If you are interested in losing your hard-earned money as quickly and efficiently as possible then I suggest you start betting on Mixed Martial Arts. It's a sport that is synonymous with unpredictability.
Despite the great number of variables in the sport, there has been one unfortunate thing that has been consistent as of late. That consistency being, injuries to fighters.
Not a day goes by without another fight being scrapped due to an injury suffered by a fighter.
Although a lot of negatives can be drawn from the abundance of injuries that are occurring right now, there is one positive to those injuries. Opportunity.
As a fighter is scrapped from a card, a replacement is called upon, and that replacement receives an opportunity, and the majority of the time that opportunity goes to a top prospect that could one day dominate the MMA world like a Jon Jones.
With the sheer amount of MMA shows that are available it's hard to keep up with all of the prospects that are climbing the proverbial ladder, and that's what these series of articles are here for. To keep you up to date with all of the top prospects around the world.
So without further a do, here are six prospects that could end up being replacements for their peers that were a bit unlucky during training camp (Note: All of the fighters on the list won a fight from Jun. 3 - Jun. 18.)
Joe "The Nose" Wilk (17-6) - Featherweight
The Nose must have done something really offensive to Dana White and co. because there is no good reason why the Kansas native hasn't gotten the call to compete in the UFC yet. He's the total package. He is a talented fighter with an impressive resume (the victor in seven of his last eight fights), he has a personality about him that demands attention, and he is a fantastic talker. Wilk is an exciting fighter that has finished 94% of his opponents. In his last fight, Wilk submitted Josh Huber in the first round at TFC 23 after working him down to the canvas with a solid take-down.
The undefeated four-time Sambo World Champion will be the first fighter featured on one of my prospects on the rise columns to be signed to a major MMA promotion. Minakov just inked a deal with Bellator after his last victory over Eddie Sanchez in which he showcased his punching power by knocking out the UFC veteran in the first round of their fight. Ranked No. 7 on Leland Rolling's 2011 World MMA Scouting Report, Minakov is described as a fighter with "surprising strength and technique in his takedown game." Minakov's ability to control his opponents once the fight hits the ground should prove to be the reason as to why he will be successful in Bellator.
Freddy Assuncao (7-1) - Featherweight
Fighting is in the Assuncao blood, and Freddy Assuncao is looking to follow in the footsteps of his brothers Junior and Raphael by one day competing in the UFC. Although winning due to an injury to his opponent is an anti-climatic way to get a win, that victory over Andrew Carrillo at TFC 23 extends Assuncao's win streak to six. Assuncao is a strong, athletic featherweight that has a dominating top game that showcasess his grappling skills.
The other three prospect after the break.
Yana "Foxy" Kunitskaya (8-1) - Featherweight
Kunitskaya is the first female to be featured on one of my prospects on the rise columns and deservedly so. Nicknamed "Foxy", Kunitskaya's aggressive yet methodical striking style resembles that of a wolf. She is a dangerous fighter whose sambo credentials insure that she is more than a one-dimensional striker. At 22 years old, I'd be willing to bet the bank that Kunitskaya becomes a top female featherweight in the world.
Anthony Avila (8-1) - Featherweight
If I were to buy stock in an MMA fighter camp, Team Alpha Male would be high on the list of camps I'd consider buying. It's a camp that houses some of the best fighters in the world today as well as potential stars of the future. One of those potential stars is Anthony Avila who exemplifies what a Team Alpha Male product would look like. He is an athletic specimen that has natural strength and is well-versed in all facets of the game, most notably the clinch and wrestling aspects of the sport.
Ed Gordon (5-0) - Light Heavyweight
Another camp that is on the rise is Team Serra-Longo and Ed Gordon is one of the top prospects in the team. The six foot Light Heavyweight started off his MMA career with a wrestling base, but in recent fights he has established a powerful striking game that should garner the respect of his opponents. The current Ring of Combat Light Heavyweight Champion is a well rounded fighter who can attack his opponents weaknesses. That well-roundness will be a major factor for Gordon's future success.