Friday, October 14th, Tajikistani bantamweight prospect Muin Gafurov will be in action for LFA, where he will be looking continue his winning ways against Diego Silva. He will be looking for another win, as Gafurov looks to defend his bantamweight title and inch closer to a contract with the UFC. He represents Kaizen MMA, a lesser-known camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”
Submission Wrestling: Gafurov has a combat sambo background, which is the closest thing to MMA when it comes a “martial arts” background. Sambo incorporates a lot of wrestling, submissions and ground-and-pound, which is often seen in Gafurov’s fights. He closes the distance and shoots to get a hold of his opponent. With proficiency, he’s able to get them down and get to work. He has seven submissions, with his two favorite techniques being the guillotine choke and armbar. He also has a ton of ground-and-pound TKOs, showing his effect from the top position.
Power Striking: Gafurov is a very powerful guy for a 135-pound fighter. He has one punch KO power, as seen in his most recent fight for the LFA title with Herbeth Sousa where he cracked the Brazilian with a massive overhand right. Also, under ONE Championship, he one-punch KO’d Leandro Issa in an impressive finish. He’s not going to be confused with Anderson Silva in terms of his technical prowess, but he does have skills on the feet…
Extended Striking Battles: When Gafurov fights against a striker that is able to defend takedowns, which extends the striking portion of the fight, he tends to fall behind. Gafurov has proven to have solid striking, but when taking on primary strikers such as John Lineker, Kevin Belingon and Reece McLaren, he fell behind on volume and effectiveness, falling to those fighters on the scorecards.
Off his Back: While Gafurov is very good on top and can outwrestle many he fights, when he is put on his back, he struggles. That was seen in his Contender Series bout with Chad Anheliger, his most recent loss.
UFC Prelim Fighter: Gafurov is certainly talented and I expect him to be on the UFC roster. However, given his time in One Championship and his results when he steps up in competition, it’s hard to see him cracking the top-25, especially in the UFC’s ultra-competitive 135-pound division. Also, given how he was outpointed by Chad Anheliger on the Contender Series, it’s even harder to see Gafurov making a major run in the UFC. That said, his most recent win over Herbeth Sousa was very impressive and a big win for him. We will see if he can build on it here against an experienced opponent in Silva.