Predicting 2023 Breakout Fighters

Predicting 2023 Breakout Fighters


Predicting 2023 Breakout Fighters


Via UFC Sports

In the last year the MMA world watched fighters like Paddy Pimblett, Sergei Pavlovich, and Jamahal Hill blossom into stars and contenders. With the UFC ready to gear back up for 2023, I highlight four fighters I expect to breakout into top contender status by the end of the year. 

Jack Della Maddalena 

Australian striking sensation, Jack Della Maddalena, received his UFC contract in September 2021 on week three of Dana White’s Contender Series. After inking the contract, Maddalena went on to make his UFC debut in January of 2022 at UFC 270. Maddalena made the most of his debut, finishing Pete Rodriguez with crisp boxing just three minutes into the first round. JDM would have two more fights in 2022, and two more first round finishes. Disposing of Ramazan Emeev with a perfectly placed body shot at UFC 275, and starching Danny Roberts at UFC Vegas 65. As active as he was, Maddalena took virtually no damage in those bouts and is already scheduled to fight Randy Brown at UFC 284 in Perth. Don’t expect another first round finish, this will be a big step up in competition for the 26-year-old Maddalena, but if he gets past Brown he will be knocking on the door of the Welterweight top 15. 

Jailton Almeida 

Jailton Almeida is another Contender Series graduate. In fact, he received his contract the same night as Jack Della Maddalena, and the two have been on the same path ever since. Just like Maddalena, Almeida made three Octagon appearances in 2022, finishing them all in the first round. After finishing Danilo Marques with brutal ground and pound, Almeida would sink back-to-back rear naked chokes on Parker Porter and Anton Turkalj. Almeida will try to ride his hot streak into the new year when he takes on 14th ranked Heavyweight, Shamil Abdurakhimov at UFC 283. 

Guram Kutateladze 

Guram “Georgian Viking” Kutateladze only fought once in 2022 due to Visa issues, and came out on the losing end of a split decision to Damir Ismagulov. Despite all this, I maintain that he is the best fighter unranked at 155 pounds and believe we will all see his full potential this year. In his UFC debut, Kutateladze defeated now seventh ranked lightweight, Mateusz Gamrot. His Muay Thai style striking is on par with the best in the division and he’s proven to be able to grapple with a fighter of Gamrot’s caliber. Kutateladze was scheduled to fight Thiago Moises at UFC 283 but had to withdrawal from the fight. Hopefully he will get a new date and opponent soon and begin his run at Lightweight. 

Tatsuro Taira 

At just 22 years old, Tatsuro Taira is the youngest fighter on this list, but may very well have the highest ceiling. The undefeated Japanese prospect made his UFC debut in May 2022 with a dominant unanimous decision victory over Carlos Candalario. Five months later he would cement himself as a threat to the entire division in another one-sided effort, defeating CJ Vergara with an Armbar submission. Taira is scheduled to fight Jesus Aguilar next month in Vegas.


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