Talent pipelines keep sports vibrant and relevant, as the old guard passes the competitive torch to the new in an inevitable rite of passage.
As mixed martial arts ages, so, too, do many of its original stars. Fighters like Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture and Tito Ortiz, once transcendent and bankable box office draws, have come and gone, leaving in their wakes a still-fledgling sport in need of fresh faces.
The importance of youth in mixed martial arts has not been lost on Sherdog.com, which on Monday will unveil a month-long NOS Energy Drink “Prospect Watch” video series showcasing some of the sport’s most promising up-and-coming fighters. The series will run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday throughout the month of October and will focus on four men: Hunter Tucker, Mirsad Bektic, Noad “Neo” Lahat and A.J. Matthews.
Tucker, a 26-year-old Jackson’s Mixed Martial Arts featherweight, has finished each of his first four professional opponents; Bektic, a 21-year-old featherweight, has trained under the American Top Team banner and remains undefeated in four appearances; Lahat, a 28-year-old Israeli lightweight who operates out of the American Kickboxing Academy, has put away all six of his foes, four of them by submission; and Matthews, a 24-year-old welterweight, has already competed inside Strikeforce and Bellator Fighting Championships, scoring a highlight-reel knockout against “The Ultimate Fighter” alum Charlie Rader at Bellator 70 in May.
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