Welcome to the UFC: Grigory Popov

UFC 238 Grigory Popov

The only fighter who is scheduled to make their promotional debut at UFC 238 (as of now) is Russian bantamweight Grigory Popov, who will face Eddie Wineland.

The UFC is coming to Chicago, Illinois, on June 8 for UFC 238 in the United Center. At the top of the card are two title fights. With the card set in stone, the only debut would be recent signing Grigory Popov. He is set to take on Eddie Wineland (23-13-1 MMA, 5-7 UFC).

Yakutsk, Russia
Tiger Muay Thai & MMA
3 Submissions (2 Gogaplata, Rear-Naked Choke)

How Does Grigory Popov Fare in the UFC:

Grigory Popov is a Muay Thai practitioner who trains out of the prestigious gym in Thailand, Tiger Muay Thai & MMA. He wants to keep the fight standing to utilize his stinging low calf leg kicks and sniping speed. More often using a traditional style, Popov will pick his shots other than being overly aggressive. You will see him throw a spinning back fist/elbow and a jumping switch front kick and similar moves rarely but it’s set up well and precision is key.

Popov has taken opponents down but usually when he’s on the mat, it’s with his back to the canvas. He has some holes in his takedown defense which I think will be exploited in the UFC. Popov does have three submissions including two rare gogoplatas, but for the most part, he struggles off his back. The biggest knock on Popov is that he’s 35 already. He didn’t start MMA though until he was about 28 so he doesn’t have the “MMA mileage” on him. Another thing is he hasn’t fought solid competition as in 14 wins only two of them had over five fights.

How he Matches Up with Eddie Wineland:

Wineland at 34 is actually younger than Popov but has a lot of mileage in his career with 37 pro bouts. The best chance for Popov to win is to knock Eddie out, but in the last 14 years, Eddie has only lost by KO/TKO twice. A prime Eddie Wineland I believe takes this fight easy, but if you look at his last five fights he hasn’t taken any damage. Popov isn’t going outpoint Eddie as the striking advantage easily goes to the veteran in Wineland. Popov could catch Eddie, but Eddie is faster, more technical, and hits harder. I don’t expect this fight to go to the mat but if so it will be Wineland on top.

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