UFN 122 Newcomer Breakdown: Muslim Salikhov

Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at exciting Russian striker Muslim Salikhov as he makes his UFC debut against veteran Alex Garcia at UFC Fight Night 122 in Shanghai, China.  

Muslim Salikhov

Hometown: Makhackala, Dagestan
Age: 33
Height: 5’11”
Reach: 69″
Weight Class: Welterweight
Camp: Fighting Eagle
Career Record: 12-4
Key Wins: Melvin Guillard, Ivan Jorge
Key Losses: None


Arguably the most decorated Wushu Sanda competitor of all time, Muslim Salikhov moved over to mixed martial arts in 2011. He’s had tremendous results thus far with eleven of his twelve wins by stoppage. 


  • Precise striker
  • Can land knockout shot with either punches or kicks
  • Incorporates spinning strikes as well as anyone in the sport
  • Decent athlete
  • Gets back to feet well when taken down


  • Takedown defense a question mark at this level
  • Limited submission game

Fighter Grade

Offensive Striking: A
Striking Defense: C-
Knockout Power: B
Athleticism/Speed: C
Footwork: C-
Chin: N/A
Offensive Wrestling: D+
Takedown Defense: D+
Submissions: D-
Conditioning: C-
Intangibles: C

Overall Grade: C

Matchup with Alex Garcia

In his highly anticipated UFC debut, Muslim Salikhov takes on veteran Alex Garcia. This s a classic striker versus grappler matchup. Salikhov is one of the most gifted strikers in MMA. He’s one of the greatest wushu sanda tacticians of all time. From there, he’s developed a precision striking game that is very difficult to plan against. Salikhov can land with his hands, but where he’s most dangerous is in his unorthodox striking attack. He can land at different angles as well as with spinning attacks. He has several spinning strike knockouts to his credit. He disguises these strikes so well, that his opponents have not seen them coming. Garcia will struggle with this aspect of Salikhov’s game and will need to aggressively seek out takedowns. Garcia has done well historically to secure takedowns in the UFC with over three takedowns per 15 minutes in the cage. He could have some success in this bout early seeking out a takedown, but Garcia has struggled with conditioning and will tire in this bout. Even if he’s able to get an early takedown and avoid Salikhov’s striking in round one, he will slow down and Salikhov will be aggressive later in the bout and land the decisive shot. Salikhov’s striking is just too good in this matchup. Salikhov is a proven finisher, so don’t expect this one to see a final bell. Salikhov KO/TKO (-120) is a bet worth consideration in this bout. 

UFC Ceiling

Muslim Salikhov is one of the most exciting strikers to enter the UFC in some years. He’s a gifted Wushu Sanda practitioner and a multiple time world champion. His fights are a constant highlight reel of precision striking and devastating knockouts. Salikhov can compete in the UFC right away and impress against decent competition. His grappling ability at this level is a question mark. Just how good it is remains to be seen and will determine just how well he will do in the UFC. At this point, his peak potential at welterweight is middle of the road in the division to top 10 welterweight. 

Fight Film

Check out Muslim Salikhov in some of his most recent fights:

Muslim Salikhov vs. Ivan Batman

Muslim Salikhov vs. Melvin Guillard

Muslim Salikhov vs. Filip Kotarlic

Written by Jay Primetown

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