 246 matchup with Justin Ledet should help determine where he fits amongst the collection of rising talents competing within the light heavyweight division at the moment.
A one-year run from newcomer to contender is highly unlikely, but with the right opportunities, some quality results and a couple lucky breaks, Camur could mature into an exciting addition to the division and a Top 15 talent sooner rather than later.
Another member of the 2019 graduating class from the Contender Series, Osbourne arrives in the UFC on a four-fight winning streak and sporting an 8-2, 1 NC record overall. He’s finished each of his last four bouts in the opening round, including his Contender Series victory over Armando Villareal, and he has a funky, creative style that should make him an immediate fan favorite in the action-packed bantamweight division.
The 27-year-old gets an opportunity to make an immediate impression in his new surroundings as he steps into the cage with 29-fight veteran Brian Kelleher on Saturday night in Las Vegas. While “Boom” has lost back-to-back contests, he’s easily the most experienced and dangerous foe Osbourne has faced to date, having posted wins over veteran Brazilians Renan Barao and Iuri Alcantara, plus current UFC featherweight staple Julio Arce during their days on the East Coast regional circuit.
Osbourne showed a great deal of poise and promise during his Contender Series appearance, attacking in all phases, using his tremendous reach and securing the finish after enduring a rough patch on his back late in the frame. All of those small elements combine to make Osbourne an intriguing addition to the loaded bantamweight class, and if he can secure victory on Saturday in his promotional debut, he’ll cement his standing as one to watch in the 135-pound ranks in 2020 and beyond.
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