Prospect in the Spotlight (Apr 30-May 1): Nikolay Aleksakhin

Introduction

Thursday, April 29th, Russian welterweight prospect Nikolay Aleksakhin will be in action for PFL, where he will be looking to continue his winning ways against fellow veteran Sadibou Sy. He will be looking for another win, as Aleksakhin looks to kick off the 2021 PFL season in an attempt to score a $1 million payday. He represents Alexander Nevsky Team, a solid camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”

Strengths

Kickboxing: When it comes to striking, Aleksakhin is not only exciting and talented, but extremely violent and aggressive. He has good fundamentals, as he uses his jab effectively and throws heavy leg kicks. He uses those from the outside to read his opponent and bait them into eating his counters. He has wicked power on everything he throws, including his counters off his back foot. When he’s on the chase, though, is when he’s at his nastiest. He has solid knees and elbows, however it’s his traditional power punches and kicks that are his most dangerous weapons. Aleksakhin is a head hunter that combines power and technical ability to outclass his opponents on the feet. Be on the lookout for his pleasing striking style throughout the 2021 PFL season.

Quality Experience: If there’s one thing you can say about Aleksakhin’s experience in the cage, it’s that it has not been an easy road. He has fought very quality opponents. In addition to competing with former world champion Ben Askren (in a losing effort), Aleksakhin has wins over UFC veterans such as Jesse Ronson, Jonavin Webb, Elias Silverio, Dominique Steele and Mike Graves, showing he can beat major-league talent. Of those UFC vets, he has knockout out Ronson, Steele and Graves with his outstanding on-the-feet prowess. We have a better gauge on Aleksakhin’s talent because he hasn’t been a can crusher like some prospects that make their way up in overseas promotions.

Needs Improvement

Counter Submission Wrestling: The biggest hole in Aleksakhin’s game is clearly his counter wrestling and submission defense against opponents able to get him tot he ground. Early in his career, Aleksakhin suffered three submission losses in his first 15 fights when guys were able to ground him. His two most recent losses, to the aforementioned Askren and Saygid Izagakhmaev, were a result of Aleksakhin’s opponents outwrestling him and controlling him once they get him to the mat. Obviously, Askren is a world-class wrestler and Izagakhmaev is a strong grappler in his own right, but they have shown the blue print to exploiting the dangerous Aleksakhin in the cage.

Outlook

PFL Playoff Participant/UFC Midcarder: Aleksakhin is certainly an impressive fighter, but he’s got a lot to prove in a crowded, talented 2021 welterweight class for PFL. He has the type of style that the fans love, as he’s violent and impressive on the feet. However, until he closes the holes on his counter-wrestling, he will struggle to really get to the top of the mountain. PFL has their fair share of guys who will challenge him in the wrestling, from Magomed Magomedkerimov to Rory MacDonald. Aleksakhin should make the playoffs, and could be a finalist, but if he runs into a wrestling-heavy opponent, he will struggle. If he does make it to the UFC, he’ll be a guy who enjoys a solid tenure, but has the same problem with a wrestling-heavy division.

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