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UFC 261 Prelims Fighters to Watch: Molina, Sabatini, and Allen Impress

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UFC 261 is in the books and what a wild night of fights it was. This unforgettable event featured gruesome injuries, devastating knockouts, and plenty of “F*** Jake Paul” chants. Before the main card got underway on PPV, eight intense matchups filled up the prelims. The UFC 261 prelims card might possibly go down as one of the greatest UFC prelims of the year. As the dust now settles from last night, three winners from the prelims separated themselves as future title contenders.

Jeff Molina

With the UFC Flyweight division still in search of prospects, Jeff Molina managed to throw his name into the mix after an impressive performance on the UFC 261 prelims card. We were first introduced to Molina on the Dana White Contender Series when he earned his UFC contract with a win over Jacob Silva. Training at Glory MMA with James Krause and Grant Dawson, Molina had some high expectations coming into his UFC debut at UFC 261.

He pulled off the unanimous decision win (29-28, 29-28, and 29-27) over Qileng Aori (18-8) to advance to 9-2. Not only did he get the win, but his unbelievable display of striking has most fans eager to see what is next for the 23 year old. No matter who the UFC decides to put Molina up against next, we can be ensured he will be ready to put up a good fight on his path to getting ranked.

Pat Sabatini

The UFC 261 prelims card featured another outstanding performance from a UFC newcomer. Former Cage Fury champion Pat Sabatini made his UFC debut at 145 pounds. Sabatini came into the UFC on a two-fight streak after a gruesome arm injury back in February of 2020. His expectations were high with his prestigious wrestling background and dominating strength at 145 pounds.

He pulled off the unanimous decision win (30-27, 29-28, and 29-28) over Tristan Connelly (14-7) to advance to 14-3. Sabatini used his powerful grappling to control Connelly for nearly 10 minutes. The UFC Featherweight division is already stacked as they find themselves with another future title contender in Sabatini. His championship experience and physical attributes will offer him the opportunity to beat anyone the UFC puts him up against. Only time will tell who will be next for Sabatini, but whoever does sign the contract better be ready to defend his takedowns or they will be in for a long night.

Brendan Allen

Finally, the UFC 261 prelims card featured one more fighter that every MMA fan should know about. Brendan Allen looked to bounce back from his first UFC loss against Sean Strickland back in November of 2020. We originally saw Allen in the UFC when he won his contract on the Dana White Contender Series in 2019. Since getting his UFC contract, Allen has a 3-1 UFC record going into the UFC 261 prelims last night.

He won the fight by an unbelievable first round submission (Heel Hook 4:55 R1) against Karl Roberson (9-4) to advance to 16-4. Allen used his dominant grappling to take down Roberson early and turn this fight into a quick night at the office. The former LFA champion now takes one step closer to being ranked at the young age of 25 years old. Allen has proven to be have world championship talent and will be ready to give a war to whoever the UFC decides to put him up against next.

What did you think of the UFC 261 prelims card? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


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