Saturday, January 16th, Russian lightweight/welterweight prospect Eldar Eldarov will be in action for Brace CF, where he will be looking to score gold against Leonardo Mafra. He will be looking for another win, as Eldarov looks to possibly impress the UFC brass in an attempt to earn a contract. He represents KHK MMA, a little-known camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Wrestling: The most obvious strength of Eldarov’s game is his imposing wrestling ability, which we see on display in most of his fights. It makes sense, as he is one of the coaches at KHK MMA, and likely is putting on clinics at the gym for the rest of the fighters that train there. Physically, Eldarov is a scary man, and it’s not just cosmetic. The dude is strong as an ox. He shoots takedowns and scores them with seeming ease. He dominates from top position with absolute control and likes to grind on guys. He likes to sit in guard and throw vicious ground-and-pound, including hellacious elbows, as seen in his destruction of Henrique Gomes. He also has great submission, as most of his wins come by way of tapout. Don’t let Eldarov ground you, or you’re in for a rough time.
Boxing: Though he doesn’t throw a lot of kicks, Eldarov’s hands are very solid. He has one-punch KO power in his hands. He throws good straight punches and is especially fond of throwing the uppercut on opponent’s when they are coming in. He could throw more combos, but a lot of the times he is looking to either land the home run, which he is capable of, or use his hands to set up a takedown. Either way, his boxing is solid and is a good tool that he utilizes in the cage.
Strike Variety: Where Eldarov’s boxing is certainly good, his strike variety and some of his intangibles could be better. He could cut off the cage better and fight more off his toes, as he can get flat footed. In addition to that, he mostly fights with his hands and does not threaten much with his kicks or knees. Occasionally, he will throw out a leg kick or two, but does not go as much to the body or head. Mixing things up in the striking department, as well as adding in the little variables that aid striking, would make Eldarov an even more effective fighter.
Top-25 in the UFC: Eldarov’s only loss came back in 2009 when he was just a teenager to a guy by the name of Khabib Nurmagomedov. It was Eldarov’s second career pro fight. There is obviously no shame in that, and since that fight, he’s obviously become a different machine. This guy is a physical force with good, rounded skills and the toughness to boot. There is no reason he shouldn’t be in the UFC right now with how good he is. Obviously, he has not fought since 2019, and that may be what’s holding him back. If he’s able to get through Leonardo Mafra, a UFC vet, there is no doubt in my mind that this guy is ready for a matchup at the top half of either the lightweight or welterweight division, which ever he prefers. He’s a force to be reckoned with.