The Russian featherweight known as ‘ZaBeast’ has looked unbeatable so far in his UFC run, and Zabit Magomedsharipov may very well be fighting for gold in 2020.
Since making his UFC debut in 2017, Zabit Magomedsharipov has been one of the most decorated prospects in featherweight division. He arrived in the company with plenty of hype behind him thanks to a strong run in Russian promotion ACB, where he was featherweight champion. He backed that hype up by delivering two straight submissions in his debut year in the UFC, winning Performance of the Night bonuses both times.
Entering 2019, ‘ZaBeast’ had a considerable momentum behind him. He was 4-0 in the UFC, out of which he had three finishes by submission. Undefeated since 2013, it was now time to put him against the stalwarts of the division.
His first challenge was knockout artist Jeremy Stephens. Magomedsharipov delivered a strong performance and secured a unanimous verdict in his favor in that clash.
This weekend at UFC Moscow was the Russian’s test to enter the exclusive list of featherweight title contenders. He faced off against fellow title-shot hopeful Calvin Kattar. The fight was a high-profile face-off for featherweight division, as the winner was most probably going to get a title-eliminator. The fight saw Magomedsharipov walk out victorious. The win was his sixth in the UFC and extended his winning streak to fourteen.
With this win Zabit instills that all hype around him is real. He is a force to be reckoned with and is here to stay. Which means he us now going to get more serious fighters calling him out. In fact, Zabit himself called out Holloway after the fight. Though its very likely he won’t get it, but he really isn’t very far from the longtime champ.
What should be looked out for is that Zabit hasn’t yet had a five-round fight. This is especially concerning in his case against Katter, he looked a bit tired in the third, a round which most scored against him. Stamina isn’t always the biggest factor in fighting, if you can finish early, but to win a title fight against someone as tough as Holloway, it will be one of many requirements.
With the title going up for defense this December at UFC 245, it could be possible that Holloway losses the belt, but that would definitely come as a surprise. In the meanwhile, Zabit can lock horns against a former rival and fellow contender, Yair Rodriguez. The two have a history and are young contenders gaining popularity. If not Yair, Zabit can take on the winner of Brian Ortega-Chan Sung Jung. If the UFC feels generous they might even end up giving him a title shot, given the dry state of featherweight division.
Overall, Zabit Magomedsharipov has announced his arrival at the top of the weight class, and is moving towards a title at a great speed. Barring any speed bumps in his next fight, assuming it’s not for a title, he should be fighting for gold sometime in 2020.