Saturday, March 16th, Iranian heavyweight prospect Amir Aliakbari will be in action in Russia, where he will be looking to continue his role of dominance when he takes on Dana White Contender Series veteran Shelton Graves. He will be looking to score yet another win, as Aliakbari looks to inch closer to a potential UFC contract. Aliakbari represents American Kickboxing Academy Phuket, Mike Swick’s crew that runs out of Thailand. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Wrestling: Amir Aliakbari is a world champion Greco-Roman wrestler, so it should be no shock that he dominates his fights with power grappling. He could have been in the Olympics, had it not been for a doping suspension. He has great power single and double leg takedowns, and when he’s not able to score there, he ragdolls opponents in the clinch. In the clinch, he controls his opponents and throws strong knees and elbows. When he does score the takedown, he is very heavy from top position and doesn’t let his opponent up. He is enamored with throwing heavy ground-and-pound, which is how he scores many of his wins.
Power: Aliakbari is a physical specimen with great physical strength. He is rarely outmuscled in fights. He has immense power in his strikes and can knock anybody out with one blow. Everything he throws is with deadly intentions. Also, he is very effective in close quarters, whether it’s the clinch or in top position. In those close quarters, he powerfully controls his opponent and tires them out from energy exertion trying to get Aliakbari off.
Striking Defense: Defensively, Aliakbari needs to make some touch ups to his striking defense. Obviously, his only loss comes to Mirko Cro Cop, who scored a knockout on Aliakbari. Yes, Cro Cop is an elite striker, but Aliakbari got careless when going on with combinations and left himself open for countershots. In watching his victory over Daniel Omielanczuk, I noticed that he does not check leg kicks, which would be key in his opponent shutting the Iranian beast’s takedown offense. Also, his hands can be low at times, which opens him up to taking damage on the chin. He works with AKA Thailand, so obviously he is addressing his striking.
Submission Offense: For a guy who is a world-class grappler, he does not have much evidence of submission offense. Granted, he loves smashing opponents with his ground-and-pound, so maybe he doesn’t need to. However, if he was more of a threat with submissions, he could possibly finish opponents more efficiently.
Top-10 UFC Heavyweight: Everyone knows the UFC is in constant need of heavyweights to maintain that thin division. Aliakbari, with his world class wrestling and constant improvements, could be a top-10 heavyweight within a couple years of being on the UFC roster. He’s only 31 years old right now and still getting better. If he closes the gaps in his game and continues to improve at the rate he is, he will be a star with the UFC. The UFC needs guys like Aliakbari and they should look to ink him as soon as possible.