Welcome to the UFC: Khusein Askhabov

Khusein Askhabov, UFC Vegas 69
Khusein Askhabov, UFC Vegas 69 weigh-in Credit: Eddie Law/Cageside Press

A week after UFC 284 in Australia, the octagon is back in Las Vegas for UFC Vegas 69. The Fight Night card is headlined by an important women’s flyweight bout, while the event has a lot of fighters trying to make a name for themselves. One of those is newcomer Khusein Askhabov. Askhabov has been trying to make his UFC debut for two years now but keeps having to withdraw. He will finally make the walk this Saturday against Jamall Emmers who is 1-2 in the UFC.

Khusein “Nohcho” Askhabov
Standing at five-foot-eight
Fighting at 135 lbs (bantamweight)
Fighting out of Grozny, Russia
Training out of Tiger Muay Thai
A pro record of 23-0
6 KO/TKOs, 10 Submissions

How will Askhabov fare in the UFC:

It’s nice to see Askhabov finally making his UFC debut. He was signed to the UFC in late 2021 and had two cancelled fights that never got him in the cage.

There are some questions about the legitimacy of his record. However, it’s not as bad as people think. When he was 13-0 he lacked quality wins. In his last ten fights, he didn’t fight a single opponent with a losing record. No matter what anyone says, 23-0 is an impressive record.

Starting off, Askhabov is comfortable everywhere. There isn’t one area in the fight where he is completely a fish out of water. On the feet Askhabov is volume-based and very explosive. He could be much cleaner in his technique but you will see why he’s capable of some highlight-reel knockouts. Askhabov will throw a leg kick to a three-punch combination with his hands. He does a great job at mixing in his kicks and punches. I will highlight the way he throws his flying knee. He’ll come forward flash the knee and then come up with the other knee. It’s very well done.

Askhabov is an even better wrestler. He has a good whizzer, strong hips, can chain-wrestle, and has strong fundamental wrestling skills. Askhabov has good timing in his takedown entries and can make quick adjustments to get the fight down. I don’t have a problem at all with his wrestling. His grappling has looked good as well. Askhabov does have ten wins by submission which shows his grappling is credible. I will say he can be submission over position a lot but he is comfortable no matter where he’s at on the mat. He’s got a diverse submission attack being able to attack all limbs and the neck. I don’t like how often he goes to the heel hook because that’s a 40/60 position. On the mat overall I like what he does but there will be times he is over-aggressive and lets guys take his back.

I don’t think Askhabov is a fraud as some have suggested, but I do think his record may look better than it is. I don’t think anyone knows for sure how good Askhabov is. Once he has to dig deep and has to be more defensive than usual he’s going to prove where his level is. As of now, I don’t see him as a ranked fighter. Bantamweight is stacked so even at the bottom of the division he’s going to be tested.

How Askhabov and Emmers match up:

Jamall Emmers hasn’t had a good UFC run thus far. He’s 1-2 and has only fought three times in three years. His two losses are to Pat Sabatini and Giga Chikadze so no shame there. Emmers is a very technical striker that always throws one-two’s as the power isn’t there but the combinations and aggressiveness shine. Emmers’ wrestling is solid, his shots are perfectly-timed and solid execution is done very well.

Emmers is a tough fight for anyone debuting. People may forget that Emmers arguably beat Chikadze and dropped Sabatini leading up to him getting caught in a sub. If Askhabov is legit he wins this fight. I think Emmers is underrated and is more proven compared to Askhabov. Askhabov also hasn’t fought in three years so the pick in Emmers.