Prospect in the Spotlight (Nov 29-30): Salamu Abdurakhmanov

Introduction

Friday, November 29th, Russian middleweight prospect Salamu Abdurakhmanov will be in action for Absolute Championship Akhmat, where he will be looking to defend his 185-pound title against Valery Myasnikov. He will be looking for the victory, as Abdurakhmanov looks to inch closer to a potential UFC contract. He represents Berkut FC, a solid camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Submission Wrestling: As with many Russian fighters in MMA, especially fighters from Grozny, Abdurakhmanov is an excellent wrestler with good takedowns and strong-handed clinch. He closes the distance well and is able to impose his will on his opponents. He has powerful slams and heavy top position, making it difficult for his opponents to breathe and get up off their back. Once he gets opponents down, he opens them up with heavy ground-and-pound. From there, he’s able to peel through the defenses of his opponent and look for the fight-ending hold. He has very good positioning on the ground, which is why he’s able to secure chokes and force tapouts at a solid rate. His wrestling is so good, as well, that he can make fighters give up on the fight altogether.

Rugged/Durable: Abdurakhmanov is definitely a tough fighter that is no easy out when you step in the cage with him. He is able to take a good amount of damage while handing out his own. He has good cardio and keeps the pressure up from bell to bell. That aggression is why he’s successful in the cage. It lends well to the absolute grinding style that he has. That’s why he’s such a tough out for anybody.

Needs Improvement

Question Marks: There are two question marks lingering with Abdurakhmanov that I would like to be cleared up: his striking and a loss to Xavier Foupa-Pokam. In terms of striking, that is something that I think will be cleared up in this fight with Myasnikov. Myasnikov is a powerful, scary striker, so Abdurakhmanov, despite having striking finishes, can prove that he is at a high level in that regard. The second thing to be cleared up can’t be done directly. His loss to Foupa-Pokam is curious. He’s past his prime, isn’t exactly the greatest middleweight of all time and he finished Abdurakhmanov. Shamil has earned big wins since then, but that one loss is still lingering and makes me slightly apprehensive if he can break through at the highest levels of the UFC and select others.

Outlook

UFC Midcarder: Abdurakhmanov has a very tough fight ahead of him in Valery Myasnikov. If he gets by Myaskinov, especially in impressive fashion, that should be more than enough to get him a call from the UFC. He already has an impressive resume, scoring wins over UFC vet Delson Heleno, Bellator vet Brett Cooper and top Russian prospect Magomed Ismailov. In terms of his ceiling, Abdurakhmanov is definitely a guy that could last on the UFC roster. The middleweight division is loaded with top talent, so it would not be an easy fight up the ladder. However, if Omari Akhmedov could do it, I think Abdurakhmanov could do it himself, as I see him as a guy with a higher trajectory.

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