Prospect in the Spotlight (Jan 31-Feb 1): Alexander Keshtov

Introduction

Saturday, February 1st, Russian bantamweight prospect Alexander Keshtov will be in action for CFFC, where he will be looking to defend his gold against Herbeth Sousa. He will be looking to continue his undefeated streak, as Keshtov looks to impress the UFC brass in an attempt to earn a contract. He represents K-Dojo Warrior Tribe, a respected camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Kickboxing: I am a big fan of Keshtov’s striking acumen, which makes him such a fun fighter to watch. He has excellent kickboxing ability. He’s very technically sound, using good footwork and feints on the feet. Those feints set up big shots. He has a very good striking variety as well. His punches are stiff, he has brutal kicking ability and strong knees from in close. Four of his wins come via knockout, including a spinning heel kick, a round kick and knees from the clinch. Not only that, but for a bantamweight, Keshtov has very good power and does a lot of damage.

Well-Rounded: There are not many holes in the game of Keshtov. Not only is Keshtov a top striker, but he’s a good grappler as well. In terms of wrestling, he’s very good offensively and defensively. He can shoot on you and also has good enough hips to shuck off attempts. And even though Keshtov only has one submission, he is well-versed in the art of the tapout. He’s a very dominant fighter overall. Lastly, he’s a very tough man physically. He can take punishment when it comes his way and has no problem taking a shot to hand one out.

Needs Improvement

Inactivity/Age: There isn’t much about Keshtov’s game to critique, quite frankly. However, the lack of activity in recent times for Keshtov has been a problem. Since 2016, he’s fought just three times. That includes zero fights in 2019, which is why he hasn’t made his way to the UFC yet. He’s also 32 years old, which isn’t super old, but with just nine total fights and out of the 20s, the window is closing faster for him than many other prospects in this weekly series. As he approaches 35, he will be passed over more and more for younger guys the UFC can build up.

Outlook:

UFC Midcarder: Keshtov needs to get active quickly; otherwise, the UFC will not be calling anytime soon. I know he struggles finding opponents, but that inactivity as it may be, as well as injuries, kind of hurt Keshtov’s stock a little bit. The plus side is that he’s undefeated and a CFFC Champion, which greatly helps his stock. With the lack of holes in his game, his highlight reel finishes and overall skills, he would fit well in the UFC bantamweight division. He would be in the top half of the division, no doubt.

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