September 6, 2018

UFC 228: Prospects Look To Shine This Weekend In Dallas

By Adam Martin

UFC 228 takes place this Saturday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, and on paper it's one of the deepest cards of the year. The UFC has put together 14 bouts for the fans to watch, including dual title bouts at the top of the bill, as well as a number of other fights featuring exciting prospects that could eventually compete for titles. Here are some of the prospects that are looking to make an impression on fans:

Zabit Magomedsharipov

The guy no one wants to fight is actually going to be in action this weekend, as Magomedsharipov takes on short-notice replacement Brandon Davis in what appears to be a mismatch. Magomedsharipov is just 27 and is already 3-0 in the UFC, currently riding an 11-fight win streak overall. No one wants to fight this guy because we've seen how dangerous and complete of a fighter he is, so you have to give credit to Davis for stepping up. But once Magomedsharipov wipes the floor with him like most believe he will, it will be time for the UFC to give him a ranked opponent so he can finally make the push from prospect to title contender.

Tatiana Suarez

The winner of TUF 23 has dealt with numerous injuries and layoffs throughout her UFC career, but with a 6-0 record the 27-year-old prospect is finally ready to try and make the jump to contender when she takes on former UFC Women's Strawweight Champion Carla Esparza. It's a big step up for Suarez, but based on what we've seen from her inside the Octagon, she certainly has all the potential in the world to be a champion, and this will be a big test for her.

Cody Stamann

One of the top bantamweight prospects in the UFC, Stamann is 28 and already 3-0 in the Octagon. Overall he's actually on a 10-fight win streak at the moment, and apparently the UFC thinks very highly of him, as the matchmakers paired him with veteran Aljamain Sterling for his fourth UFC fight, and this is the bout that could elevate him from prospect territory and transform him into a true contender.

Charles Byrd

In the traditional sense of the word prospect, maybe Byrd -- who is 34 -- doesn't qualify. But his age doesn't tell the whole story. Byrd, who takes on Darren Stewart in a middleweight matchup, was a contestant on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series and parlayed two wins on that show into a UFC contract. Anyone who fights on the Contender Series should be considered a prospect, so even though Byrd is older, that label isn't completely crazy. He's a late bloomer, and I'm curious to see what kind of run he can make now that he's in the Octagon.

Geoff Neal:

Another Contender Series alum, Neal is only 28 so he fits the age of a prospect a bit better than Byrd. Neal parlayed a win on the Contender Series into a UFC contract, and he made good with a win in his Octagon debut. He's a very intriguing fighter based on his fighting style and the vicious finishes we've seen out of him, so I'm personally excited to seehis fight against Frank Camacho this weekend on the Fight Pass Prelims.

These five prospects are looking to make their names on Saturday night, and given their respective skill levels and the performances they've put in so far, there's a good chance they do. So keep an eye out for these bouts at UFC 228, because you might see a few breakthroughs.

UFC 228: Woodley vs. Till takes place September 8, 2018 at American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas.

Click HERE for more UFC 228 Post-Fight Analysis

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