Derrick Lewis (16-4)
- Height: 6’3″ Age: 31 Weight: 265 lbs Reach: 79″
- Last Fight: Split Decision win / Roy Nelson (7-7-16)
- Camp: Silverback Fight Club (Houston, TX)
- Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
- Risk Management: Fair
+ Regional MMA Titles
+ 94% Finishing Rate
+ 14 KO victories
+ 1 Submission win
+ 7 first round finishes
+ KO power
+ Devastating right hands & uppercuts
+ Underrated kicks & knees
+/-Aggressive engagements & entries
^ Counter availabilities
+ Strong inside the clinch
^ Strikes well off the breaks
+ Improved grappling/positional awareness
^ Underrated scrambling ability
+/-Limited tools shown from back
^ Times get-ups & explosions well
Shamil Abdurakhimov (17-3)
- Height: 6’3″ Age: 35 Weight: 255 lbs Reach: 76″
- Last Fight: Split Decision win / Walt Harris (10-1-16)
- Camp: Preservet FT (Makhachkala, Dagestan)
- Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
- Risk Management: Good
+ Master of Sport in Kickboxing
+ Wushu Sanda Champion (Russia)
+ 7 KO victories
+ 4 Submission wins
+ 9 first round finishes
+ Excellent footwork
^ Deceptively athletic & agile
+ Accurate shot selection
^ Good timing and instincts
+ Competent takedowns
^ Changes level well
+ Strong inside of the clinch
^ Strikes well off of the breaks
+ Floats well on top
– Shows to struggle from bottom
– Lacks overall output & urgency
The main event for UFC Albany is a heavyweight showdown between Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis and Shamil “Abrek” Abudurakhimov. A fast-rising fan favorite, Derrick Lewis has wasted little time in getting to work since coming on board with the organization. Recently scoring some of the biggest wins of his career in battles with Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga, Lewis will look to make a statement in this showcase spot. An interesting addition to the heavyweight division, Shamil Abdurakhimov has quietly accrued a 2-1 record in the UFC as the Dagestani seeks to shake up the rankings and land on the radar with a big win.
Although Abdurakhimov seems like an unlikely contender, there is a lot to like about the man who has a Master of Sport in Kickboxing. Like many Dagestani strikers, Shamil comes from a Wushu Sanda base. One of the earlier forms of martial arts embraced by Russia, Wushu Sanda, originated from Chinese Wushu in an effort to create a more competitive form of kickboxing. From punches to low kicks, this style has all the fundamental nods to boxing and Muay Thai. However, it also incorporates a lot of clinch fighting in the form of strikes, trips, and tosses.
Hailing from Makhachkala, Abdurakhimov comes from a place of solid strikers who embody this style. ACB’s current heavyweight champion, Salimgirey Rasulov, is another successful Dagestani from Makhachkala who fights similarly to Shamil. Although Shamil does not throw as flashy of kicks as Salimgirey, he does some things quietly well that could surface against the Black Beast. Deceptively agile, Abdurakhimov displays intelligent footwork that allows him to manage the distance at his preferred fighting range.
Even though these abilities can often allow Abdurakhimov to fall subject to cruise control, Shamil possesses and well-timed right hand that he keeps cocked for oncoming opposition. Maintaining a light bounce in his step, Abdurakhimov will plant his weight appropriately when his opponent attempts to close the distance. Although Abdurabkhimov lacks the typical heavyweight pop to his punches, he arguably makes up for it with his accuracy and placement. We saw perfect examples of this in Abdurahimov’s fight with Anthony Hamilton, as he was able to stun the more powerful man on multiple occasions.
Despite Shamil’s lack of follow-up making for a forgettable fight, that does not change that fact that his counter right hand will be his best shot in this matchup. Even though Abdurakhimov lacks traditional one-shot stopping power, all it takes is placement and momentum in this weight class. However, if Abdurakhimov’s counters fail to get the same respect from Lewis that they did from Hamilton, then he may be outgunned in the striking exchanges.
Stepping onto the scene as an unabashed brawler, Derrick Lewis has shown signs of improvements underneath the scary destructions that often take place in his fights. An incredible athlete for a man of his size, Lews can throw accurate knees and head kicks with little signs of a struggle. A downright scary distance closer, Derrick will force his opponent into the fence whether he lands on them or not. Difficult to deal with inside of the clinch, Derrick does his best work when striking off of the breaks as he does so with impunity.
Although Abdurakhimov is competent inside of the clinch, he gets too comfortable in this space as that could be a crucial mistake against Lewis. Since Shamil is the more technical clinch fighter, it will be interesting if he tries any of his trip-takedowns in an attempt to neutralize Lewis. We saw Roy Nelson have success with an outside trip from the clinch, even though he ultimately struggled to keep Lewis grounded. Although Lewis lacks your typical technics off of his back, he is intelligent in knowing when to time his explosions.
Granted, his size and strength are a huge, outlying reasons for his success, but that still does not change the fact the Lewis is showing steady signs of technical improvement. Given that grapplers like Gabe Gonzaga and Roy Nelson struggled to implement their terms, I do not see Shamil breaking any new ground in that department. Abdurakhimov is also not too inactive in regards to taking his opponents down, as the Dagestani will usually only change his level to stifle an oncoming rush. Against Lewis, Abdurakhimov could lower his head into a knee if he is not careful.
Shamil also likes to score takedowns off of caught kicks, but I am not sure that will be much of a threat considering that most of Lewis’ sprinkled-in attempts are to the head. Whether he finds his way topside in a scramble or shoots his forceful double-leg, Shamil will need to be worried if he finds himself as the man on the bottom. Although Abdurakhimov’s one stoppage loss was not a clean KO, Derrick Lewis possesses the power to knock out an Elephant if given the opportunity. If Abdurakhimov fails to establish and follow up on his counter shots, then I suspect the Black Beast will find another scalp here.
Official Pick: Lewis – Inside the distance
Main Card Predictions:
- Lewis def. Abdurakhimov
- Ngannou def. Hamilton
- Anderson def. O’Connell
- Villante def. Safarov
Preliminary Card Predictions:
- Kish def. Yoder
- Brown def. Camozzi
- Meerschaert def. Gigliotti
- Sanchez def. Smith
- Burgos def. Trator
- Diakiese def. Perez
- Janes def. Berish
- Lima def. Aldrich
GSP vs Robert Whittaker is Easily the Best Fight to Make at Middleweight
GSP became the new middleweight champion of the UFC this past weekend, and many questions have been asked his way. Is he officially the greatest of all time? Who does he fight next? Does he stay at middleweight?
The G.O.A.T. conversation will never be settled completely. There will always be separation in opinions between Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, GSP, Demetrious Johnson, Fedor Emelianenko, and some even say Conor McGregor is the greatest, simply due to the fact that he is the first ever UFC champion to hold two belts simultaneously. Regardless of how that conversation is driven, the biggest question that should be the only concern at this point is the immediate plans for the new middleweight champion.
Where does GSP go next, and who does he fight?
Well, the fact of the matter is, it would not make sense for GSP to go down to the welterweight division again. 170-pounds is alive and kicking at the moment, with new stars emerging such as Darren Till and Mike Perry, to return of veterans like Carlos Condit, and also new additions to the division like Rafael dos Anjos. St-Pierre would have to stay extremely active in order to keep the division flowing.
At the age of 36 and having just returned to MMA last weekend, St-Pierre is unlikely to stay as active as he used to be when he was the king of the welterweight division. Plus, would it really make much sense for him to get on his old diet again in order to make the welterweight weight limit? He looked massive last night, all bulked up, and even seemed like the bigger fighter against Bisping, who used to fight at 205-pounds.
On the other hand, if he decides to stay at middleweight, which is what UFC president Dana White stated would happen yesterday, then there is one clear path for him to take and based on his statements on his contract, will be forced to take: Robert Whittaker.
Whittaker won the interim middleweight belt earlier this year against Yoel Romero at UFC 213, which was a razor close fight that went to Whittaker at the end of 5 rounds. Since then, Whittaker has been sidelined due to the injury he suffered during the fight, damaging his ligament in the left knee.
4 months later, he has seemed to have healed up perfectly, as he was in the arena for the madness last night and even answered a few questions from the media, stating that he is healthy now. The fight against Whittaker would be the best that the UFC could put on at this point in 185-pounds division on a few different levels.
GSP and Whittaker have a lot in common. Starting with the most obvious, they both used to fight at welterweight. Which means that neither fighter will have a massive size advantage. This brings the match up nearly even as far as physicality is concerned.
Then comes the match up itself. St-Pierre and Whittaker both represent the very definition of being ‘well-rounded’. Whittaker, although not an offensive wrestler, proved that his defensive wrestling was second to none in his fight against Romero, a former Olympic wrestler. And while GSP is not necessarily the best wrestler in pure wrestling, his ability to wrestle in MMA is phenomenal due to his timing and fight IQ, which makes this fight even more intriguing to find out whether Whittaker can defend GSP’s takedown attempts.
This fight also represents the UFC an opportunity to see a birth of a superstar. Whittaker, while not a huge talker, is a very marketable fighter especially over in Australia and New Zealand. If he is able to defeat GSP, who’s arguably the biggest draw in the history of the company, it would boost Whittaker’s popularity up an extraordinary amount. And being only 26 years old, Whittaker has the tools and potential to be a dominant champion, much like St-Pierre in his “prime”.
Booking this fight would also clear up the confusing state of the middleweight division. With Bisping’s reign as the champion coming to an end, some hope was born for other contenders in the division. Fighters like Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, Yoel Romero, Jacare Souza were having an extremely hard time getting a hold of Michael Bisping during his reign, and with a new champion now and possible unification of the belts soon, the contenders will have a goal to work for again.
The fight is one of the best fights that UFC could put on for the fans right now and one that can happen as early as February of 2018, which is when the UFC returns to Australia with a PPV. If it can come to fruition, then it will easily be one of the best fights of the year and one that all the fans can count the days down to.
UFC 217: Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Rose Namajunas Preview
UFC 217 is hoping to explode Madison Square Garden with a stacked card featuring three title fights.
One of the three title fights, is a bout between women’s strawweight champion, undefeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk (14-0-0) and rising star #4-ranked Rose Namajunas (7-3-0).
What we have here is a fight between an aggressive, clinical technician in Joanna, and an unpredictable, well rounded submission artist in Rose.
Joanna is regarded as (out of both male & female fighters) one of the best strikers in the UFC. Undefeated in both kickboxing & MMA with her calculated method of increasing the pace and volume as the rounds go by until what looked like a fight starts to look close to assault & battery.
With Vegas odds having Joanna as -600 to Rose’s +400 there is no secret that Joanna is highly favoured to win. One can get a clearer picture to why this is by looking at some of her records..
- Has never lost a professional MMA fight
- Most sig. strikes landed in a UFC Title Fight
- 2nd most sig. strikes landed in a UFC fight
- Most legs kicks landed in a UFC fight
- – List Info pulled from MMAJunkie –
Rose began her UFC career since the weight classes’ inception into the ranks, in the TUF house. Winning all her fights by stoppage, but coming up short against Carla Esparza for the inaugural women’s strawweight championship. Rose went back to the drawing board to reset, improve and come back stronger.
Rose has fought a high level striker from Poland before in Karolina Kowalkiewicz, and lost via split decision on her way to the title. True to Rose’s form however, she came back better, smarter and more dangerous, securing a win over touted UFC prospect Michelle Waterson. Dispatching “The Karate Hottie” with a perfectly timed high kick that she finished off with a rear naked choke in round two.
Rose’s perseverance, will and ability to overcome her career misfortunes & failures as well as personal problems at home, has granted her nothing but success. Her grit & drive is on display every time she fights. Looking sharper, more refined, well rounded and dynamic, achieving the accolade of “Most submission wins in UFC women’s starwweight history.”
Joanna has shown to be beyond dominant and ahead of her competitors, time and time again. So far nobody has found a real weakness in her game or has been able to exploit one if they did. Out striking strikers, out grinding grinders and nullifying grapplers of all types. Yet she has never faced a fighter as well rounded & explosively creative as Rose, who is happy to strike and then throw a flying arm bar from standing, seemingly out of the blue. Uncertainty and on the fly creativity is hard to train for. So, though on paper the favour is for Joanna, the devil is in the details and the details are what make this fight so compelling!
If Rose beats Joanna, she achieves the dream she has sweat, cried and bled for over the past 4 years. It will catapult her to a very different echelon of fighter hierarchy, UFC fame and financial security. She will also have beaten one of only two current UFC Champions who are undefeated in their MMA Career in “JJ”. (Cody Garbrandt, who will fight on the same card in the following match up against TJ Dillashaw, is the other).
If Joanna wins, she will tie Ronda Rousey’s record of most title defenses in women’s UFC History. She will have effectively “cleaned out” the division and from there the she can chose to break Ronda’s record, or go up to the new 125-pound division for a super fight.
A lot to lose, a lot to gain, two super elite competitors, two fighters who are known for giving spectacular performances at a high level, to the bitter end. Despite neither fighter reaching 5″7, & only 115lbs, make no mistake, this fight is Monumentally HUGE! Regardless of the outcome, expect to be entertained.
Khabib vs Barboza UFC 219 breakdown
Khabib vs Barboza has been made official for UFC 219 and it promises to be an absolute cracker, so in this article, I’m going to give a full breakdown of this fantastic fight.
UFC 219 just got a whole lot better with the addition of Khabib vs Barboza to the main card, Khabib will be hungry to grab a victory in his first fight since his submission win over Michael Johnson at UFC 205.
However, UFC fans will be crossing their fingers and hoping that the fight does happen as Khabib has been scheduled to fight in the main event, back in April 2016, but his opponent Ferguson had to pull out of their scheduled main event because doctors had found fluid and blood in his lungs. Khabib also pulled out of there fight at UFC 209 because he was hospitalized trying to cut weight for there highly anticipated bout, which played down his chances at him getting a title shot against McGregor. This fight is a chance for him to once again prove himself to get that title shot. Hopefully, we do not see a repeat of these past scheduled fights for Khabib and hopefully, we can see him back in the octagon for UFC 219.
Now onto Barboza, who is an explosive and aggressive fighter, his last three fights have resulted in three wins for the Brazilian who won his last fight by TKO/KO with his latest loss coming from Ferguson by way of submission at the Ultimate Fighter Finale, back in 2015.
This Brazilian fighter prefers to stand and trade with his opponents and usually outclasses his opponents on the feet, however, most of Barboza’s losses have come by submission, one of those opponents being Michael Johnson (who Khabib beat by submission) so Barboza may want to work on his submission defence and ground game altogether because Khabib is a very dominant fighter who can control the fight and has a strong ground game so he will be looking to take Barboza to the ground.
Barboza needs to try to take control of the fight away from Khabib and keep it stood up to try and outclass Khabib, which will make for a very Interesting bout on December the 30th and many will be tuning in to see how it turns out.
I believe Khabib will walk with the victory over Barboza at UFC 219 in a fight which promises to be exciting and aggressive throughout.
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