Prospect in the Spotlight (Feb 24-25): Oleg Popov


Saturday, February 25th, Russian heavyweight prospect Oleg Popov will be in action for Bellator, where he will be looking continue his winning ways against Gokhan Saricam. He will be looking for another win, as Popov looks to make an impression in his debu with Bellator. He represents The Forge, a lesser-known camp in MMA. Let’s take a closer look at this prospect as this week’s “Prospect Spotlight.”


Power Striking: On the feet, Popov is a nightmare with extremely heavy hands and kicks. Over half of his wins come by way of knockout, including win over UFC veteran Antonio Silva. He moves well for a guy his size and cuts good angles. Of course, he has one-punch stopping power and heavy kicks, especially his low kicks. Also, if he gets on top, he has devastating ground-and-pound.

Submissions: In addition to his power striking, Popov also has a solid ground game. He has some good offensive wrestling. Once he gets his opponent down, he has some underrated submissions. He even has two wins by way of triangle choke, showing he can fight off his back as well. You won’t see his submissions as often as his on-the-feet striking, but that doesn’t mean he can’t grapple a bit.

Needs Improvement

Cardio: While Popov has solid cardio for a heavyweight, it is something he can improve on. He’s very well-rounded and dangerous, but as the fight wears on, he can clearly slow down a bit. That’s really the only thing that can be improved upon.


Bellator Title Challenger: I think Popov is definitely going to be a guy that challenges for the heavyweight championship in Bellator. He’s clearly one of the best heavyweight prospects in the world right now. He has a tough task in his Bellator debut when he takes on the aforementioned Saricam, who will give him a fight. If Popov passes that test, he should be on the short track to earn himself a title shot within a couple fights.

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