Cousin Omar: The Next Nurmagomedov

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For decades, the hardy mountain folk of Dagestan have produced combat sports savants. Fans at large have become familiar with Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov‘s stable of killers, specifically his son Khabib, nephew Abubakar, as well as UFC standout Islam Makhachev. Welcome bantamweight nightmare Omar Nurmagomedov.

The Dagestani gladiators share a strong grappling base, overwhelming opponents with their transcendent wrestling ability. At just 22 years old, Omar Nurmagomedov (7-0 MMA) has emerged as the most talented Avar export yet. A cousin of Khabib Nurmagomedov, the undefeated bantamweight has dominated Fight Nights Global with not only his ferocious ground attack, but sensationally adept striking.

Not to mention his next level trash talk.

“You’d rather die than lose? You lost eight times, why are you still alive?” That’s ice cold Omar.

Come explore the mind-blowing skill set displayed in Omar’s young career. This American Kickboxing Academy product may just become the pride of his high-achieving family.

Cousin Omar: The Next Nurmagomedov

While Omar does have a combat sambo and wrestling background like many in his family, he truly shines on the feet. According to Khabib, Omar is a Russian Muay Thai champion.

You can understand the true scope of his skill set by taking time to inspect individual examples of striking, wrestling, and grappling. If you’re here to see the familiar Nurmagomedov “smesh”, skip ahead to the grappling section.

Let’s investigate the striking tools demonstrated thus far by Omar Nurmagomedov, chronologically.

The Skills of Omar Nurmagomedov

Slick Striking

Immediately it is clear to see a certain swagger in the step of the young Russian. He’s light on his feet, surprisingly dexterous, and throws a variety of kicks, some reminiscent of his teammate Luke Rockhold. Observe his progression over the course of six fights.

–vs. Bo Yuan Chun–

Even as an amateur, the depth of Omar’s arsenal was on display. He has a tendency to throw single kicks from the outside, but easily gets away with his smooth, gliding footwork. Watch him light up Chinese fighter Bo Yuan Chun with round kicks at all three levels, a switch flying knee to the body, and even lead leg question mark kicks.

Dagestani grappler throwing lead leg question mark kicks as an amateur? Is normal.

–vs. Rishat Kharisov–

Omar came out unscathed in his Fight Nights professional debut. Facing a durable grappler, he chose to keep his opponent at distance, chewing Kharisov up with low kicks.

The diversity of his kicking attack kept Kharisov guessing, and advancements were simply avoided or countered with takedowns, as you will see later on.

I like to think he chewed him up with low kicks because of the double knee pads. That’s a fashion faux pas.

–vs. Alym Isabaev–

Facing a more aggressive striker, Nurmagomedov’s defense was on full display. While most of his evasive work is done linearly, Omar consistently moves his head, and only retreats an appropriate distance to counter punch or shoot.

In short bursts, Omar showed he can pressure with his footwork and feints, setting up a lead leg high kick.

He’s out here throwing stutter-switch-stanch lead leg high kicks. The world is doomed.

–vs. Valisher Rakhmonov–

A simple but obvious response to the outside kicking game of Nurmagomedov is to plant your feet and counter. After one such effort, Omar immediately adjusted his range and was just clear of the punch on the next attempt.

Look at those fancy feet.

–vs. Nauruz Dzamikhov–

Nurmagomedov finally had a game opponent in Nauruz Dzamikhov. A fellow Caucasus region Russian, Dzamikhov threatened with competent striking and a solid wrestling base.

This allowed Omar to show new wrinkles in his craft. Slick head movement and intercepting clinch exchanges worked wonders against the winging punches of Dzamikhov.

Finally, Omar gets down and dirty.

But as Dzamikhov tired, it was business as usual. Perfect timing on a long jab kept Omar’s opponent at bay, as he continued to pick away with kicks at will.

Stay outside, get eaten alive with kicks. Come inside, have your nose busted with a jab.

–vs. Shyudi Yamauchi–

A cousin of Bellator‘s Goiti YamauchiShyudi Yamauchi possesses serious power in his hands. His true talent is the family calling card, an active guard, and an extremely dangerous ground game. These skills led to a 16-8 record forged in the tough Brazilian regional circuit.

Against his toughest opponent, Omar put on an absolute clinic. When it became obvious that Yamauchi was going to mindlessly plod forward, Nurmagomedov employed an intercepting attack of jabs and front kicks to the face.

Are you kidding me with those front kicks?

The battered Yamauchi slowed down considerably. It was apparent Omar was untouchable, he revealed one flashy technique after another, landing everything. Most interesting was the brief use of the low line side kick to the leg, another valuable tool to keep opponents at range.

Omar doing literally whatever he wants to an experienced, talented opponent in his sixth professional fight.

Relentless Wrestling

There is no questioning the striking prowess of young Omar. But does he share the unstoppable, bear-tested wrestling of his cousin?

The biggest similarity to Khabib is persistent chain wrestling and scrambling. Check out how Omar has been able to ground his opponents thus far.

–vs. Bo Yuan Chun–

The majority of Omar’s takedowns come off the forward pressure of his opponents. Desperate to stop the endless nightmare of kicks, many will charge forward to clinch, strike, or get a takedown of their own. Here we can see Omar counter with both a body lock and a double leg.

Oh good, if I fight back he’ll just take me down.

–vs. Alym Isabaev–

According to Nurmagomedov and his team, Isabaev was a “two-time world champion grappler.” While submission grapplers and jiu-jitsu players aren’t strictly known for their wrestling, Isabaev was still a force to be reckoned on the ground.

And yet, Omar took him down anyway. On more than one occasion, Nurmagomedov’s intercepting takedowns put him in dangerous positions on the ground. Nevertheless, he maintained top control. As you’ll see later, the finish would come on the mat.

Consider that Isabaev was desperate to get this fight to the ground, and Omar took him down anyway.

–vs. Valisher Rakhmonov–

Here you can see wrestling much more in line with the style of Khabib Nurmagomedov. Omar was able to punch through with a strong underhook against the cage. He continued to circle in order to gain the body lock position, easily dragging Rakhmonov down.

There’s that underhook we all know and love.

–vs. Nauruz Dzamikhov–

For the first time, we can see Omar actively and aggressively pursuing takedowns. Dzamikhov is clearly well-schooled, but the relentless motion and chain wrestling allowed Nurmagomedov to gain superior positions. In high paced scrambles, you can observe countless adjustments and pressure-based setups from Omar.

Would have been a sweet mat return if SOMEONE didn’t grab the cage.

As Dzamikhov tired and became flat-footed, it was light work for Omar to enter and finish on clean shots.

And he gets right to face-punching, my man.

–vs. Shyudi Yamauchi–

It was no secret Yamauchi wanted to fight on the ground. However, Omar’s shots came so quickly, most of the time Yamauchi didn’t have time to react and pull guard on his terms.

Shyudi had literally zero effective offense in this fight.

Pass and Smash

The obvious remaining question is, does he “smesh” like Khabib? While a bantamweight could never hope to generate that life-ending power, the answer is essentially, yes.

While at times he is content to hang out in guard, Omar Nurmagomedov is a smooth operator on the floor. Check out his buttery guard passing, wrist trapping, and ground assault tactics.

–vs. Seunghyun Cho–

A noteworthy detail in Omar’s game is the pass starts before the takedown is even complete. Often, Nurmagomedov will already be stacking or isolating a leg as they hit the ground. There have been instances where this opens a submission threat, but his defense is more than competent.

Look Ma, no hooks!

–vs. Rishat Kharisov–

Rishat Kharisov came the closest of anyone in Omar’s pro career to securing a takedown. But of course, he was out-scrambled and pinned to the ground. Observe the small adjustments Omar makes to pass to new positions. The level of control and attention to detail is something to behold from an inexperienced fighter.

Many fighters will use the cage to stand up from the turtle position. Omar wedges his knee in to move Kharisov off the cage and flattens him to side control.

Then comes the “smesh.” A neverending stream of ground and pound forces Nurmagomedov’s opponents to either open up, or quit. The end came from a guillotine turned front choke.

No one can be quite sure what hell is like, but trapped underneath a marauding Nurmagomedov is probably a close bet.

–vs. Alym Isabaev–

Even against the “world champion grappler” Isabaev, Omar was able to trap wrists and pound away for the stoppage.

Stop it anytime you want, ref. No pressure.

–vs. Valisher Rakhmonov–

When his opponent is actively looking to escape the position, the end remains inevitable.

Is he…sticking his tongue out at him?

–vs. Shyudi Yamauchi–

Most impressively against Yamauchi, primarily a guard player, Omar was able to pass and control positions with relative ease. Constant scrambling and hip mobility make Nurmagomedov’s ground motion a nightmare.

“Omar needs a lot of work on his ground game.” -Khabib

All Aboard the Warwagon

Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov is a savvy coach, and will likely take his time developing Omar. At just 22 years old, he will continue to improve and become a fixture for Fight Nights, and the Russian MMA scene as a whole.

It is a near-certainty that someday, Cousin Omar will make a UFC run. If his current trajectory is any indication, he’s going straight to the top.

Waste no time in climbing aboard the war wagon, you can check out most of the referenced bouts on the Fight Nights Youtube page. War Omar.

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Ed is a fan of the finer things in combat sports. Low kicks, inside trips and chokes from front headlock are a few of the techniques near and dear to his heart.

When interviewing fighters, Ed is most interested in learning their philosophies and the thoughts behind their in-competition processes.

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