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Mitch McGhee
UFC Fight Pass

2024 FIGHT PASS Fighters To Watch - Part 1

Some Of 2023’s Brightest Rising Stars Made A Name For Themselves Long Before Impressing The Masses In The Octagon. Who Are The Next Hottest Prospects On UFC FIGHT PASS?

UFC FIGHT PASS athletes made for some of the biggest moments in 2023. Whether it was Alex Pereira reaching unprecedented heights, “Raw Dawg” Royval getting a crack at UFC gold or Bo Nickal making the world forget his wrestling background one KO at a time, the future of the sport continues to live on UFC FIGHT PASS.

With so many homegrown names now in the UFC, does UFC FIGHT PASS have any big names left?

Oh yeah. We’re barely scratching the surface. Here are the fighters to watch for in 2024!

Mitch McKee – LFA

Record: 5-0

Age: 26

The FIGHT PASS Fighters to Watch list is a mix of the most exciting fighters with the highest ceiling and most hype. Intangibles go a lot further to land you on the ultimate guide to rising stars than tangibles, and ladies and gentlemen, Mitch McKee may be the most concentrated FIGHT PASS Fighter to Watch there’s ever been.

He's got the NCAA wrestling All-American honors, he’s got the grit to bite down on the mouthpiece and steamroll his first four opponents, he’s got youth and he’s got Gable Steveson and Robbie Lawler in his corner. With that stable, the 5-0 record and the All-American status, McKee has nothing to prove to anybody, but night in and night out, he fights as though he has to prove to everybody exactly what he’s made of.

Jacobe Smith – Fury FC

Record: 7-0

Age: 27

Don’t look now, but Jacobe Smith is 7-0 with another fight on the books. Out of all the “D-1 wrestlers turned fighters,” Smith may be the most active, and there’s a reason why. He’s either finishing fights in under a round or dominating opponents to the point it’s a shock we haven’t seen a “no mas” moment. He and fellow Cowboy Nick Piccininni are still chainsawing their way through Fury FC, and with Fortis MMA behind them, you’re going to see a lot of Jacobe Smith highlights for a while to come.

If Smith’s performances can look a lot more like they looked against Brian Grinnell and Tommie Britton, and less like they did against Leivon Lewis, he’ll be one of the most hyped welterweights outside of the UFC.

Alexander Loof – FCR/Cage Warriors

Record: 5-1

Age: 25

An early favorite for 2024 FIGHT PASS Fight of the Year is any fight featuring Alexander Loof. Loof has a “throw from the hip and stay in the pocket until I can throw another one” style with an arsenal of brutal leg strikes mixed in, as well. Loof’s brawling fight style would lead one to believe that at six fights he’s holding a 3-3 record of classic wars. In reality, Loof has strung together a strong 5-1 record with fights so unforgettable that both of his fights in 2023 were nominated for Fight of the Year in each respective promotion, as well as a FIGHT PASS Fight of the Year Award nomination for his three-round war with Luke Riley at Cage Warriors 160.

Whether you follow fights outside of the UFC or not, Loof has one of the most fan-friendly approaches to the sport of anybody in the game.

Badmatsyren Dorzhiev – CFFC/APFC

Record: 8-0

Age: 29

Hell bent on taking over the entire flyweight division, Badmatsyren Dorzhiev didn’t just say he’s the best 125er on UFC FIGHT PASS; he proved it by pulling in not one, but two promotions’ flyweight belts. At 8-0 with a CFFC title defense in March, it’s uncertain how much longer he’ll be on FIGHT PASS dual wielding belts but what we do know is that if “The Immortal Lotus” could go after all the flyweight gold on FIGHT PASS, there would be a lot of 125ers in danger.

John Martin Fraser – Eternal MMA

Record: 7-3

Age: 31

Most of us are most comfortable in bed or on the couch with a stomach full of *insert favorite food here.* The Eternal MMA Middleweight Champ is most comfortable stalking an opponent or facing the fire in the pocket with “only one of us is going to remember this exchange” going through his mind.

At 31 years old, John Martin Fraser is in “now or never” mode, which will only make him more exciting. The entire Eternal MMA team is high on the titleholder, and everybody in Australia knows why. Don’t miss your last opportunities to catch him on the regional scene.

Kody Steele – Fury FC

Record: 5-0

Age: 28

After trading wins with cancelled bouts, it seems like Kody Steele has been around forever. If Steele isn’t going viral for his BJJ performances, it’s because the internet is still busy with his most recent knockout. With an ADCC-level BJJ pedigree, it would be nothing for Steele to lean heavily on his grappling in the cage, but the switch flips when he puts the gloves on, and “the easy way” goes out the window.

Sharpening up his skills on the microphone and a couple more big performances could land him on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2024. Steele is always a split second away from a viral KO and has an arsenal of submissions to play with. Do not miss Kody Steele in 2024.

Robert Varricchio - CFFC

Record: 5-0

Age: 28

“Ruthless” Robert Varricchio may have stolen the hearts of fight fans around the world in his heartfelt post-fight interview after his CFFC 123 performance, but the lightweight with heavyweight power and bantamweight hand speed has been on the east coast radar since his amateur debut in 2019.

Being placed on cards with Jose Perez fights, Luke Fernandez fights and Robert Watley fights have taken some of the spotlight off him, but Varricchio has begun to catch his stride and there’s no looking back. At 28 years old, Varricchio carries a 5-0 record with a 100% finish rate and is looking to show the world what they’ve been missing in 2024.

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