UFC Fight Night 102 Newcomer Breakdown: Saparbek Safarov

Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look light heavyweight Saparbek Safarov as he makes his UFC debut against New York native Gian Villante at UFC Fight Night 102 in Albany, New York Saparbek Safarov Hometown: Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia Age: 30 Height: 6’1” Reach: 78” Weight Class: Featherweight Camp: Team Legion Fight Team Career Record: 8-0 Key Wins: Rodney Wallace Key Losses: None Background A professional fighter of six years, Saparbek Safarov is a former hand to hand combat champion in Russia. All eight of his career wins have come by finish. Strengths

  • At his best in a brawling standing exchange
  • Throws punches in bunches when he rushes opponents
  • Heavy hands


  • Doesn’t possess great takedown defense
  • Has many moments of inactivity on the feet
  • Striking technique is poor; relies too heavily on power



  Matchup against Gian Villante A tough test for Saparbek Safarov in his UFC debut as he’s set to square off with Gian Villante. Safarov is still rather green relying on raw power, while Villante has a much more refined skill set. At this point, Villante trains at a better camp and has much cleaner skill set than his Russian opponent. On the feet, Villante has major advantages in striking variety and technique. The key for him will be keeping Safarov at distance. The Russian is at his best when he’s able to rush in and blitz with heavy punches. If Villante is able to avoid that, he’ll win this fight. He’s a deserved favorite in this bout as he’s the better overall striker and has the wrestling ability to keep the fight standing to avoid any potential submission attempts. This matchup is really about Gian Villante and his ability to fight the type of fight he is capable of. UFC Ceiling Saparbek Safarov is still rather green to be making his UFC debut. Sure, he’s undefeated but his wins have question marks surrounding them. The level of competition is marginal at best and he showed tendencies which will be exposed in the UFC. He’s too reliant on brawling. He will struggle against any decent counter puncher who will thirst on Safarov’s blitzes inside to close distance. His offensive wrestling game is serviceable, but defensively there are a lot of holes. It all comes back to his reckless approach. Unless he becomes more calculated into how he approaches fights, I don’t see him having a successful tenure in the UFC. Fight Film Check out Saparbek Safarov in some of her most recent fights:   Saparbek Safarov vs. Giga Kukhalashvili    Saparbek Safarov vs. Rodney Wallace

Written by Jay Primetown

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Prop Plays for UFC Fight Night 102

Glory 36 Opening Betting Odds