UFC 294 saw a number of notable story lines converge for the world’s largest MMA promotion. Alexander Volkanovski’s rivalry with Islam Makhachev was put to bed; Khamzat Chimaev’s path to a UFC title belt finally seems to have come to fruition; and Magomed Ankalaev had another strange and unsatisfying outing that seems to have kept his career in the same limbo he’s been in for the past year.
Further down on the undercard, however, there was another story of note unfolding. The UFC debut of long-anticipated super-prospect Sharabutdin Magomedov. ‘Shara Bullet’ as he’s commonly known, hit the Octagon with a perfect, unbeaten 11-0 record, and a whole lot of hype as the next great talent out of Dagestan.
Dana White feels Shara Bullet has work to do
The 29-year-old former kickboxer walked out of UFC 294 with his hand raised, picking up a unanimous decision victory over Brazilian slugger Bruno Silva along the way. Despite that success, it was hard to overlook some major struggles that the GOR MMA talent had getting his first Octagon win. Most notably, a defensive wrestling game that looked more sieve than steel.
The takedowns came easily enough for ‘Blindado’ that even UFC CEO Dana White couldn’t help noting it in his post event presser.
“I don’t know if he’s the future of the sport, but he’s definitely got a future here,” Dana White responded when asked about Magomedov’s performance (transcript via MMA Mania). “He’s got to work on his takedown defense. In UFC you have to have the full game. Obviously, his kickboxing is nasty. And leg kicks, head kicks, elbows. But, he’s gotta tighten up that wrestling game or he’ll get beat here very quickly.”
Magomedov talks wrestling defense
Asked about his fight by Daniel Cormier after beating Silva, Magomedov was defiant about the idea that wrestling was a major problem for his game.
“… this problem, wrestling,” Magomedov explained. “What problem I’m wrong? Elbow, elbow, I win! I win! No problem strike, takedown. I am strike, dangerous,” he continued, emphasizing the damage he did with his elbows off his back with Silva on top of him in guard.
Next for Shara Bullet?
If Sharabutdin Magomedov has some problems that need fixing, it doesn’t seem like he’s about to take too much time off to try and address them. After UFC 294, Magomedov made it clear that he’s looking for a quick turnaround, asking the UFC to book him for their December cared in Shanghai.
“I lived in Shanghai for a long time,” he explained. “I’m 10-0 in Shanghai. I’ve never lost a fight in Shanghai. I have a lot of fans in Shanghai. So, I would love to go out there to China and show a great fight. Dana White says it’s going to work, so next month I will see you in Shanghai.”
That card was set to be headlined by a bantamweight bout between Song Yadong and Petr Yan. Unfortunately, an injury to the Russian has left the UFC searching for a replacement to take on the standout Team Alpha Male talent. As of yet no new booking has been officially announced. Currently, the card is set to feature a middleweight bout between Andre Muniz & Park Jun-yong, along with a lightweight fight between Nasrat Haqarast & Jamie Mullarkey.
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