UFC Vegas 41 is set to go down at the Apex in Las Vegas, and is headlined between two former middleweight title challengers. That main event features Marvin Vettori versus Paulo Costa, both coming off losses to Israel Adesanya. Throughout the card we get a few prospects making their octagon debut. One of those debuting prospects is undefeated LFA bantamweight champion Zviad Lazishvili. He will be filling in for Aaron Phillips on short notice against Jonathan Martinez.
Standing at 5’6″
Fighting at 135 lbs (bantamweight)
Fighting out of Washington, District of Columbia, US but born in Georgia
Training out of Kaizen MMA
A pro record of 13-0
How will Lazishvili fare in the UFC:
The only fights available on Lazishvili is his last two fights which were both for LFA. He beat veteran Josh Huber and TUF /Dana White’s Contender Series veteran Ricky Steele. Outside of MMA, Lazishvili is a WKF karate champion and a Georgian grappling champ in three different weights. He beat Steele who is solid for the LFA bantamweight title.
While Lazishvili does have that karate background, it’s only submissions he’s won by. In his last two fights, I haven’t seen any signs of being a karate-style fighter. He’s in fact a solid wrestler and an even better grappler. Lazishvili thrives when it comes to catching a leg and dumping his foes on their rear end. Fellow countryman and top UFC bantamweight Merab Dvalishvili said Lazishvili was an even better wrestler than him. If true, Lazishvili is a future ranked fighter. Being a good wrestler in camp doesn’t mean anything until it’s in the cage however. I’ve seen Lazishvili’s wrestling, and it’s good but can’t tell how good it is.
There are some concerns when watching his last fight. He slowed down a lot in the third round and had trouble on the outside getting picked apart. That said if Lazishvili can get the takedown, he has an excellent back take, is physically strong, and is dangerous at ending fights with submissions. Right now it’s hard to tell how good he is just going off two recent fights.
How he matches up with Martinez:
Martinez came to the UFC with little fanfare. After knocking out Frankie Saenz and beating Thomas Almeida he has proved that he belongs. He had a setback getting knocked out last fight but it was to Davey Grant.
This is easily a striker vs. grappler match-up between these two. I do think Lazishvili has a good chance of winning this but he has a lot of uncertainties. Martinez is solid too so I can’t pick someone on short notice who still has to answer a lot of questions.