UFC Moscow Aftermath: Zabit Magomedsharipov is the Real Deal

It’s Monday and that means Aftermath is back! Today we take some of our favorite fighters from UFC Moscow and what could be next!

Alexander Volkov on Cruise Control Versus Greg Hardy

Next opponent for Greg Hardy: Andrei Arlovski, Tai Tuivasa

I preface all Aftermath pieces I’ve done about Greg Hardy with the following. This is a technical breakdown of Greg Hardy. His controversial past is not taken into account when I break down his fight and speculate on his future.

Greg Hardy may have lost to Alexander Volkov in the co-main event of UFC Moscow, but his stock rose after the fight. He fought a top ten heavyweight and didn’t come out guns blazing and intimidated by the biggest stage of his MMA career.

Hardy didn’t fight perfectly. He was noticeably sloppier than the precision-perfect Volkov. But, Greg Hardy, as with all of his professional fights, has shown improvement each and every fight. While it may not be leaps and bounds like I was expecting, the former Pro-Bowler has his athleticism that kept him in the fight with Volkov. He can thank Din Thomas and company for his improvement, but there’s still work to do.

After his fight at UFC Boston, I suggested he wasn’t ready for a ranked opponent yet. Chase Sherman and Junior Albini were the two fighters that I suggested that Hardy takes on next. Now, I believe he might be one fight out from the top 15. Volkov was a good test against a veteran, and I’d like to see him against another. Andrei Arlovski may not be the fighter he once was, but his experience will more than triple Hardy’s. A win over Arlovski would be a great name on his resumé and would propel him to that ranked bout.

If we’re going for just bangers, Tai Tuivasa is the man with the plan. Hardy would have the cardio advantage, and we would likely get to see how Hardy reacts under extreme pressure, at least in the first round. Fans would get to see if someone can finally beat the hell out of Hardy like they were hoping Volkov would do. And should he win, the UFC would know he’s ready for the top of the division.

Next opponent does Alexander Volkov: Junior Dos Santos, Derrick Lewis

After his devastating Hail Mary knockout Alexander Volkov suffered from Derrick Lewis, he took a year off. Originally Volkov was supposed to face off with Junior Dos Santos, Volkov didn’t want to waste any time. So, Greg Hardy stepped in last moment. Volkov didn’t look terrible in the first with Hardy. He was apprehensive and respectful of Hardy’s explosiveness early on, likely having PTSD flashbacks from the Lewis fight. As the fight went on, Volkov became more comfortable and started to open up more and basically cruised to a unanimous decision victory.

Now, Volkov, who has sustained very little damage, will likely be looking for a quick turnaround. The Junior Dos Santos fight is still out there and Volkov will likely want to test himself against Dos Santos to move up the divisions rankings. Basically, the entire reason for me picking this matchup is because Junior Dos Santos honey-dicked us and took the fight we were excited for away, not to his fault, but injury. Give it to us, Dana White.

The Derrick Lewis rematch is another fight I’m interested in. Volkov was handily winning that fight until Lewis exploded and put Volkov down in the last 10 seconds of the fight. I would like to see if Alexander Volkov learned from his mistake and if the new and improved Lewis can repeat his success.

Zabit Magomedsharipov Has Been Here, But He’s Officially Arrived

Next opponent does Calvin Kattar: Jeremy Stephens, Renato Moicano rematch

Coming into UFC Moscow, I was very high on Calvin Kattar and I thought the fight with Zabit would be his coming out party. Boy, was I wrong. I pointed to the end of the Kyle Bochniak fight as a reason why Kattar was going to run through Zabit. While Kattar did have some success against the Russian, his best work came a little too late to get the decision from the judges.

Calvin Kattar had success on the feet against the insanely talented Zabit Magomedsharipov. But, it was Zabit controlling most of the fight. His hands looked crisp, he was light on his feet, but it seems as if his run at the title has been put on hold.

I truly think Calvin Kattar will fight for a title before his career is finished. I also feel that this fight will be a good one for Kattar’s career as a whole. He will learn from this fight and grow as a fighter. Let’s put Kattar in the fire. Jeremy Stephens murders people but has struggled as of late. Seeing these two go at it would be a win for the UFC no matter who comes out on top. If Stephens wins, he’ll be back to decapitating people. If Kattar emerges victorious, it’s his best win to date and he is on his way back up the crowded featherweight ladder.

Another option is a rematch with Renato Moicano. Moicano dominated the first fight and Kattar was set back again. But, as I mentioned earlier, I feel as if Kattar has grown since then and would be interested to see how he’s progressed. He and Moicano could be an important bout in each of their careers. A win would put them back on the upswing.

Next opponent for Zabit Magomedsharipov: Max Holloway, Yair Rodriguez

I cannot say enough about Zabit Magomedsharipov’s performance at UFC Moscow. He showed up in his home country and rose to the occasion. Magomedsharipov dominated Kattar for two rounds and the third was close enough to still be impressed with his performance.

Now Zabit is ready for the big time. It may be premature, but it’s time for Zabit to get a title shot. He has yet to fight five rounds in the UFC, and that’s something I would have liked to see him do before his title shot. But at 6-0 in the UFC, there’s not many above him to fight now. I feel as if the fight with Max Holloway could end up being a disaster for Zabit, especially if drug out into the later rounds like Holloway loves to do.

Of course, Max Holloway needs to get past Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 235. The only reason I think Zabit fights Holloway and not Volkanovski if he’s victorious is because Holloway will likely be granted an immediate rematch. If that’s the case, Zabit needs a backup plan.

Enter Yair Rodriguez. Rodriguez and Zabit is a classic styles make fights. If the UFC wants to see the flashiest standup the division has to offer, Zabit and Rodriguez is the fight to make. This could also provide main event-worthy star power that Zabit needs to go five rounds before his title fight.

Check out Zabit Magomedsharipov’s post fight interview below!

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Blaine Henry

Just your friendly neighborhood fight fan!

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