Mandatory Credit: Dana White’s Contender Series
Raul Rosas Jr. is a teenage sensation who has written his name into the UFC annals courtesy of a dream debut success, who will be lining up further glory in the near future.
The Mexican-born California-based 18-year-old, who recently became the youngest winner in UFC history with a career-changing result, appears to be just at the start of building a legacy.
Rosa Jr., nicknamed El Niño Problema, made mincemeat of Jay Perrin in their much-hyped bantamweight fight in Las Vegas during the UFC 282 event. The pair battled it out as a featured preliminary card matchup, and since attracted rave reviews from some big names.
The high school student, who took to the T-Mobile Arena as the youngest-ever UFC competitor at just 18 years and 63 days, was on the initial receiving end from his 29-year-old opponent.
Perrin showed early purpose by landing a solid left hook then followed it up by a jab. Undeterred, but Rosas Jr. bounced back to turn the tables. He latched onto Perrin’s back and then flattened him out, eventually getting the better of the American.
Rosa Jr. triumphed with a rear naked choke to register a remarkable first-round submission in only two minutes 44 seconds, to become the youngest-ever UFC victor.
He is used to rewriting UFC history books. Rosas Jr. earned a promotional contract through Dana White’s Contender Series during the summer and inked a deal as an up-and-coming 17-year-old. He beat the previous record held by America’s Dan Lauzon, who was 18 when he signed.
Following his historic win, Rosas Jr. was swift to show that he’s here for the long-haul by taking centre stage with the microphone to ask UFC president White for the promised US$50,000 bonus that he earned with his victory.
He appears to have a wise head on his young shoulders by publicly claiming that he aims to put this money to good use. He uses the microphone to announce that he wants to purchase a minivan so that his mother can transport him to and from the UFC’s Performance Institute in Las Vegas.
His parents, Oyuki Rios and Raul Rosas, immigrated to the United States from Iztapalapa. This area is considered to be one of the most dangerous and impoverished neighbourhoods in Mexico City.
Rosas Jr. improved his pro record to 7-0, his first victory since September’s unanimous decision over 25-year-old American Mando “El Toro” Gutierrez, to become the youngest winner since Jon Jones, who at the age of 23, defeated Mauricio Rua for the light-heavyweight title in 2011.
American Jones is considered to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. The 35-year-old’s only professional loss was a disqualification against compatriot Matt Hamill.
Sportsbooks didn’t envisage Jones failing in the cage, and that sort of controversial decision is rare in the sport. While no upcoming UFC fights has been scheduled yet for Rosas Jr., those who fancy a flutter on the 18-year old can certainly check the most recent odds at some of the best FlexePIN betting sites like bet365 once they are available.
Yet Rosas Jr., who recently revealed that he experienced his first MMA fight in an octagon aged just eight years old, is not inspired by other MMA fighters. The teenager is influenced by former interim UFC lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, although doesn’t want to emulate his hero’s fighting style.
He may be on a learning curve in the cage, but he is completely committed. When he signed his UFC contract, Rosas Jr. was just a matter of months away from graduating from his senior year in high school. He had to leave his friends behind to focus on training sessions, and instead concentrate on home-schooling.
His time and devotion for his UFC debut paid dividends. He lived up to his claim at a pre-press conference of: “The key to this fight is not only winning this fight, but also I’m going to win impressively to show that I’m ready to fight higher level competition.”
Rosas Jr. is certainly unique, and at such a young age will be vying to break more UFC records – such as becoming the youngest-ever to lift titles in at least two weight divisions.