Saturday, September 26th, Russian welterweight prospect Mukhamed Berkhamov will be in action Bellator Milan, where he will be looking to continue his winning streak against John Palailogos. He will be looking for another win, as Berkhamov looks to impress the Bellator brass in his debut with the company. He represents Alligator FT, a smaller camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Submission Grappling: Berkhamov is typical of many Russian fighters in that his submission game and wrestling are very good. For Berkhamov, it’s outstanding. He’s a powerful guy, and when you combine that with his aggressive nature, it tends to make for impressive takedowns, trips and slams. If he gets a hold of your body and connects his hands, there’s no doubt you are going down. Once Berkhamov gets you to the ground, he’s not content to play the position game. He looks to finish fights. He will throw ground-and-pound, but most of the time it’s used to soften up opponents and look for submissions. Nine of his 14 pro wins have come by submission. He likes to utilize the armbar, but it’s his chokes that are the most impressive. If he grabs your neck from most angles, he’s gonna finish you. An anaconda choke, D’arce choke and brabo choke are testimant to that.
Power Finisher: Anywhere Berkhamov fights, he finishes. The guy is well-rounded, aggressive and physical, which is what makes him even more dangerous. That’s why I call him a power finisher. First off, he finishes things quickly. He comes out of the opening bell firing. Eight of his 14 wins have come in the first round. He doesn’t waste time. He will either get one of his technical, accurate strikes on you and finish you that way, or he will grab you, throw you and dominate you on the mat until the ref sees fit to end the bout. Not only has Berkhamov beat very tough opposition, but he does it definitively.
Counter-Wrestling Against Top Wrestlers: While Berkhamov’s wrestling is good, much of his success is based on great timing and countering on an opponent moving in. What gives me a small bit of worry is that as he moves into the big leagues, the wrestling takes a step up and could be a test on him. We could see him scoring less takedowns and spending more time on his back, potentially. His only loss came to Marif Piraev, a guy who could rival his wrestling. That said, that was early in his pro career and Berkhamov has clearly grown since then. Berkhamov’s venture in Bellator could certainly show this “weakness” to be of my imagination.
Bellator Title Challenger: The mountain is high to climb to get to the Bellator championship, but Berkhamov is more than capable of doing so. Getting past Douglas Lima is another story. Berkhamov is more than skilled enough to chop his way through the welterweight shark tank. He’s well-rounded and it will be difficult for opposition to exploit a weakness. Not only that, but his ability to start fast and score finishes mean that opponents will have to weather the early storm and show off top-notch toughness. Berkhamov will eventually get a Bellator title shot. He could surely best Lima, but that is a tough task. Time will tell, and at just 26 years old, Berkhamov’s best years are ahead of him.