Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at the latest Dagestani fighter to head to the UFC as Magomed Ankalaev makes his UFC debut against Paul Craig.
Hometown: Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia
Weight Class: Light Heavyweight
Camp: Gorets Fight Team
Career Record: 10-0
Key Wins: Wagner Prado
Key Losses: None
The undefeated Dagestani light heavyweight has been fighting professionally for over four years. He’s riled off 10 straight wins to start off his career. He’s finished five of his last six opponents to earn the call to the world’s biggest MMA promotion.
- Decent all around stand up
- Mixes in knees well with more traditional striking
- Strong in the clinch
- Good balance on the feet to fight off takedown attempts
- Lots of variety in takedown attempts
- Excellent ground and pound
- Minimal effort to the defend leg kicks
- Doesn’t look for submissions on the mat
Offensive Striking: C+
Striking Defense: C-
Knockout Power: C+
Athleticism / Speed: C-
Offensive Wrestling: C
Takedown Defense: C-
Overall Grade: C
Matchup against Paul Craig
Magomed Ankalaev should enter his UFC debut with confidence as he takes on Scotland’s Paul Craig. The undefeated Dagestani fighter is brimming with confidence as he has faced minimal adversity thus far in his career. While Craig is a dangerous submission grappler, there’s a lot left to be desired in his stand up. Ankalaev has shown thus far in his career that he has very good balance and is tough to take to the mat. While Ankalaev has a strong top game, there’s no need for him to show it here in this fight. The striking variety Ankalaev offers will be too much for Craig to handle. The Scotsman has lost his last two bouts by knockout in the opening round and there’s a very good case to be made for Ankalaev to make that three. Look for Ankalaev’s power and striking variety to catch Craig, hurt him on the feet, and then for the Dagestani fighter to swarm to earn yet another first round finish to start off his career. Lines have yet to be released for this bout, but absolutely consider Ankalaev by KO and the under in this bout.
Magomed Ankalaev is one of the more refined light heavyweights to enter the UFC in quite some time. Despite being just 25 years old, his all-around ability is very strong. He’s got good technical skills, above average power, a good wrestling base, heavy ground and pound, and he’s well-conditioned. He’s a fighter that can make it into the division’s top 15 within just a year to 18 months in the UFC. Ankalaev is a fighter to pay attention to especially in a rather thin division.
Check out Magomed Ankalaev in some of his most recent fights:
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Artur Astakhov
Magomed Ankalaev vs. Celso Ricardo da Silva