LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 20: (L-R) Raul Rosas Jr. battles Mando Gutierrez in a bantamweight fight during Dana White’s Contender Series season six week nine at UFC APEX on September 20, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Summary: Setting the record for the youngest UFC signee is 17-year-old Raul Rosas Jr., who earns a solid B for out-grappling Mando Gutierrez to a decision.
Don’t let the grade fool you: I see a very high ceiling for Rosas and am incredibly excited for his future, but let’s try and be realistic rather than get swept up in the excitement that the teenage cage-fighter is (rightfully) feeling.
Rosas’ grappling strength, endurance and overall wherewithal were well-beyond his years. Whether Rosas was dogging out back mount positions or changing his level off of springboarding flying knees like he’s Yoel Romero, the kid is definitely not lacking in confidence or creativity.
However, aside from still seeing very little of Rosas’ striking (he does fight at bantamweight, mind you), the young man’s inherent aggression and wildness appear to allow for some opportunities to either escape or reverse position.
Gutierrez didn’t seem to have sharp enough fight IQ to take advantage of the positions he was being given against Rosas, but the UFC’s insanely-deep bantamweight roster won’t likely be as forgiving. For that reason, I sincerely hope that they don’t book Rosas until next year, allowing ample time for the Mexican fighter to further develop.