December 16, 2014 Leave a comment
The top bantamweight prospect for this year is Russian fighter, Magomed Bibulatov. Bibulatov is 26-years old and is another one of the elite fighters coming out of the Chechnya region of Russia. Bibulatov holds a perfect 8-0 career record. Interestingly, while Magomed has largely fought at bantamweight in his career, the consensus thought is that if and when he signed with the UFC he would make a drop to 125 pounds. He already has a solid resume which includes wins over veterans like Olivier Pastor, Said Nurmagomedov and recent UFC signee Taylor Lapilus. When I look through my whole list of prospects, Bibulatov would be one of my top (if not THE top) overall. Magomed has a host of credentials before entering MMA and has been training in various arts since a very young age.
Bibulatov has a fantastic wrestling game. He “runs the pipe” very well. He knows how to finish takedowns. He has one of the best single leg takedowns I have seen. The really is little wasted energy from Magomed. He is very strong. In watching video, there were times that I thought he could not land a takedown, but he just powered through and finished (and that against mostly larger opponents). I think he could rag doll UFC fighters at flyweight. He a little bit atypical in that he is willing to let a fighter back to his feet pretty quickly after a takedown. I would suppose there are instances where he could have ground and pounded and help an opponent down, but instead elected to bring the fight back to the feet. I like his submissions too. Check out this arm bar finish in his professional debut (3:01-3:08). Bibulatov is not an easy guy to takedown and put on his back. When he was on his back, it did not take him long to finish his opponent from the bottom with a slick armbar.
I like Magomed’s striking. He likes to throw a variety of attacks including spinning back kicks, which he throws often. He is a multi-time world champion in Kempo. If I compare his wrestling to someone like Khabib Nurmagomedov’s, I would have to say that his striking looks much better than Khabib’s did when he entered the UFC. He does not look awkward striking. It is hard to find a glaring hole in his game. If I was to say anything, I would say he does not seem to have real great punching power, but that could change going down a weight class. If I was betting, I would bet that Magomed Bibulatov is signed to the UFC soon. I think he could have a similar trajectory, maybe even better than Ali Bagautinov.