One down, two to go. Following last Saturday’s Holloway vs. Kattar card, the UFC is back on a Wednesday for UFC Fight Island 8. The middle of three Fight Island cards (the last being Saturday’s PPV) is headlined by welterweight contenders Neil Magny and Michael Chiesa. Also on the card are lots of up-and-comers and UFC debuts. Two of those debuting fighters will be facing each other in Umar Nurmagomedov and Sergey Morozov.
How Nurmagomedov will fare in the UFC:
If you look at the resume of Umar Nurmagomedov, you will see he’s Russian, his last name is Nurmagomedov, he has five submission wins, and a ground and pound stoppage. The indication is another wrestler coming out of Russia but that’s not the case. Umar is indeed a very good wrestler and a solid grappler but he’s more of a kickboxer. He’ll stand light on his feet throwing an array of different kicks. He’ll actively throw a question mark kick from his lead leg. Nurmagomedov will only throw in singles but will go to the legs, body, and head mixing up his attack. Not usually getting the fight down from his first shot, Umar has some good chain wrestling to get the fight to the mat. He’s good at leading the dance but when opponents try to rush in he changes levels to get the takedown.
Like his cousin Khabib, Umar has superb positional ground and pound. What Umar will do is tie up an arm/wrists of his opponent freeing up some ground and pound, which he can now land much easier. He’s not someone to pursue the finish as he’s more about control but if the neck is there he will snatch it. He’s still quite young and will be a major threat in the coming years.
- Striking: B
- Kickboxing: A
- Clinch: B
- Wrestling: B
- Grappling: B
- Striking Defense: B+
- Takedown Defense: B+
- Cardio: A
- Biggest Strength: Being well-rounded
- Biggest Weakness: Coasting
How Morozov will fare in the UFC:
Morozov isn’t exactly great anywhere but he’s a well-rounded fighter. On the feet, Morozov is quick, he throws a good right hand, a nice straight left jab, and a textbook liver kick. Morozov is a fine counter-puncher catching multiple opponents who have carelessly thrown a lazy kick — which is when you’ll find Morozov coming over the top with the right hand. He’s a better wrestler who times his takedowns well and has a strong body lock he uses to muscle his foes down. Morozov has excellent ground and pound, that probably being his best weapon. He has really good control on the mat and is an exceptional grappler. His chin is suspect and his cardio could be better. Morozov will do well in the UFC and no matter what fight he’s in he will at least make a valiant effort. I don’t ever see him in the top 15 but instead, he could very well be the man you beat to get there.
How do these two match up:
Morozov has fought the better competition and has more experience. Nurmagomedov is still the toughest test Morozov has fought since his loss to Movsar Evloev in early 2018. Morozov is well-rounded however Nurmagomedov is better everywhere. No matter where the fight is at I’m comfortable Umar will be in control.