On the eve of another momentous year for mixed martial arts, we can look back on a litany of competitors who seized the proverbial brass ring and launched themselves into the sport’s center spotlight.

Talents such as Will Brooks, Kelvin Gastelum, Conor McGregor and Rose Namajunas rose from prospects to champions and perennial title contenders within a few short months, representing the latest wave of well-rounded mixed martial artists to fulfil their potential.

Now, with 2015 on the horizon, we identify 25 new talents who are poised to do great things in the coming year. In alphabetical order, here is part two of five.

 

6) Paul Felder

Nickname: The Irish Dragon
Age: 29
Weight: 155lbs (Lightweight)
MMA Career Record: 9-0
Most Notable Victory: Jason Saggo (UFC Fight Night 54, October 2014)

Three victories and a call up to the big show capped off a landmark year for Paul Felder.

Prior to signing with the UFC after an epic phone call, Felder fought primarily in the northeast promotion Cage Fury Fighting Championship. Making good on his kickboxing background and two black belts in Taekwondo and Judo, the Philadelphia native won six of his nine career fights by knockout or TKO.

Earning a debut victory inside the Octagon with a split decision over the 10-1 submission artist Jason Saggo, Felder also showed remarkable development in his wrestling, using strength and tenacity to prevail in several grappling exchanges.

For his efforts, The Irish Dragon has been rewarded with a spot on the high profile UFC 182 card, replacing an injured Rustam Khabilov to face UFC veteran and Team Alpha Male member Danny Castillo. It is without doubt the most formidable test of Felder’s promising career.

 

7) Steve Garcia

Nickname: Mean Machine
Age: 22
Weight: 135lbs (Bantamweight)
MMA Career Record: 5-0
Most Notable Victory: Shawn Bunch (Bellator 105, October 2013)

At six feet tall, Steve Garcia is a lofty addition to Bellator’s bantamweight division.

The Rio Rancho resident has used his large frame to great effect in previous outings, most famously earning a TKO victory in his promotional debut over U.S. national wrestling champion, Pan American champion, and US Olympic alternate Shawn Bunch; a man who came into the company with an elite pedigree and high expectations.

Garcia continued to build his momentum with two more wins in Bellator in 2014, including a spectacular body kick, left hook combination knockout against Cody Walker back in June.

At just 22 years old, with three victories in a major North American organization, the Mean Machine appears poised for great things in the sport.

 

8) Desmond Green

Nickname: The Predator
Age: 25
Weight: 145lbs (Featherweight)
MMA Career Record: 14-3
Most Notable Victory: Steven Siler (TFC 32, December 2014)

With five fights in the last twelve months, Desmond Green is one of the most active prospects on this list. In 2014, he earned four victories, including a run in Bellator’s 145lb tournament before succumbing to the experienced Daniel Weichel in the final.

The Predator rebounded from the loss in impressive fashion, signing with Titan Fighting Championship and earning a 46 second knockout over UFC veteran and former WEC featherweight champion Miguel Torres in his promotional debut.

Green capped off a largely successful year by defeating Steve Silar to claim Titan Fighting Championship’s featherweight title earlier this month. Showing good conditioning, the Team Bombsquad member applied takedowns late on in the championship rounds of his first ever five round fight.

The New York native was recently touted by Bellator’s former matchmaker Sam Caplan on his podcast The MMA Insiders. In a showing of high regard for Green’s ability and potential, Caplan even drew comparisons to another New Yorker; the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the sport today, Jon Jones. Big shoes to fill, but Green is on the right track.

 

9) Kyoji Horiguchi

Nickname: N/A
Age: 24
Weight: 125lbs (Flyweight)
MMA Career Record: 14-1
Most Notable Victory: Darrell Montague (UFC Fight Night 40, June 2014)

One of the most promising mixed martial artists to emerge from Japan in recent years, Kyoji Horiguchi may be the nation’s greatest hope for a UFC championship.

Since successfully debuting in the Octagon in October 2013 against Dustin Pague, the former bantamweight has dropped to 125lbs and amassed a further two victories, the latest in a string of eight consecutive wins. In his performances, high volume striking and an ability to cover great distance using his jab have proven particularly effective.

Back home, Horiguchi surrounds himself with the elite of Japanese MMA. In camp, he trains at the Krazy Bee gym with experienced partners like Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto. Horiguchi originally came to prominence fighting in Shooto, the long-standing Japanese hybrid martial arts organization, which has also hosted the likes of Enson Inoue, Caol Uno, and Shinya Aoki in years gone by.

These experiences have proved valuable and for his fine form, Horiguchi joins fellow MMA prospect Paul Felder on the UFC 182 card, where he will face Louis Gaudinot in a bout that could catapult Kyoji into the division’s top ten rankings.

 

10) Kron Gracie

Nickname: N/A
Age: 26
Weight: 170lbs (Welterweight)
MMA Career Record: 1-0
Most Notable Victory: Hyung Soo-Kim (RFC – Real 1, December 2014)

There is great intrigue and a sense of mysticism surrounding the MMA career of Kron Gracie.

A product of the sport’s most famous family, Kron is the son of Rickson Gracie – one of history’s greatest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners and an undefeated Vale Tudo fighter in his youth.

What the 26 year old Brazilian lacks in MMA experience, he more than makes up for with a plethora of credentials including a black belt in Judo, a black belt in BJJ under his own father, and a gold medal in the 2013 ADCC Submission Wrestling Championships. Between heritage and grappling honors, Kron’s migration to mixed martial arts seemed predestined.

With the help of UFC standouts Nick Diaz, Nate Diaz, and Gilbert Melendez, Kron made his professional debut earlier this month under the Real Fight Championship banner. Overcoming the weight of great expectation, the Brazilian used his elite skillset to submit fellow MMA debutant Hyung Soo-Kim via armbar in just 65 seconds.

With the exception of striking, a skill he is still developing, Kron Gracie has all the ingredients for a successful MMA career. With plenty of time to improve on his promising start, Kron’s future in the game is just as bright as the explosive impact his ancestors had on it.

 

Stay tuned for part three of five, as we continue to highlight MMA’s hottest prospects in 2015.

Read part one of The MMA Corner’s 25 Hottest Prospects in 2015 here.