Top Africans to watch in the UFC

Al Powers for ESPN

The UFC is the premier mixed martial arts organization in the world and as it expands its global reach, four African fighters are shaking things up and rising up the rankings.

Here KweséESPN looks at the continent's best contributions to the global MMA experience.

Abdul Razak Alhassan
Judo Thunder, or Judo Razak as he is known on social media, is a hard-hitting Welterweight from Ghana. Born in Accra, the 31-year-old Alhassan now fights out of Fort Worth, Texas, where he trains with veterans such as former UFC Welterweight champion Johny Hendricks.

Alhassan lost his most recent fight to Russian Omari Akhmedov via judges' decision last Sunday at UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs Teixeira in Stockholm, Sweden. Despite the loss in that fight and the loss of his unbeaten record, the 7-1 Alhassan is still a rising stock to buy into.

With his excellent Judo base and his surprisingly good stand-up ability, Alhassan needs to improve on his takedown defense in order to continue rising up the Welterweight rankings.

Kamaru Usman
Usman is The Ultimate Fighter not just in ability but also in terms of his title. Usman won The Ultimate Fighter reality show competition in 2015 and has since been on a mission to make his mark in the UFC Welterweight division.

Now ranked the number 10 fighter in the Welterweight division, the "Nigerian Nightmare" is ready for any of the other fighters in the top 10, having paid his dues since making the step up to the UFC.

Born in Nigeria, Usman moved to America with his family at the age of five. The 29-year-old Usman began training as a wrestler at NCAA Division II University of Nebraska at Kearney. Usman was an All-American for all three years that he wrestled and from there began transitioning to Mixed Martial Arts. Now fighting out of Delray Beach, Florida, Usman has the ground and stand up ability necessary to become a UFC champion and it won't be a surprise to see the "Nigerian Nightmare" competing for a UFC belt in the very near future.

Oluwale Bamgbose

Along with fellow Nigerian-American Kamaru Usman, 29-year-old Oluwale Bamgbose is the second Nigerian-American currently under contract with the UFC. The "Holy War Angel" was born in the New York City to Nigerian parents and is firmly in tune with his African roots.

Bamgbose started out in Karate as a child before making the transition to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and then Muay Thai. The hard-hitting Bamgbose will be in action this Saturday at UFC 212 on June 3rd in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

If in doubt about tuning in to Bamgbose's upcoming fight, keep in mind that he beat his opponent in 60 seconds during his second UFC fight last year. If you blink you might miss all the action in Bamgbose's fight this Saturday.

Francis Ngannou

There is no fighter hotter than Cameroonian Francis Ngannou right now. Receiving plaudits from all corners of the UFC world, including the praise and admiration of light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, Ngannou is being tipped for greatness in the UFC's heavyweight division.

The Predator started out as a boxer and moved to France at the age of 26. A switch to Mixed Martial Arts set his career in motion and now with 10 wins and one loss, Ngannou is probably one or two fights away from fighting for the UFC heavyweight belt.

Speculation at the moment is that a fight with former heavyweight champion and current number 4 fighter Junior Dos Santos is being lined up for Ngannou. Now training out of Las Vegas, if he can sharpen the few rough edges in his MMA game, Ngannou has the potential for greatness.