“The fight will go as Habib wants”
Just a month later, on September 7, Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight with Dustin Porrier at the UFC 242 tournament, which will be held in Abu Dhabi. The Russian will hold his second defense of the lightweight champion title, won in a fight with Al Yakvinta in April 2018. Earlier, the “Eagle” had already put its title on the line and defended it without any problems, forcing Conor McGregor to surrender.
On the eve of the tournament, many top UFC fighters shared their views on the future battle between the Russian and the American. So, Nurmagomedov’s teammate at the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) Luke Rockhold expressed confidence in the success of the Russian athlete.
“The fight will go as Habib wants. Dustin is a tough fighter, you should give him credit. But he had problems with Alvarez. And his future opponent is not Eddie. There is not a single lightweight who could withstand Nurmagomedov in terms of grappling. Not a single representative of this division has ever given me a hard fight. I have to give all 100% to the Russians, while I just play with the rest, ”said former UFC middleweight champion Rockhold.
Another AKA spokesman, Daniel Cormier, UFC heavyweight champion, was more restrained in his assessments and refrained from forecasts. However, he also noted that at the moment, Nurmagomedov is one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet.
“Two of the best lightweights on earth, both champions. But now Nurmagomedov is not only one of the greatest fighters in history, but also one of the largest stars in the world. This is evident from the reaction of people to him since the victory over McGregor. Porje is a very tough athlete from my hometown who will not give in to anyone. I do not want to give forecasts. I can only say that Habib is just a beast, ”Cormier concluded.
The legendary John Jones expressed his opinion. He admired Nurmagomedov’s wrestling skills, but added that he would support his opponent.
“I have nothing against Dustin, just Habib is a unique athlete. He has an extraordinary struggle, his takedowns (transfers to the ground. - RT ) are almost impossible to stop. I don’t know who will win. But if Porrier enters the octagon, having good skills in the stalls, honed pain from a prone position, and will also be able to rise to his feet, he will provide worthy resistance. I'm rooting for the American. Just because Nurmagomedov is a Cormier teammate. May the fittest win, ”Jones said.
On the side of Porrier, his American Top Team partners expectedly performed. So, Thiago Santos expressed the opinion that the American “has everything to defeat Habib,” and Jorge Masvidal noted that earlier Nurmagomedov had not met such a dedicated soldier.
“Habib is just a monster. He is good, he has a great fight. Dustin is my teammate, he is also actively working on this aspect. In addition, he does not give up, does not know what it is. Habib will have to kill him in order to win. I am a fan of Porje, I hope he gives a sensation, ”the author of the fastest knockout in UFC history believes.
At the same time, Ben Askren, who suffered from the Masvidal tribe, does not doubt the success of the Russian. However, he expressed doubt that Nurmagomedov could achieve an early victory.
“Habib will win. Most likely a solution. It’s hard for Dustin to knock out or make him give up, but Nurmagomedov will control the course of the fight due to his wrestling skills, ”Askren said.
Future rival of Magomedsharipov
Unlike Nurmagomedov, Zabit Magomedsharipov has not yet managed to win the UFC champion title, but he is approaching this by leaps and bounds. So, in March, he prevailed over a strong opponent in the person of Jeremy Stevens and in the very near future he can get the right to fight with the current king of lightweight Max Holloway. True, for this he needs to beat one of the representatives of the top 3 division - Alexander Volkanovsky, Jose Aldo or Brian Ortega.
This opinion is shared by the mentor of the Russian Ricardo Almeida, who sees the point in the confrontation of his ward exclusively with some of the best featherweight on the planet.
“There is a huge difference between fighters from sixth or tenth place (in the ranking) and the top three who fought for the championship belt or won it earlier. The result is as unpredictable as when playing dice - you never know who will win and who will lose. I want Zabit to gain experience in battles with rivals of this level - with those who try to break his plan for a duel, who train in a large team that will prepare to use the opponent’s shortcomings. Entering the ring and defeating such an opponent will be an excellent experience for Magomedsharipov, ”Almaida quoted MMA Fighting.
For a long time, one of the possible rivals of Magomedsharipov was called Yair Rodriguez. In September 2018, the UFC organized a duel with the participation of athletes, but the Mexican was injured and was forced to withdraw from the battle, but the promotion leaves no hope of arranging a meeting between two spectacular athletes.
“Yair Rodriguez, of course, is an excellent fighter, but he is below the level of Aldo, Ortega or Volkanovsky. I think that the fight with Jose or Brian will be an important step for Zabita in preparing for the title fight, ”concluded Almeida.
New opponent for Alvarez
In October 2018, former UFC and Bellator lightweight champion left the largest MMA promotion in the world and signed a contract with ONE FC. However, from that moment Alvarez held only two fights, in one of which he suffered a severe defeat from Timofey Nastyukhin. In his debut fight in the Singapore organization, he was knocked out in the first round, 55 seconds before its completion.
After that, Alvarez managed to get together and in the second match broke the resistance of the Filipino Eduard Folayang. In the course of the dramatic battle, the American was knocked down, but managed not only to recover, but to win with the help of a choking technique from behind.
But now one more difficult test awaits him. Saygid-Huseyn Arslanaliev will try to repeat the achievement of Nastyukhin, for whom this fight will be the ninth under the auspices of ONE FC. In the previous eight, a native of Dagestan won seven victories and suffered one defeat. One of his “victims” was still the same Timothy, who lost by knockout in the first round.
Another interesting fact is that his only offender is Georgy Stoyanov, who at that time had a not-so-enviable track record - 19 wins with 12 defeats. Arslanaliev dominated, but at one point lost control of himself and broke the rules. Saygid-Huseyn hit the head of a canvassed opponent, for which he was disqualified. It is noteworthy that from that moment the Bulgarian no longer returned to the octagon.
It is worth noting that Arslanaliev currently lives in Turkey and stands for this country, which he moved to at the age of 14. At the same time, the athlete showed great expectations at an early age and by the age of 12 managed to become the Wushu Sanda champion of Dagestan, Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.