During this MMA hiatus, we’ve taken to scouting globe and selecting five top prospects from each major player in the sport, in terms of countries. This time out we’ll be taking a look at Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan has just recently started producing top talent. Today some of the bigger names include Shavkat Rakhmonov, Zhalgas Zhumagulov, Mariya Agapova, and Kairat Akhmetov.
Light heavyweight, Asylzhan Bakhytzhanuly (11-1-1)
Asylzhan Bakhytzhanuly is a finisher, only going to the distance twice. All nine of the fights he’s finished, he’s been able to seal the deal by KO/TKO. On the feet, “Sak” is a very dangerous athlete with a lot of power in his hands and his kicks. He does a fine job at slipping punches and countering with a sick right hand. Good wrestling is also something that Bakhytzhanuly shows. He doesn’t have much to offer when it comes to being a submission threat but on top landing big elbows, he does very well.
Flyweight, Asu Almabaev (11-2)
Asu Almabaev is the current M-1 Interim Flyweight Champion. To win the title he beat a very good opponent in Chris Kelades who is a former UFC fighter. Almabaev has a background in freestyle wrestling, was a national champion in jiu-jitsu, and has a BJJ world cup. He’s on a current six-fight win streak taking out fairly decent competition. On the feet Asu is quick, he has good fast hands, and he throws a lot of volume with combinations. His takedown defense is his glaring weakness but his good BJJ bails him out of bad positions. He’s mostly well-rounded and with proven cardio, he’s a solid fighter.
Flyweight, Ruslan Sariev (12-0)
Ruslan Sariev is still so young being only 23-years-old, so he’s expected to still be a little raw. He does have decent wrestling and has three submission wins. He’s still improving on the mat but still possesses sound jiu-jitsu to fall back on. Sariev is much better on the feet. He does need to improve his head movement but has shown the ability to take a good shot. Sariev excels at range landing long punches while mixing in kicks. He’s good at mixing it up going to the head, body, and legs of his opponents.
Bantamweight, Sergey Morozov (16-3)
In 2018, Sergey Morozov suffered his last loss, to UFC fighter Movsar Evloev. Losing out on capturing the M-1 Challenge title in the process. Since that setback, Morozov has won his next five fights. During that run, he was able to capture the M-1 Challenge bantamweight title which had eluded him in the past. He’s probably the best prospect out of Kazakhstan and his performances the past two years speaks for themselves.
Flyweight, Arman Ashimov (11-3-1)
Arman Ashimov is another M-1 Challenge flyweight fighter that is surging in the promotion. He’s another one that failed at his opportunity to capture M-1 gold in the past but seems to be close to challenging once again. Ashimov does have a submission win but is a striker first and foremost. He’s a good counter striker and a good volume guy who really just has wonderful hands. Ashimov is a sniper especially with his right hand where he has the power to shut the lights out with one punch.