Welcome to the UFC: Abubakar Nurmagomedov

Abubakar Nurmagomedov PFL
Abubakar Nurmagomedov (right) Credit: PFL

Abubakar Nurmagomedov, cousin of UFC lightweight champion Khabib, makes his promotional debut this weekend at UFC Moscow.

The UFC is coming to Moscow, Russia on November 9 at the CSKA Arena. The Fight Night card is headlined by Russia’s own Zabit Magomedsharipov, who will take on Calvin Kattar. UFC Moscow is loaded with prospects, and the UFC will have two Russian newcomers this card. One of those is Abubakar Nurmagomedov, a PFL/WSOF alum, who will fight the Germany’s David Zawada (16-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC).

Makhachkala, Russia
Fightspirit Team
4 Submissions (Armbar, Kimura, Rear-Naked Choke, Triangle)

How will Nurmagomedov fare in the UFC:

Nurmagomedov is a solid prospect who has the potential to do very well in the UFC. While he does have a draw with Bojan Velickovic in his last fight, which doesn’t look good on paper, there’s an argument to be made that he actually won that PFL fight.

Nurmagomedov has a background in combat sambo and he’s shown to be well rounded in MMA. It’s no surprise that the Dagestanian is more comfortable on the mat. With that said he’s no slouch at all standing. Nurmagomedov throws a lot of volume and it comes with excellent combinations from different angles. He has a nice uppercut he throws at times to start his combos. Good at sticking to his fundamentals, he has a solid jab and will kick to maintain the pace.

Abubakar does a solid job staying mobile in fights, circling to the right and left, and switching stances frequently. When he attempts to close the distance for a takedown he masks it well. Nurmagomedov is a pro at striking his way into a takedown disguising his shots behind strikes. On top, at times he does need to be a bit more active but is always in control. Very Khabib-like, Abubakar will tie up an arm and let go with some constant ground and pound. He’s skilled in jiu-jitsu as well, though it doesn’t necessarily show on his record with only three submissions wins. Being so heavy on top he’s content on riding out any position and landing punches. If his opponent does attempt to create space Nurmagomedov can very easily take the back. Overall, he’s a legit prospect who has a shot at being ranked in short order. Prediction: Ranked in the top 15 by the end of 2020.

Striking: B-
Kickboxing: C
Clinch: B-
Wrestling: A+
Grappling: A
Striking Defense: C
Takedown Defense: C+
Cardio: C+
Biggest Strength: Wrestling
Biggest Weakness: Can be conservative

How Nurmagomedov matches up with Zawada:

In all honesty, Zawada is a setup fight for Nurmagomedov. The two losses in the UFC career of Zawada are to Danny Roberts and Jignliang Li, and he did well against both. On the feet, Zawada has the power advantage and throws more output but Nurmagomedov is a better technical fighter, not being as wild as Zawada is. The biggest advantage for anyone in this fight is the superior wrestling of Nurmagomedov. Zawada doesn’t have bad takedown defense, but has been taken down by lesser guys. The German also has issues off his back, which gives us confidence in saying that once Nurmagomedov gets on top, he’s staying. The pick is Nurmagomedov but don’t bet on him at -280.


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