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Richie Lewis of Fury grappling poses for a photo at an event.
UFC Fight Pass

UFC Fight Pass Fighters To Watch In 2023 | Part 1

Some Of 2022’s Brightest Rising Stars Made A Name For Themselves Long Before Impressing The Masses In The Octagon. Who Are The Next Hottest Prospects On UFC FIGHT PASS?

UFC FIGHT PASS athletes made for some of the biggest moments in 2022. Whether it was Jack Della Maddalena stealing the show not once, twice but three times, Raul Rosas Jr. winning his mom a car he’s barely old enough to drive or Bo Nickal clutching the MMA world in the palm of his hand for almost the entire year, they all called UFC FIGHT PASS home.

With so many homegrown names now in the UFC, does UFC FIGHT PASS have any big names left?

Oh yeah. We’re barely scratching the surface. Here are the fighters to watch for in 2023!

Joshua Van – Fury FC

Record: 7-1

Age: 21

Josh Van is one of the fastest moving fighters on the planet. He’s gone from amateur to Fury FC champion in barely two years. Van isn’t a champion off of reputation; he’s put in the work with a 4-0 amateur record followed by a 7-1 pro record.

Every fight card it gets harder and harder to understand why he hasn’t graduated to the top of the MMA game. There are still flyweights hanging around Fury FC but not many. If you’re in Texas or a UFC FIGHT PASS subscriber, catch Van while you can, because active flyweight finishers are always in high demand and he won’t be slowing down any time soon.

Jose Perez – Cage Fury FC

Record: 7-1

Age: 27

What more can be said about Jose Perez that the 2022 FIGHT PASS Awards haven’t already told you? Not only is he the CFFC featherweight champion, but he’s a fan favorite who’s capable of giving you an Upset of the Year or Fight of the Year performance every time out.

After being vocally angry with his Male Fighter of the Year snub in 2022, the next opponent needs to watch out. Jose Perez never needed any added help taking opponents to the darkest places imaginable, so now with the extra motivation, there’s plenty of reason to believe east coast featherweights may start “coincidentally” changing weight classes.

Sergio Cossio – LUX Fight League

Record: 25-8-1

Age: 31

UFC 283: Teixeira vs Hill

WEC had Urijah Faber, LUX has Sergio Cossio.

Cossio has fought nine fights in the LUX cage and not done a lot of losing. At 8-1 in the promotion, Cossio is riding a seven-fight win streak and LUX cards don’t quite feel the same without him. His submissions are just a little bit tighter, his knockouts are a little more brutal and the barns burn a little bit hotter when his fights go the distance.

Do yourself a favor and relive every Sergio Cossio performance until he’s back in action in 2023.

Bia Mesquita – Grappling

Record: 0-0

Age: 31

The most feared woman in the world of grappling didn’t take it easy in 2022. After one of the most enjoyable grappling matches of the year against Miesha Tate at the FIGHT PASS Invitational, FIGHT PASS subscribers are launched into 2023 with Bia fever.

With as much as there is to say about her grappling career, Mesquita is flirting with the idea of an MMA career. No deals are done, but it’s hard not to imagine Bia in the LFA cage. Whether it’s the mat or the cage, it’s hard not to get excited for Bia Mesquita.

Richie Lewis – Cage Fury FC

Record: 3-0

Age: 28

Richie Lewis is as New Jersey as they make ‘em. From his NCAA career where nobody was safe, regardless of his record at the time, to his regional takeover only three fights in, Lewis is confident, confrontational and not afraid of anybody. He’s not quite a Tank Abbott character, but he’s already on his way to being just as polarizing.

He can push Alex Marinelli to the edge in wrestling, steal the show at a BJJ event (both on and off the mat) and wipe your favorite fighter’s face against the cage in MMA. His personality and thirst for confrontation will turn him into a household name by year’s end. Buy in now.

Morgan Charriere – Cage Warriors

Record: 16-9-1

Age: 27

Surprise, surprise. The Last Pirate is back!

Morgan Charriere took a step back in terms of activity with only one fight in 2022, but it was another “down to the wire” split decision win that reminded us all of who Charriere is and why all of France seems to love him.

If opponents don’t pull out, keep an eye out for another Fight of the Year performance from Charriere in 2023.

Nick Piccininni – Fury FC

Record: 4-0

Age: 26

One of the most gritty wrestlers in one of the most storied universities is making waves in the MMA community.

In his short, but memorable, time at Oklahoma State he has some of the biggest wins, rivalries and moments in the recent history of the program. Now, the man who pinned Spencer Lee is on track to become the fighter who finished your favorite flyweight.

At 4-0 and improving every fight, his final fight of 2022 was a jump in competition where Piccininni went from XFN to Fury FC, and even after facing early adversity, he submitted Freddie Rodriguez in the first round. His career is entering the in-between area of “first few fights” to somebody to watch out for, and as a Daniel Cormier product, as well as an All-American wrestler, Piccininni has the tools and the hype to climb the flyweight ladder as quickly as he’d like.

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