Saturday, April 11th, Russian middleweight prospect Vladimir Mineev will be in action for Fight Nights Global, where he will be fighting opposite Dauren Ermekov. He will be looking to continue his current winning streak, as Mineev looks to get closer to an eventual UFC contract. He represents Fight Nights Team, a respected camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Kickboxing: Mineev has had an extensive professional kickboxing background, and it shows when you watch any of his fights. The Russian striker lost only a couple times as pro kickboxer, and his striking hame has translated well to the pro mixed martial arts arena. Mineev throws a lot of effective outside kicks, especially to the legs and body. He has a good stiff jab that he uses to gauge distance and pepper opponents. He has good technical ability, but is also powerful upon connection. Most of his MMA wins come by way of knockout, many of which come in the first round. Obviously, he’s a quick starter. He comes out of the blocks throwing and looks for damage early. His biggest knockout wins come over UFC vet Maiquel Falcao, which avenged an earlier decision loss, and fellow middleweight prospect Andreas Michailidis.
Offensive Submission Grappling: Mineev is a solid grappler for a guy with an extensive striking backgroud, as long as he’s on top (more on that later). Mineev is deceptive in that he does have offensive submission capabilities. He’s won a couple of fights via choke, which may have come as a shock at the time given his reputation for banging on the feet. When he’s able to get on top if the fight does hit the mat, he’s good at scoring damage with ground-and-pound and fishing for a choke. He’s not going to be confused with Khabib Nurmagomedov or a Gracie family member on the ground anytime soon, but he’s certainly got some skills.
Untested Against Top-Level Wrestler: For the most part, Mineev has competed against strikers and BJJ guys. Rarely has he taken on an opponent with top-notch wrestling, and that leaves us with some question marks, especially as he approaches moving into a top MMA organization like the UFC. I would say the best wrestler he’s fought at this point is Magomed Ismailov, whom Mineev fought to a draw with in 2018. Sure, Mineev has fought tough opposition, but nobody who is really a threat to shoot early and often to above average success like a wrestling All-American or Olympic level grappler. That needs to be seen before we can really peg Mineev with a definitive outlook on his career.
UFC Midcarder: Mineev’s striking is good enough to have him fighting at the highest level. Sure, we have some concerns about a potential showdown with a top-notch wrestler, but there is evidence that Mineev can compete in the UFC. Right now, I would peg Mineev as a guy who wins the fights he needs to win and struggles against guys that will push him against the fence and possibly grind on him from top position. Perhaps I am wrong. Perhaps Mineev has a stout takedown defense and will light up a wrestler that has problems working the takedown in unison with limited striking. That is yet to be seen. All I know is that if Mineev scores another win here, especially in impressive fashion, he should be on the fast track to join the UFC roster.