Friday, August 30th, Russian lightweight prospect Roman Bogatov will be in action for M-1 Challenge, where he will be looking to defend his title against Mickael Lebout. He will be looking to score yet another win, as Bogatov looks to potentially get closer to a UFC contract. He represents Fighter Gym, a little-known camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Rounded Ground Game: Like many of the fighters we see Russia churning out in mass, Bogatov is a strong wrestler with a disciplined but devastating ground game. Bogatov is very good at gauging distance on the feet and shooting takedowns. He’ll also sit back and counter an opponents striking with a powerful takedown. On the mat, he is very difficult to get from under. He is heavy and very tactical with his positioning. He moves to position of dominance with ease, using ground-and-pound and transitions. He then looks for openings to use his outstanding submission repertoire, where he finishes the fight with a tapout. His weapon of choice thus far has been the arm-triangle choke. Don’t let this guy get on top of you.
Big Show Ready: All his skills considered, Bogatov’s big advantage at this point is he is ready for his shot at the next level. He has fought for high-level regional promotions such as Fight Nights Global and M-1 Challenge, the latter of whom he became champion in (and currently still is). Not only has he been successful in these big shows, but he’s won all of his fights, many of which were against talented, experienced fighters. In fact, the combined record of his last three opponents was 60-17-1 at the time of their meeting. A lot of the prospects I cover in this weekly series have potential down the road and may not be read for the shark tank yet…Bogatov is ready now.
Tactical Striking: Bogatov is not a bad striker; he’s actually quite capable. However, he can sometimes get reckless on the feet and over telegraph his desire to shoot. Because he’s so confident in his abilities on the mat, he will be overly aggressive in moving forward with strikes. He will throw spinning kicks, jumping knees and other techniques because he doesn’t fear getting taken down. However, that doesn’t account for a good counter striker being patient and landing on an ambitious Bogatov. Also, sometimes he could set up his takedowns with strikes better. He will telegraph that he wants to shoot and not let it flow from his striking. Against UFC-level guys, that will not be as easy to shoot without set up. His wrestling is good enough without it, but imagine the dominance when he puts it together with superior set up strikes.
Top-25 LW: Bogatov, as mentioned, is UFC ready. He can further prove that point in defending his M-1 Challenge title against UFC veteran Mickael Lebout, who is no pushover. Lebout spent three fights in the UFC and was competitive. If Bogatov scores the win, as MMAintel predicts, he will prove his UFC readiness even more. In fact, I’d put him in the middle of the pack of the UFC lightweight division right now. This guy has a chance to spend a good chunk of his career with the UFC and find success, even scoring fights with top guys. Plus, he’s still young, so he has a high ceiling going forward.