Welcome to the UFC: Muhammadjon Naimov

Jamie Mullarkey and Muhammad Naimov UFC Vegas 74 weigh-in
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - JUNE 02: (L-R) Opponents Jamie Mullarkey of Australia and Muhammad Naimov of Tajikistan face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on June 02, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

The octagon is back in the UFC Apex once again this weekend, as flyweights Kai Kara-France and Amir Albazi headline the UFC Vegas 74 card. Among several newcomers, Muhammadjon Naimov steps in to replace Guram Kutatuledze opposite Jamie Mullarkey in a lightweight fight.

Muhammadjon “Hillman” Naimov
Standing at five-foot-nine
Fighting at 145 lbs (featherweight)
Fighting out of Dushanbe, Tajikistan/Denver, Colorado
Training out of Elevation Fight Team
A pro record of 8-2
3 KO/TKOs, 3 Submissions

How will Naimov fare in the UFC:

Naimov is familiar to the MMA audience as he fought on the Contender Series in 2020. He ended up losing to Collin Anglin. Right after that, he lost in a Titan FC title fight to another Contender Series alum, Olivier Murad. After losing two in a row Naimov is now on a three-fight win streak.

If you have ever watched one fight from Naimov, that’s basically how he always fights. Naimov is a scrapper that’s going to take some heat to dish some out. With that said he takes too much heat. Naimov takes a ton of damage in all his fights. It happens because his head stays on the centerline and his movement is limited. It doesn’t help that he is too willing to trade. If anything Naimov is tough as hell and can take a beating for sure. Even though he’s been put in fight-ending spots he’s never been finished. Naimov brings a steady pressure fighting style. He throws heavy leg kicks and stays unpredictable. His kickboxing would be his best weapon.

Naimov will wrestle but it tends to be him getting wrestled if anything. His submission defense and grappling defense are competent but he goes down too easily. I’m positive a good grappler would be able to dominate him on the mat.

I’m predicting this will be a short run in the UFC for Naimov. He’s fun to watch but is too defensively flawed to win fights consistently at a high level.

How he matches up with Mullarkey:

Naimov is a power puncher and so is Mullarkey. Mullarkey has fought mostly power punchers like Michael Johnson, Brad Riddell, Francisco Prado, Khama Worthy, and Devonte Smith and survived. All guys I would probably pick to beat Naimov. Mullarkey is a dog and even though Naimov is tough he’s outgunned by a whole lot here. Either Mullarkey finishes this fight or he makes Naimov’s life hell for three rounds.