It’s Christmastime in a pandemic, so there’s even less MMA action that usual this time of year. That said, there are still a few events going down, mostly overseas. If your drunken uncle is already a few glasses into the eggnog on the holiday Skype session, here’s who to keep an eye on the side prospect-wise this week.
AMC Fight Nights Global | Thursday | Russia
Welterweight, Nurullo Aliev (4-0)
Aliev isn’t the most exciting MMA fighter but he is a dominant one. With not much on the feet, Aliev is an excellent wrestler. He’s always pressing forward looking to time his entrances. Once on top, Aliev has heavy top control and active ground and pound and solid grappling. He’s not really a finisher but has a solid gas tank to easily go three rounds. He fights Aleksandr Grebnev (5-2).
Heavyweight, Vyacheslav Ryabov (5-0)
Ryabov is an unknown heavyweight out of Russia. Heavyweights are thin outside the big promotions so Ryabov has stood out. He fits the mold of a heavyweight having big knockout power. Ryabov also has done some boxing so his hands are his main focus. Still, he needs more exposure and needs a step up in competition. He fights Alireza Safara (0-0).
Light heavyweight, Bogdan Guskov (10-1)
For the first time making my list, Guskov looks good. Guskov is a very dangerous guy with a lot of power. He throws knees, hooks, kicks, and throws something different every time he throws. He also has lights out power and a nasty counter game. His looping right hook may be his best weapon but his ability to mix it up makes him dangerous. Guskov even has wrestling in his back pocket but it’s hard to tell the level that’s on. He fights Vyacheslav Vasilevskiy (33-8).
ONE Championship | Friday | Singapore
Middleweight, Edson Marques (9-0)
Marques is solely a striker who has two finishes by one-punch knockout. Marques is very technical as he picks his shots very accurately. He will sit on the outside and use effective leg kicks and long punches and does an excellent job circling out with good footwork. He fights Raimond Magomedaliev (6-1) at Collision Course II.
NFC 27 | Friday | Kazakhstan
Flyweight, Asu Almabaev (11-2)
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. He fights Almanbet Abdyvasy Uulu (9-3).
AMC Fight Nights Global | Friday | Russia
Featherweight, Timur Khizriev (9-0)
Khizriev was a bit unheard of until he beat Bibert Tumenov who is a highly regarded prospect. On the feet, the Russian is a sneaky fighter throwing looping uppercuts, big overhands, and a front kick which he has finished with before. Khizriev has excellent endurance going three rounds no problem. He can be a grinder staying in his opponent’s face and constantly shooting for takedowns. He fights Alexander Belikh (9-3).