Under the Radar: 2013 UFC Breakout Talent in the Smaller Divisions. Part 1: Flyweight


Under the Radar: 2013 UFC Breakout Talent in the Smaller Divisions. Part 1: Flyweight
Herb’s Greco was always underrated.


Contributor: Josh Hall

2013 is shaping up to be a banner year for the UFC.  With the recent folding of Strikeforce, there is an influx of new talent ready to make their names in the premier fighting organization in the world.  The UFC has more fighters on their roster now (375) than ever before, so there will inevitably be some new names that emerge into contention, especially in the more competitive divisions.  This is a three-part look, division by division, at some of the upcoming talent on the verge of their breakthrough.

I have combed through the entire UFC roster in an attempt to find some fighters that we should all be on the lookout for in this upcoming year.  A couple guidelines I went by in putting this list together include no top0ten fighters as of the end of 2012 (if you are top ten you are too highly rated for this list), and no former UFC title holders or challengers.    Former champs and #1 contenders aren’t going to be sneaking up on anybody.  In the spirit of Undercard Superstar, this list is about some of the lesser known guys with talent.

This is going to be one of the shorter entries on the list, with the entire UFC FLW roster only comprising 13 fighters in all.  Even with limited options available to choose from, here at Undercard Superstar we aren’t down with size discrimination, so I have a few guys for you.

  • Under the Radar: 2013 UFC Breakout Talent in the Smaller Divisions. Part 1: Flyweight  Ulysses “Useless” Gomez (9-3, 0-1 UFC): Gomez came into the UFC a fairly highly touted prospect at 125, but he ran into the buzz saw that is John Moraga, eventually succumbing to a flurry that stopped him late in the first round.  A rough debut aside, Gomez can get right back into contention with a good win or two.  Moraga was a terrible matchup for him, with powerful striking and elite TDD, and did not show off his capabilities at all.  As the division continues to expand, Gomez is a fighter that has a good shot to move up in the rankings.  His 7 submissions out of 9 wins shows a high finishing rate for FLW, which always helps toward getting that necessary UFC push.  Having fewer than 20 fighters in the division is also a helpful benefit to guys that come in with a loss in their debut fight.  Speaking of…
  • Under the Radar: 2013 UFC Breakout Talent in the Smaller Divisions. Part 1: Flyweight  Tim Elliott (9-3, 1-1 UFC): Tim Elliott was brought into the UFC in early 2012, for what appeared to be a showcase fight for The Ultimate Fighter winner John Dodson’s UFC FLW debut.  Elliott never received the word that Dodson was supposed to run him over apparently, as he gave the lightning quick “Magician” all he could handle before losing a close decision.  He showed offensive weapons that troubled Dodson throughout the fight in the defeat, and increased his stock in the division even in defeat.

    Elliott didn’t stay down long, rebounding in December with an impressive decision win over Jared Papazian, leaving the veteran a bloody mess by the end of the third round.  Elliott put his full talents on display, showcasing solid wrestling mixed in with vicious ground and pound and threatening submission attempts. He combined that with a competent stand up game, and was able to move just outside of a top 10 ranking.  He is likely to break into the elite, sooner rather than later.

  • Under the Radar: 2013 UFC Breakout Talent in the Smaller Divisions. Part 1: Flyweight  John Moraga (13-1, 2-0 UFC): Last, but certainly not least, we have John Moraga, the aforementioned buzz saw that left Ulysses Gomez in a heap in the UFC debut for both fighters.  While the knockout certainly got the attention of the fans and UFC brass alike, it was his stunning finish of world #5 ranked FLW Chris Cariaso that cemented him as an elite fighter, one worthy of title contention.  Had the rankings been updated more recently, Moraga certainly would have missed the top ten cut off, but they haven’t, and that’s good enough for me. Moraga’s skill set is quite impressive, having earned All American honors twice in wrestling at Arizona State University, and boasting incredible hand speed and knockout power.  He has also shown to be dangerous in the submission game, catching Cariaso in the third round with a standing guillotine that happened in the blink of an eye.  At 28 years old and coming into his prime, Moraga is a fighter that will be a top contender for years to come.

-Josh Hall can be reached at @jhall282

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