When an unheralded fighter enters the UFC, they are not normally matched up against a high ranking opponent. However, this is what has happened to Papy Abedi - a Judo specialist from Africa. What does this suggest about the UFC's opinion of Abedi? Does it suggest that the opponent (Thiago Alves) has lost some respectability?
The following are Abedi's opponents since he started his MMA career:
- Mikael Pastor (Abedi won via TKO in '06, opponent's current record: 0-1-0)
- Juha Kaki (Abedi won via Unanimous Decision in 2007, opponent's current record: 0-1-0)
- Aldric Cassata (Abedi won via TKO in 2007, opponent's current record: 4-3-0)
- Timur Akbulut (Abedi won via Submission in 2008, opponent's current record: 4-8-0)
- Alan Carlos (Abedi won via TKO in 2009, opponent's current record: 5-6-0)
- Nelton Pontes (Abedi won via TKO in 2009, opponent's current record: 3-1-0)
- Bohumil Lungrik (Abedi won via TKO in 2010, opponent's current record: 14-12-0)
- Nathan Schouteren (Abedi won via submission in 2010, opponent's current record: 16-12-2)
Combined, his opponents have a current career record total of 46-44-2. That demonstrates he hasn't exactly faced tough competition on the regional circuit. The organisations that he's fought in aren't well-known in the MMA community either.
The Schouteren fight took place on October 2010, which is some time ago.
Apart from the fact that he has a 100% record, he doesn't seem to have done anything to warrant 'highly touted prospect' status, so I wonder why the UFC recruited him. This also isn't a professional record of someone who is good enough to fight Thiago Alves (even though Alves is on a losing streak).
In the most recent Sherdog Welterweight ranking, Alves was number 10 (despite not beating a top 10 opponent since October 2008). The SB Nation/USA Today Consensus Rankings have Alves at number 8 (as of July 1st). Abedi is nowhere near this level yet.
There is really no reason for thinking that Papy Abedi has a stellar record. There is no way he should be added to the UFC. He definitely shouldn't be considered as an opponent for Thiago Alves. I can only think that it's a business decision because Alves is marketable and they need to get him winning again. I don't think the UFC has a high opinion of Abedi.
So, what do you think?