The Weight Cutting Chronicles: UFC Vegas 66 — Damir Ismagulov

Rafael Alves and Damir Ismagulov, UFC Vegas 27
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 22: (L-R) Damir Ismagulov of Russia punches Rafael Alves of Brazil in their lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on May 22, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Like it or not, weight-cutting is deeply rooted in mixed martial arts. MMA adopted its weight-cutting from the sport of wrestling, where it is presumed to be advantageous to be the biggest and strongest in your weight class.

Known as the ‘fight before the fight,’ most UFC fighters cut anywhere from 5-25 pounds, with some fighters cutting more than 30 pounds. Weight-cutting is the ultimate test of discipline and willpower.

Many fighters in the sport consider it very unprofessional to miss weight and often there is always a risk of a fighter losing a percentage of their fight purse.

In this series, we will shine a light on select fighters who cut a massive amount of weight, who have missed weight multiple times in the past, who have made weight-class changes, along with how the weight-cut and weigh-in could affect possible upcoming matchups.

In short, every aspect of weight-cutting and how it affects the fight game.

Damir “Qazaq” Ismagulov (24-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC)

Lightweight (155lbs.): 5-0 (UFC), Missed weight 1x in UFC, 13-1 (MMA)

Catchweight (159-161lbs.): 3-0 (MMA)

Damir Ismagulov is a 30-year-old lightweight that stands at 5’10” with a 74″ reach.

Damir has fought in the lightweight division since the start of his professional MMA career back in 2014.

Ismagulov is a long-time veteran of the M-1 Global promotion where he won the lightweight championship in 2017 and defended it until he was picked up by the UFC the following year.

Ismagulov missed weight early on in his career back in 2015 coming in at 156.5lbs ahead of an M-1 Global fight. The following year, Damir had 2 catchweight fights, the first, at 161lbs. for the Naiza Fighting Championship (NFC) Catchweight Championship, and the other for an M-1 Global, 159lbs catchweight bout.

Damir has only missed weight one time in the UFC, but it was a miss that cannot be ignored. On September 1, 2021 the UFC announced via a press release that Damir Ismagulov would get one of the biggest fights of his career to date against Magomed Mustafaev. Magomed was just one fight removed from a KO over the high profile, then-prospect, Rafael Fiziev early in the fight back in 2019. So it was definitely a big opportunity for Damir.

However, unfortunately the fight would never take place as Damir had to be helped to the scale ahead of UFC 267. Ismagulov could barely stand up straight and ended up weighing in at 163.5lbs for the bout which was 7.5lbs over the weight limit for lightweight. The bout was subsequently cancelled by the promotion as a result of how badly Ismagulov missed weight. It was definitely a bad look for Damir and after a nearly two month fight camp to miss weight like that is could potentially be a bad sign.

Though Damir Ismagulov weighed in at 155lbs for his most recent bout against Guram Kutateladze back in June, he will still be a fighter to keep an eye on while he weighs in and of course how the weight cut translates to the fight.