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MMA Latest News’ Top 5 weekly Prospects: Russia

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Welcome back to this weeks segment of the MMA Latest News’ Top 5 weekly prospects. This week I will be looking at some of the prosperous talents that Russia has to offer the MMA world. Lately, there has been quite a lot of talk of arguably the best Russian MMA fighter of all time Fedor Emelianenko returning to action. This sparked my interest to the home of popular martial art Sambo. Once again due to the high amount of UFC fighters being Russian I will be breaking this up into two separate sections, the top 5 inside and outside the UFC.

Top 5 prospects inside the UFC

1.Ruslan Magomedov
Record: 13-1
Fighting out of: Fight club Berkut
Promotion: UFC
Last fight: UFC Fight Night 57 vs. Josh Copeland (Won via Decision)
Next fight: UFC 192 vs. Shawn Jordan

Heavyweight fighter Ruslan Magomedov has been one of Russia’s brightest stars in the UFC since signing in 2014. He has only appeared in the octagon on two occasions to date and has been victorious on both occasions, winning both by decision. He now aims for a 3rd consecutive win in the UFC against Shawn Jordan at UFC 192 when he makes his long-awaited return from injury. A win could certainly bump him into the top 15.

Magomedov has a great base style of Kickboxing picking up 4 KO/TKO wins so far in his career, although likes to grind out his opponents to pick up the decision also with 7 victories. He has proven his worthiness of being a top contender since very early in his career when he defeated former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez. He also fought at Super Heavyweight where he pulled off an upset to defeat yet another former UFC Heavyweight champion in Tim Sylvia. Still only 28 and on an 8 fight winning streak he has a lot to offer the Heavyweight division and maybe be a future title contender if his past fights are anything to go by.

Islam Makhachev
Record: 12-0
Fighting out of: Fightspirit team
Promotion: UFC
Last fight: UFC 187 vs. Leo Kuntz (Won via submission)
Next fight: N/A

Fighting in the UFC’s lightweight division, undefeated Makhachev signed a four-fight contract with the UFC. He instantly made quite an impact when he pulled of submission victory to put the Lightweight division on notice of his presence with the win at one of the biggest shows of the year. Now only early in his UFC career he has quite the amount of time ahead of him as well as being only 23 to break into the rankings. Although may have a task ahead of him in such a stacked division.

Makhachev holds the rank of International master of sport in Sambo and is a former Combat Sambo world champion. This background of Combat Sambo has evidently helped him be a force in MMA too. So far he has been known for his prowess on the ground winning 50% of his fights by a submission, one of which being against a BJJ black belt. He is a major prospect and is definitely one to watch in the coming months.

Zubaira Tukhugov
Record: 17-3
Fighting out of: Tiger Muay Thai
Promotion: UFC
Last fight: UFC Fight Night 53 vs. Ernest Chavez
Next fight: N/A

The 24-year-old Featherweight is has been on the rise in the UFC since his promotional debut. However, hasn’t been active as of late due to suffering a rib injury which forced him out of a major fight against Thiago Tavares. Despite the setback, he has been one to watch. In his 2 fights to date, he has proven successful and a major threat with a big upset of Douglas Silva de Andrade in the Brazilian’s hometown by decision as well as a first-round TKO of Ernest Chavez.

Fighting out of Tiger Muay Thai, he has gained himself some excellent stand-up ability which he displayed in his last outing. However, the vast majorities of his fights have been won by a decision where he utilizes excellent clinch work and stand up to pull off the victory after going the distance. The Russian made a name for himself on his debut when won an 8 men one-night tournament. Since then he has been a proven prospect and could rattle some UFC contenders if his success continues.

Konstantin Erokhin
Record: 9-2
Fighting out of: Krepost Fight Club
Promotion: UFC
Last fight: UFC on Fox 14 vs. Viktor Pesta
Next fight: N/A

This Heavyweight hitter has only signed with the UFC this year losing his debut bout. Prior to his demising defeat to Pesta, he was riding on an outstanding 9 fight win streak where he racked up some highlight reel finishes. The highly slated Russian has recently had a fight against Daniel Omielańczuk cancelled. The fight was scheduled for UFC Fight Night 72, however, an injury forced Erokhin out of the potential explosive bout.

Prior to his UFC days Erokhin was a major force in the region of Russia, dominating the majority of his opponents. His heavy hands saw him claim victory in 8 of those fights by way of TKO/KO all coming in the very first round, half of those in under a minute. Standing at 5’11, he is fairly small for a heavyweight as he comes up against fighters that may be 4 or 5 inches taller as well as having a longer reach. This hasn’t proven difficult so far for him in his career, if able to overcome it once more in the UFC and bang out a couple of major wins he may see himself respectively in the rankings.

Bekbulat Magomedov
Record: 16-0
Fighting out of: Sparta Moscow
Promotion: UFC
Last fight: LOS 1 vs. Meder Shermatov (Won via decision)
Next fight: N/A

Magomedov was signed by the UFC in late 2014 and is yet to make his debut. The well-known fighter was rumoured to have signed for the UFC 2 years ago, but his RUFF contract scuffered that. Now finally achieving the UFC he is ready for more wins to be on that unscathed record. He is down as 16-0, but there are videos of him fighting in some unlisted bouts. Regardless his recent step up in the competition sees him tackle the UFC with a promising career ahead.

Like the majority of Russian fighters, he comes from a Sambo background, picking up a Russian national title in the martial art. He uses a typical Sambo style of using striking well and getting his range so he can score a single or double leg. Now only 24 he has years ahead of him as well as lots of experience behind him, this all could add to be the perfect time for him to make an impact on his division and bring some extra bit of excitement to the Featherweight division.

Top 5 prospects outside the UFC

Denis Goltsov
Record: 15-4
Fighting out of: Sambo Piter
Promotion: Tech-Krep FC
Last fight: Tech-Krep FC: PRIME Selection 2015 Stage 4 vs James McSweeney (Won via KO/TKO)
Next fight: N/A

Yet another Heavyweight fighter to feature on this list. Goltsov is currently one of Russia’s hottest prospects, riding on a 10 fight win streak that dates back to 2012 he has dominated his division entirely. He is a major draw for his promotion also, either Main eventing or co-main eventing his last 6 fights. He holds some big victories over UFC vet James McSweeney and current UFC heavyweight who features about Konstantin Erokhin, giving him some hope of a step up soon.

Goltsov has excellent Sambo which sees him be comfortable standing up or on the ground, having finished 6 fights via TKO/KO and Submission so far in his career. Lately, he has been more noticed around the MMA world after finishing world class kickboxer James McSweeney with a huge head kick. Goltsov could be a very good addition to UFC roster, a call-up may come in soon time, therefore he is a one to watch in the coming months.

Shamil Zavurov
Record: 27-3-1
Fighting out of: RusFighters sports club
Promotion: Grozny fights (Last fought under)
Last fight: Grozny fights 4 vs. Hermes França (won via TKO/KO)
Next fight: N/A

Zavurov is arguably the top Russian Lightweights outside the top promotions as well as a top welterweight too. His taste of glory came at M-1 Global when he won the Welterweight title losing 364 days later after defending the title successfully occasions prior to the loss. His most recent win saw him beat former WEC lightweight champion and UFC lightweight title contender, Hermes França in under a minute. A win that surely caught the attention of some of the higher business personalities in MMA. He is notably the 1st cousin of Khabib Nurmagomedov too.

Giving himself the nickname “champion” was a brave move but he has lived up to it so far in his career winning 3 titles to date. Zavurov is also a black belt and 1st International Master of Sports in Sambo as well as a Master of Sports in Freestyle Wrestling. In his 31 fights then he has only ever been finished once, by submission and has 11 TKO/KO and decision victories along with 5 submission victories. This highly impress resume is one that surely cannot be ignored by the UFC for much longer, thereby being a huge prospect this coming year.

Ramazan Emeev
Record: 12-3
Fighting out of: Gorets
Promotion: M-1 Global
Last fight: M-1 Challenge 56 vs. Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (Won via submission)
Next fight: N/A

This 28-year-old Middleweight has lately proven to be a dominant force in his division after overcoming Vyacheslav Vasilevsky to be crowned the new M-1 Global Middleweight champion. Now one of the top fighters in his weight class around the world one or two more wins may see him get a call up especially if the UFC plans to head to Russia in 2016.

Emeev in a lot of his fights has proven to have heavy hands, landing big overhand rights many times in his fights. However, he has been more of a submission artist usually ending half of his wins by submission. He utilization of his heavy hands leads him to use a very good takedown which then ends up with him using some effective ground and pound all to be topped off with a submission.

Murad Abdulaev
Record: 15-3
Fighting out of: Fighting Eagle
Promotion: M-1 Global
Last fight: M-1 Challenge 58 – Battle in the Mountains 4 vs. Marcelo Brito (Won via Decision)
Next fight: N/A

Murad “Hunter” Abdulaev turned professional back in 2009 and has furthered his career a lot since then, stepping up in competition the past few years taking on the top Welterweight fighters M-1 Global has had to offer, steamrolling through the talent only to pick up the vacant title in his last fight. He also holds a notable win against current, successful UFC fighter Albert Tumenov.

In the majority of his bouts he has gone on to win by decision, however, he has very good striking managing to pick up 6 victories by way of a KO/TKO. Only becoming more popular amongst fans lately, if results keep going his way, we could see him take the step up to a bigger promotion and take on some of the world’s elite Welterweights.

Abubakar Nurmagomedov
Record: 10-1
Fighting out of: Fightspirit Team
Promotion: WSOF
Last fight: WSOF 22 vs Jorge Moreno (Won via decision)
Next fight: N/A

Most well known as being the brother of top UFC lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov. He is also a top fighter as well as a major prospect for the future. His recent promotional debut at WSOF saw him hand his opponent the first loss of his career. Nurmagomedov has been very vocal about his aims for the future, wanting top fighters like Fitch, Okami and Palhares.

He is surely determined to make his mark on the division, although his win at WSOF 22 was overshadowed by the brawl between Khabib and the Diaz brothers.Despite that he is a proven future contender after an impressive win on Saturday.Unfortunately not getting the finish he wanted he has evidently great stand up backed up by his record of 6 KO/TKO victories so far in his career.

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FURY FC 17 Preview: UFC Veteran Roger Narvaez Set to Fight For Gold

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Deep in the Hill Country of Texas, there is a storm of MMA action brewing on the horizon in the historic city of San Antonio.

In 1836 the most iconic siege ever to take place in the American West was waged between Santa Anna’s Mexican forces and a small band of Texans fighting for their independence at the Battle of the Alamo. On June 10th that tradition of never backing down continues as Fury Fighting Championships 17 takes place at the Shrine Auditorium with a card that was originally slated to have 20 bouts of MMA action. At the top of the bill, there will be a familiar face as former UFC fighter, Roger “The Silverback” Narvaez, looks to capture his first championship in the sport when he faces Antonio “Doomsday” Jones for the vacant middleweight title. The event will also feature a hot prospect, a kickboxing champion, and a grudge match.

Fury FC 17 will be broadcast live on FloCombat.com.

While the 33-year-old Narvaez (8-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC) has already realized his ultimate goal of getting to the highest level of MMA, fighting for a title has always eluded him. The 6’3″ fighter nicknamed “The Silverback” due to his abnormal 79.5″ wingspan, or monkey arms as he calls them was twice scheduled to fight for the Legacy Fighting Championship Middleweight Title against then champion Bubba Bush who now fights in the UFC. An injury caused the first fight to be canceled. Then a call up to the UFC to fight an unknown opponent on short notice put an end to plans for the another scheduled title fight.

Theodorou vs. Narvaez at UFC 185 (photo: Matthew Wells – MMA Latest)

 

To Roger, the secret to grabbing the attention of the world’s biggest MMA promotion is fighting for several different promotions. He fought for six different organizations winning all of his fights before getting a call from the UFC’s former matchmaker Joe Silva to ask if he was ready to make the move. Narvaez feels that fighting for multiple shows tells the UFC that a fighter is ready to fight whoever and whenever. His first fight for the promotion was a loss to Patrick Cummins at UFC Fight Night 42 in Albuquerque where he fought at an altitude of over 5300 feet sea level, something he says will not do again unless he is training at altitude. To put it bluntly, he plainly states “the altitude in Albuquerque sucks.” After a win against Luke Barnett, he faced Elias Theodorou. In that fight, he broke his arm before ultimately losing, and was then cut by the UFC.


At this point in Narvaez’s career, his goals now are different:

“The next goal for me, to be realistic, is to make as much money as I can. I love fighting, but at the same time, I have a family that I am trying to support. That is always first and foremost now…[and] Fury is doing a pretty good job of taking care of me…This is a really big deal for me. I am probably training harder for this fight than I have ever trained before. Part of that is with age comes knowledge and experience and I am doing everything I need to do the right way to get ready to come home with that strap, but that strap means ever thing…I didn’t quit fighting with a broken arm, it is going to take something pretty drastic to get me stop. I don’t think the guy I am fighting is going to be able to break my will or test my heart to where I am not going to be able to pull through…coming home with that title is a big deal.”

That home is one of a fighting family. Narvaez’s wife Brandi is also a fighter who recently made her professional debut at Legacy Fighting Alliance 7. His stepson is a gray belt who competes in Jui-Jitsu year round, his daughter also trains in the sport. They understand the hard work that their dad puts in more so than the average fighter’s family. As he puts “it’s not normal, but it is normal to us.”


The prospect to keep an eye on is Two-time Alabama state wrestling champion turned lightweight MMA fighter, Alec Williams (5-1 MMA) from Birmingham. Williams will be looking to rebound from his first professional loss as he takes on Travonne “Prince Scorpion” Hobbs. In his last fight, Alec relied on his wrestling and got it in his head that he did not want to stand and trade with his opponent. That mentality ultimately not only cost him his undefeated record but also to sustain four broken bones in the right side of his face.

“I didn’t get knocked out, I still got the takedown after I broke those four bones. I know it is going to be pretty difficult to knock me out…Honestly, the loss kind of took any pressure off. Before I was undefeated, that loss was going to be a big change and now a loss is just another loss.”

For this fight, Williams says he has been working with MMA legend and former UFC fighter Pete Spratt on his stand up and will not make the same mistake twice.


Also featured on the card is the first Brazilan World Cup Kickboxing Champion, welterweight Washington “Washingthai” Luiz. Originally slated to fight Nickolay Veretennikov, “Washingthai” Luiz will now take on lesser known Danny Ageday. With a new opponent on just four days notice, the man who has aspirations to become a champion in GLORY Kickboxing is not fazed.

“I did my whole camp studying my first opponent who is a striker like me, but I do not feel harmed by the change. I’m ready for this war…The main reason for my change to the USA is the opportunity to be in the biggest events in the world I have already fought the biggest events in Brazil in kickboxing and MMA. I have fought in big events in Europe and now my challenge is the biggest event of kickboxing, GLORY. But I also love MMA and when a fight appears for me, I do not refuse.”


The grudge match at Fury FC 17 comes to us from the flyweights division’s Mark “The Sparrow” Plata and David “Gallito” Miramontes. These two men were scheduled to fight previously but Plata had to pull out due to his wife giving birth to twins. According to Plata, that is where the beef began.

“The day my twins were born he was messaging me talking about how this was not a good reason not fight and that I just did not want to fight him. My kids were in ICU at the time and he just keeps messaging me over and over…it upset me at the time because they were dying, they were trying to survive, but it just added more fuel to the fire. Then he kept asking promoters to fight me. He asked two or three different promoters to set it up. I got tired of him asking for me. So then I was like, alright cool if you want it that bad, let’s do it…His fighting style matches his personality. He tries to be a bully, and that’s cool, I don’t mind shutting bullies down.”

Titles, champions, prospects, legitimate bad blood…what more you could ask for in a local card?

This is an event not to miss and thanks to Fury FC having a deal with FloSports, you do not have to.

Tune in for all the action live at 6:00 PM CST on FloCombat.com this Saturday.

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*VIDEO* Francis Ngannou has his eyes on the UFC Heavyweight Title

Matthew Wells

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UFC Heavyweight Francis “The Predator” Ngannou has taken the heavyweight division by storm.

Currently 5-0 in the UFC and riding a 9 fight win streak, the native of Cameroon possesses vicious power and has shown improvements each time he steps inside the cage.

Hear Ngannou talk about his journey and plans for the future:

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The humble beginnings of the Korean Zombie

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Korean Zombie UFC

The featherweight division has become one of the most exciting in the UFC in the last few years. With the arrival of Conor McGregor, and an influx of exciting talent, new life has been breathed into a division that was suffering due to Jose Aldo’s dominance.

A notable absentee during this rise has been “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, who returns for the first time in three years against Dennis Bermudez on Saturday. The fight features as the main event of UFC Fight Night 104, and Jung is making his long awaited return after serving his mandatory military service duty for the South Korean Army.

With the fight with Bermudez fast approaching, the buzz for Jung’s return is noticeable throughout the MMA community. With a return of this magnitude, it is always fun to look back at the career of the fighter and relive the moments in his career that make the fan in all of us excited for his return.

The humble beginnings of the Korean Zombie

Chan Sung Jung was widely considered to be one of the best prospects to emerge from the far east when he was signed by WEC to face Cub Swanson in 2010. An injury forced Swanson out of the contest and Leonard Garcia stepped in as a replacement.

The fight between the two would take place on the preliminary card of Jose Aldo Jr. vs. Urijah Faber for the WEC featherweight championship. The event was the first and only WEC pay-per-view card and with Zuffa on board, the event was treated as such with Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan on commentary.

That night, MMA fans were treated to one of the greatest fights in mixed martial arts history and widely regarded as the best fight ever in the lighter weight classes. Many fans call a fight “a war” in an exciting contest between two fighters, but the fight between the Zombie and Garcia was more like a demolition derby.

Both men threw their strikes with wreckless intent and dropped each other on numerous occasions. The fight went to a split decision with Garcia getting the nod from the judges. Many considered Jung the winner, but the fight received praise from every media outlet in the days following the card. Dana White would wear a shirt with the now famous “Korean Zombie” logo at the following UFC PPV weigh ins in support of the epic fight.

Jung returned to the cage to face George Roop in his next outing in the WEC and lost the fight by a vicious head kick. This would be his final fight in WEC as the UFC went on to absorb the WEC’s featherweight and bantamweight divisions and bring both into the UFC.

Jung was scheduled to make his promotional debut for the UFC against Rani Yahya at UFC Fight Night 23, but was forced out of the fight with an injury. Ironically Leonard Garcia’s opponent Nam Phan would suffer an injury before their scheduled fight. It seemed like fate that Jung and Garcia would do battle once more. The Korean Zombie came in as a late replacement for the injured Phan. The rematch between the two was highly anticipated and the UFC was promoting the fight as the rematch to the greatest fight ever.

The fight was set as the opener to the main card for UFC Fight Night 24. What came next was history in the making. Both fighters were tentative in the early exchanges in the fight and didn’t have the same enthusiasm to brawl as the previous encounter, but in the final few minutes of the opening round, Jung took the back of Garcia.

In an unorthodox position on the ground, Rogan said on the desk, “Looks like he is setting up for a twister”. The twister was not seen in the UFC at this point and with the clock ticking, Jung stretched Garcia in a position where his spine was turned into a pretzel and Garcia tapped. Jung stated in the post-fight interview with Rogan that he had learned how to do the submission watching videos of Eddie Bravo doing the move. The win won multiple awards for submission of the year.

After that win, Chan Sung Jung was set to face Mark Hominick at UFC 140 in Toronto. Hominick, who fought Aldo for the title at UFC 129 in his hometown, came into the fight as the underdog, but in seven seconds that all changed. Jung cracked Hominick, tying the record for the second fastest knockout in UFC history. A win over a former title challenger launched the South Korean into title contention.

Following another historic win, Chan Sung Jung was now set to take part in his first ever main event against rising star Dustin Poirier with the winner receiving a title shot against UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo at a later date.

Jung went on to put on another fight of the year that night. The one-man zombie horde overwhelmed Poirier in the early rounds with his aggressive style. Numerous submission attempts and transitions by Jung frustrated Poirier. As Poirier became more aggressive and careless in the fight, Jung launched a flying knee in the third round and rocked his opponent. Poirier attempted to take Jung down, but the Zombie caught Poirier in a D’Arce choke in the third round to get the win.

Multiple injuries, and scheduled title fights between Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar; and Aldo and Anthony Pettis, delayed Jung’s title shot. After Pettis was forced out of the title fight with Aldo because of an injury, Jung was called up as a late replacement and finally get the title shot he earned by defeating Poirier a year earlier.

The fight would take place in Brazil and was surprisingly lacklustre. Both fighters were sizing each other up for the majority of the contest. Jung suffered an injury during the fight when he dislocated his shoulder and in typical zombie fashion, Jung attempted to put his own shoulder back in place. Aldo used this time to attack, winning the title fight by TKO.

This would be the last time we saw the zombie in the cage as he would be drafted by the South Korean Army to do his two-year mandatory military service. Jung has not fought in three and a half years.

Now the burning question is how will the Korean zombie look after such a long absence. One thing is sure though, fans are extremely excited to see his return and on Saturday, The Zombie Apocalypse could be on the cards if the South Korean comes out of the cage with a win.

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