Top Prospects to Sign for UFC Moscow

With many rumblings about the UFC coming to Russia, it was finally confirmed that they will, in fact, hold UFC Moscow on May 26th. This will be the promotions first time visiting the country.

With so many Russian prospects I will narrow it to ten who the UFC should look to book for UFC Moscow:

Askar Askarov

Flyweight | 25-years old |Khasavyurt, Russia | Berkut FC |
10-0 | 3 KO/TKO’s, 3 Submissions | Notable win(s)- Anthony Leone,
Jose Maria Tome, Marcin Lasota.

It’s been reported that Askarov has fought out his contract with ACB and is in talks with the UFC so expect him to be on this card. He is very explosive, moves in and out with amazing head movement, and he uses the jab to set up powerful left and right hands. He’s also very good on the mat and gets the back often and is very tough to shake off. He is always going for the submission and is constantly working on the mat.

Grigory Popov

Bantamweight | 34-years old | Yakutsk, Russia | Tiger Muay Thai & MMA |
12-1 | 3 KO/TKO’s, 7 Submissions | Notable win(s)- 

Popov has an accomplished background in Muay-Thai with a record of 25-3 and some accomplishments are: Pro Muay Thai World Champion in 2013, Russian National Champion in 2007, four-time Asian champion, and a two-time Eurasian champion. Popov is gonna be strong on the feet with his muay thai background as he has dangerous knees, elbows, and kicks. His grappling is underrated as he’s had two rare gogoplata submission finishes.

Mosvar Evloev

Bantamweight | 24 | Ingushetia, Russia | Fight Club Nart |
9-0 | 2 KO/TKO’s, 4 Submissions | Notable win(s)- Pavel Vitruk,
Lee Morrison.

Evloev is the current M-1 135-pound champion and apparently, his last fight for M-1 was maybe his last. On the mat is where he is excellent. He’s great on top and during the little amount of time he has been on his back, has shown great scrambling ability. Evloev is a submission threat but is more prone to positional dominance, as he is an excellent back-taker and sticks like glue to his opponent. While nothing special on the feet, he’s been improving.

Damir Ismagulov

Lightweight | 27-years old | Orenburg, Russia | Fight Clu|
16-1 | 9 KO/TKO’s, 1 Submission | Notable win(s)- Raul Tutarauli (twice),
Maxim Divnich.

Damir is one of the best 155-pound prospects and is the current M-1 champion. Damir is set to fight June 15th but it’s gonna be his last fight on his M-1 contract so a call to the UFC has potential. Ismagulov is an excellent striker and kickboxer being completely at home fighting on the feet. Ismagulov is very diverse in his attacks he uses flying knees and loves to use spinning kicks that he rarely telegraphs. Ismagulov stays on the outside mostly and fires his kicks and long-range strikes with a lot of power in his hands getting many knockdowns in his career. Ismagulov also has a ground game, decent wrestling, and good at taking the back.

Alexey Kunchenko

Welterweight | 34-years old | Tyumen, Russia | Fighter Gym |
18-0 | 13 KO/TKO’s, 1 Submission | Notable win(s)- Sergey Romanov,
Grigoriy Kichigin.

Kunchenko could arguably be the best fighters out of Russia they could sign for this card. He is the current raining defending M-1 champion and even though he is with M-1 he does a UFC clause. Kunchenko’s record speaks for itself as he truly does everything well. Kunchenko owns solid kickboxing, crisp combination-striking, and lethal ground-and-pound. Kunchenko is a finisher but has shown he is capable of going five rounds when needed. He’ll be a very tough matchup for anyone in the division

Shamil Abdulaev

Middleweight | 27-years old | Vladivostok, Russia | Krepost Fight Club |
11-0 | 4 KO/TKO’s, 1 Submission | Notable win(s)- Paulo Bueno

From the footage you can find from Abdulaev, you get a good read that he is a wrestler first where he has dominated alone with constant pressure, takedowns, and effective ground and pound. Still, Abdulaev needs to show more but fighting for the WFCA promotion and the UFC needing middleweights that may grab him up.

Ivan Shtyrkov

Heavyweight | 29-years old | Yekaterinburg, Russia | camp??? |
14-0-1 | 5 KO/TKO’s, 5 Submissions | Notable win(s)- Satoshi Ishii,
Marcin Lazarz, Christian M’Pumbu, Jeff Monson, Rodney Wallace,
Phil De Fries, Antonio Silva, Ricco Rodriguez.

Shtyrkov did receive an offer from the UFC in July of last year but would turn it down for simply the reason being he doesn’t think he’s ready. Since that offer, he has won three more fights so surely he is ready now. Shtyrkov does get visibly tired because of all the energy he puts into his fights. Shtyrkov has the power on his feet to drop anyone but tends to get hit a lot but has shown a good chin. Shtyrkov does have better wrestling then you might expect for a brawler, with a wide variety of takedowns including body-lock takedowns, to double-leg takedowns, to trip takedowns that show his power and athleticism. On top, he is a real submission threat as well.

Khusein Khaliev

Welterweight | 29-years old | Grozny, Russia | K-Dojo Warrior Tribe |
18-1 | 5 KO/TKO’s, 10 Submissions | Notable win(s)- Tagir Tagirov,
Valmir Lazaro.

Khaliev was rumored to be signing with PFL to compete in the welterweight tournament but the deal never came full circle so he is a free agent. The way he strings together his kicks, including his spinning kicks, in with his combinations is amazing. On the feet, he mainly relies on his kickboxing. He attacks every limb and has the ability to use spinning kicks but does it better than most other people. On the mat, he has excellent control and at times, he has relentless ground-and-pound. “Captain” has a good submission base with 10 submissions.

Yusup Raisov

Featherweight | 27-years old | Grozny, Russia | Berkut FC |
13-1 | 1 KO/TKO’s, 8 Submissions | Notable win(s)- Marat Balaev, Luis Palomino,
Alexander Peduson.

It’s not for certain that Raisov could sign with the UFC where he is with ACB, With that said, there were rumors that his last fight was the last on his contract and if so he could very well make the jump to the UFC. His standup is very technical but still explosive. He uses a lot of spinning kicks and flying knees but he throws them so fast opponents can’t really react quick enough to counter. Raisov moves in and out very well and on the mat, he is a big threat with submissions, so he is more than dangerous there as well, but his wrestling is a big weapon for him as he can get takedown after takedown.

Denis Goltsov

Heavyweight | 27-years old |St. Petersburg, Russia | Sambo-Piter |
21-5 9 KO/TKO’s, 8 Submissions | Notable win(s)- Chase Gormley,
Paul Buentell0, Konstantin Erokhin, Mike Kyle, John Hawn, Peter Graham,
James McSweeney, Zoumana Cisse, Brett Rogers.

Goltsov was reported to fight in the PFL tournament but had to pull out due to VISA issues. It’s not certain if Goltsov was completely let out of his contract but if so he would be a great pick up for the UFC as he has been in contact with them in the past. Goltsov is a multiple-time Combat Sambo champion and placed first at this year’s Euros. Goltsov is the finished product and is only getting better and better. He’s arguably the best Heavyweight prospect out there.

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