There is something different to be found when watching touted prospects compete inside the chaos of a mixed martial arts cage.
There are some who are simply meant for larger achievements, and their performances reflect that motivation. Meanwhile, others who possess developed traits struggle against more experienced competition. The ones who pass the test move on to face tougher obstacles, and those who struggle discover there is much more work to be done.
Let's take a look at some top-ranked prospects who stepped into the cage last weekend.
Heavyweight / 2-0 Professional / 28 years old
Being the brother of rising UFC star Kamaru Usman is going to bring plenty of pressure, and so far Mohammed Usman has lived up to the expectation. The Nigerian-born light heavyweight has laced both of the opponents he's faced inside the cage on the professional level, with each fight ending by way of finish within the opening round.
Usman's most recent victim, Dante Harrell, didn't last all too long when they clashed at Tachi PF 32 in Lemoore, CA, on August 3.
Staying true to form, Usman wasted zero time closing the distance and putting his opponent on the canvas. Once the fight was where he wanted it, Usman moved to lock in a fight-ending submission via shoulder lock. Usman achieved the desired result with his efficient performance, but the difference in physical talent was obvious.
And therein lies the only knock thus far on Usman. FloCombat's No. 17-ranked heavyweight prospect possesses obvious talent and a knack for conflict, but in order to get to the big leagues in quick fashion he'll need tougher tests. Granted, Usman appears poised to handle whatever is thrown his way, but much tougher tests will be required to truly gauge his talent.
FloCombat Grade: B+
Middleweight / 8-2 Professional / 21 years old
In addition to having substantial buzz as one of the best prospects in mixed martial arts, Brendan Allen drew additional attention this past week when he was revealed to be the No. 1-ranked middleweight in the official FloCombat rankings. That's a lot of expectation for a 21-year-old talent to carry, but Allen has proven worthy every step of the way.
The Louisiana native's march toward the big stages continued this past weekend when he faced Chris Harris at LFA 18 in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
Allen heading into the bout off a loss would normally have zapped his shine, but with that setback coming at the hands of Eryk Anders, a fighter who drew significant praise for his victorious UFC debut, buffering room was available. That said, Allen couldn't afford another misstep, and he rose to the occasion against Harris.
Nevertheless, while Allen sunk in the fight-ending choke in the second round, his path to victory was far from flawless. Harris had his moments of success during the opening frame, but Allen remained poised and imposed his will in the second round.
With the win, Allen has now found success in six of his past seven showings and will continue to remain on the radar of the largest promotions in the sport.
FloCombat Grade: B
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