Slowly ascending the ranks, there is an intense, aggressive Swedish striker with a goofy Conor McGregor impression. UFC lightweight David Teymur (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) has done much to capture the hearts of fans with his formidable standup attack, accompanied by his confusing, vaguely sexual trash talk.
Fighting out of the Allstars Training Center in Sweden, 29-year-old Teymur has emerged as a threat to lightweight contenders everywhere. The natural showman possesses a decent muay thai pedigree, a warrior’s heart, and a winning skillset.
After a 4-0 UFC start, including a “Fight of the Night” PPV co-main event upset win over the much lauded Lando Vannata, Teymur has once again been relegated to the undercard.
This is Fighter of Interest, where underrated fighters from an upcoming event are brought to light.
UFC Fight Night 131
Fighter of Interest: David Teymur
Migrating from the world of muay thai, David Teymur is a decorated, experienced fighter. The Syrian Swede has won numerous national championships in both muay thai and kickboxing, accruing a near-perfect record.
A typical Teymur performance is marked by aggressive, blitzing punches, pounding low kicks, and a series of counters from caught kicks. Although Teymur loves to work with single, forceful round kicks throughout a bout, it is the worst thing his opponent can do in return.
Teymur’s high volume kickboxing barrage has been the downfall of each of his four UFC opponents.
Teymur @DavidTeymur has soundly out-landed all 4 of his UFC opponents.
— MMA By The Numbers (@NumbersMMA) May 29, 2018
When assessing the combative profile of David Teymur, his power-kicking game and timely counters stand out immediately.
What makes Teymur special, however, is his flair for theatrics and ability to work a crowd. Observe the extra “oomph” on his sweeps, the tap on his chin, that cheeky wink for the fans. David Teymur was born to dazzle an audience.
It’s only natural then, that he would end up on reality TV as part of The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber.
After losing his professional MMA debut in a back and forth grappling affair, Teymur burned through the Swedish regional scene. His reputation as a punishing striker preceded him, several opponents wisely surrendered soon after feeling his traumatic brutality.
David Teymur’s first opportunity to face stiff mixed martial arts competition came in the opening round of The Ultimate Fighter. The season’s theme was “Europe vs. The United States”, the European competitors would first have to compete in an elimination bout to make Team McGregor.
He was matched with an experienced, undefeated French boxer in Thibault Gouti.
It was a grueling, laborious effort from Teymur. His pace and intensity ultimately made the difference, winning by decision after two rounds.
Gouti would go on to compete in five UFC bouts, most recently losing a controversial decision to golden boy Sage Northcutt.
Late in the preliminary round, Teymur got his chance to represent his team against the American Johnny Nuñez. A Division 1 wrestler at Boise State (RIP BSU wrestling) and World Series of Fighting (RIP) veteran, Nuñez presented the most obvious stylistic challenge for Teymur.
David Teymur came out on fire, blitzing Nuñez and folding him with brutal knees to the gut. After a near fight-ending barrage of ground and pound, Nuñez survived to find success with his wrestling. The takedowns kept coming for the credentialed wrestler, who clearly won the second round, sending them to tiebreakers.
Even after receiving a second chance to be on the show, Nuñez displayed apathy towards training at times. Dedication made the difference in the third round, as Teymur was still charging with murder in his heart at a badly gassed Nuñez.
The referee was unsatisfied with anything other than a dead body, so the fight continued. Undoubtedly low on fuel, Teymur continued to pour on a variety of impactful kicks to win the deciding round. Nuñez would go on to lose yet another chance on The Ultimate Fighter, before fathering Miesha Tate‘s child. It is a cruel world.
The Polish Zombie
Team McGregor’s outstanding preliminary round performance meant many would have to face teammates in the quarterfinals. Well-rounded and tough as nails, Poland’s Marcin Wrzosek would prove to be a great challenge.
The bout started poorly for David Teymur, who was sat on his butt early in the first. Slowly but surely, Teymur clawed his way back into the round, scrambling to his feet, walking Wrzosek down, and securing a takedown of his own.
Teymur started strong in the second round, with momentum clearly on his side.
Unfortunately, a series of tactical errors gave Wrzosek top position for the majority of the round. While a third round was certainly reasonable, two out of three judges awarded both rounds to Wrzosek. Teymur was out of the tournament.
Wrzosek would go on to establish a great career in Europe’s most promising promotion, KSW. He fights for their featherweight title in less than two weeks.
David Teymur’s official UFC debut came against his Ultimate Fighter teammate and Cage Warriors veteran Martin Svensson. The lanky Swede joked he was the “unofficial winner” of the show, defeating the dangerous prospect Than Le before being eliminated by injury. Svensson felt prepared for Teymur, as he had already employed his grappling attack successfully against a mobile, power kicker in Le.
But the bout took place in a much larger cage than the one used on The Ultimate Fighter. Svensson was required to cover a great distance before he could even touch Teymur, a tall order against a counter striker of his caliber.
Unable to find a way in, Svensson became desperate as Teymur picked away at his legs and body from the outside. It was a relaxed, reactive David Teymur, he appeared to be on cruise control.
After clearly winning the round, Teymur’s corner surprised viewers with their agitation. David Teymur was having his way with Svensson, he could afford to be his aggressive self.
Shortly over a minute into the second round, Teymur launched an explosive uppercut that quickly ended Svensson’s night.
Svensson would fight and win in one more Cage Warriors bout, then retire from the sport.
Shades of the Axe Murderer
Up next was Titan FC standout Jason Novelli. Competent in all areas of MMA, Novelli had amassed an 11-1-1 record, his only loss coming to masked crimefighting vigilante Phoenix Jones, AKA Ben Fodor.
Novelli was open pre-fight that his intention was to grapple, but takedown entry opportunities were few and far between, as he ran into many of the same problems as Martin Svensson before him.
However, Novelli was much more willing to stand at mid-range, opening up the boxing attack of David Teymur.
Between rounds, Novelli’s corner urged him to push forward, which would ultimately set up the finish. Teymur timed Novelli’s pressuring advance and sprung forward with a booming straight left just as Novelli began to kick.
Smelling blood, Teymur blitzed with a ferocious series of punches, each landing with stopping power. It was reminiscent of a prime Wanderlei Silva, without the stomps and soccer kicks of course. This is why RIZIN FF is the superior product.
The Spotlight Beckons
A Division 1 wrestler for the University of Tennesse at Chattanooga, “Groovy” Lando Vannata astonished fans around the world with his free-flowing, artistic, and dangerous striking game. After an 8-0 start in the sport, Vannata got the call to face top contender Tony Ferguson on extremely short notice.
He would eventually tire and lose the bout by submission, but Groovy Lando put the division on notice with his eye-opening performance. His second bout sent his stock skyrocketing, as Vannata finished spinning-sh*t connoisseur John Makdessi with a picturesque wheel kick.
The UFC was deeply invested in the Lando Vannata business. Knowing he was an exciting striker, a matchup with David Teymur was their logical next step for a PPV showcase bout. After the title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson fell through, again, Vannata-Teymur was elevated to the co-main event.
War is Groovy
Lando’s striking style is in stark contrast to that of David Teymur. Teymur likes to bite down and throw powerful, linear Dutch combinations. He breaks his opponents with pace and technical ferocity. Vannata, on the other hand, is abstract, his unorthodox movements often chain together in a mesmerizing dance. For a few minutes, Teymur seemed perplexed.
But then he took matters into his own hands. Space was the enemy, David pressed forward, pushing Vannata’s cardio.
Sure enough, Lando began to slow. In the second round, the groove was diminished, Vannata stood in front of Teymur, sucking wind.
Feeling the momentum swing, David Teymur continued to push onward, barrelling through Vannata’s flashy counter punching to land punishing clinch strikes. The UFC commentary team was shocked to see Teymur convert a takedown on the more experienced wrestler.
But it wasn’t over. Lando caught a second wind, he opened the final round advancing, doing some of his best offensive boxing of the fight. Instead of adapting his defense, Teymur instead turned up the heat. With his hands down, Vannata was vulnerable to the effective pressure of the seasoned muay thai pro.
When Vannata attempted to respond, Teymur used his surprising wrestling offense to stifle the assault.
After a gritty, nuanced performance against a top prospect, one would assume David Teymur would have earned the respect, admiration, and attention of the UFC fans. This was not the case, as Teymur continues to fly under the radar. To this day, many are still foolishly holding on for Lando Vannata to realize his championship potential.
LAST FIGHT: Def. Drakkar Klose via Unanimous Decision
A stud high school wrestler, Michigan’s Drakkar Klose developed into a sturdy lightweight prospect under the tutelage of the MMA Lab‘s John Crouch. His 2-0 UFC start was highlighted by a win over top UK prospect Marc Diakiese.
In the Diakiese bout, Klose used his opponent’s flamboyant offense against him, timing huge kicks and leaping punches for takedown entries. The low-calf kick, an MMA Lab special, was a crucial tool in hindering the movement of Diakiese.
It must be the case that Klose’s gameplan hinged upon Teymur pressuring and advancing forward. When David Teymur hung on the outside, picking away with kicks instead, it was deeply frustrating and befuddling to the young prospect.
Klose repeatedly stood still and dropped his hands, implying Teymur would not engage. In fact, it was Teymur producing the offense, and Klose who refused to make moves of his own. Referee Herb Dean drew criticism for respecting Klose’s complaints, giving Teymur a verbal passivity warning.
The unflappable David Teymur carried on, chewing up the lead leg of Klose. The damage added up quickly, the broken base of Klose effectively neutralized his wrestling offense.
After two rounds of this nonsense, Klose was finally willing to take ground. It was too little too late, and his only meaningful offense came after egregiously grabbing the shorts of David Teymur.
NEXT FIGHT: vs. Nik Lentz at UFC Fight Night 131
UFC lightweight journeyman grappler Nik Lentz has stepped in to replace promotional newcomer Don Madge against David Teymur. Lentz was scheduled to face Leo Santos, who also suffered an injury.
Lentz is an accomplished veteran who has gone 12-5-1 in the UFC, and 3-1 in his last four. There is much more for Teymur to gain in this matchup, as opposed to the 6-3 debutant Don Madge. That original matchmaking should tell you everything you need to know about how much the UFC cares about promoting David Teymur.
At 33 years old, Lentz has found his place in the UFC pecking order. While he has a handful of marquee victories, Lentz consistently falls short against opponents with serious top-10 aspirations. The former University of Minnesota wrestler has a comprehensive top game and a signature guillotine choke, which he used to take out former Bellator champion Will Brooks in his last fight.
Although there is danger in their stylistic contrast, David Teymur’s youth and ferocity pose a significant threat. The sheer physical mismatch on the feet may be enough for Teymur. Look for the Allstars product to punish Lentz to the legs, arms, and body from range before moving in for the kill.
You can catch Nik Lentz vs. David Teymur on Friday, June 1st on the Fox Sports 1 preliminary card of UFC Fight Night 131: Utica.
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