Tuesday, August 31st, Russian light heavyweight prospect Azamat Murzakanov will be in action for Dana White’s Contender Series, where he will be looking to stay undefeated against Matheus Scheffel. He will be looking for another win, as Murzakanov looks to score a contract with the UFC. He represents K-Dojo Warrior Tribe, an underrated camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Power Striking: Murzakanov’s on-the-feet ability is what makes him most feared when the cage door closes. He has seven knockout wins in the first round, showing he gets started quickly and doesn’t need much time to close the book on his fights. Three of those fights saw him score knockouts in under one minute. He has excellent boxing skills, which is what he most utilizes in his fights. He has great hand speed and his combinations are dazzling. His most impressive win came in 2016, when he absolutely decimated now-UFC contender Andre Muniz with a 50-second, one-punch KO. With that kind of power and precision, he will be a handful for any fighter to deal with.
Offensive Grappling: Like most Russians, Murzakanov’s offensive wrestling and top-game grappling are impressive. When he’s within shooting range, he is able to get in quickly and secure the takedown. While he doesn’t wrestle as much as one would expect, because his striking is so dangerous, it’s more unexpected when he tries to engage in a mat war. However, he has it in his back pocket, which makes him more dangerous. He also has the submission skills, if necessary. Just because he only has one finish by tapout does not mean he’s not more than capable of securing a hold and finishing the bout on the mat.
Inconsistency in Schedule: Murzakanov missed two-plus years in this sport and that can never be a great thing when it comes to moving up in the fight game. His return came in a one-night tournament for Brave CF, where he outlasted UFC vet Guto Inocente before blasting through Mohammad Fakhreddine to win that tournament. He shook off the ring rust quickly and got to work. However, is that lost time going to affect him down the road? And the other question is, what happens when he faces a world-class wrestler, which the UFC is home to? We will find out in short time, as I expect Murzakanov to work early and often in the aftermath of his most recent 2019 bouts.
UFC Midcarder: Murzakanov had his shot in the UFC several years ago; that shot was squandered having to due with reasons that don’t involve his talents. Who could guess where he’d be today had he made his UFC debut when he was originally signed. Since his return to the sport, he’s been a man on fire. He’s scored two impressive wins over notable opponents and shown even more improvements from his already impressive arsenal. Now he’s on the stage to earn a contract with the UFC straight up; a main event in the world’s premiere job interview with the UFC. It won’t be easy against a veteran like Scheffel, but Murzakanov has the tools and grit to get it done.