If you watched UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs. Strickland, you were able to catch Shavkat Rakhmanov‘s devastating first-round knockout of Carlston Harris. Rakhmanov has tallied a record of 15-0 (3-0 in the UFC) with a 100% finish rate and has established himself among the top prospects in not only the welterweight division but in the entire UFC. With Rakhmanov officially entering the UFC welterweight rankings many believe it’s now time for him to face a step up in competition. We all want to see the eventual matchup versus Khamzat Chimaev, but that is a fight both fighters should eventually work towards at a later time. Can you imagine how massive that fight would be for both Russia and Kazakhstan area? Whew.
Below are three potential opponents for Rakhmanov:
Geoff Neal was initially projected as someone who could challenge for a UFC title but after losing two of his last three fights to higher-ranked opponents, Neal could see himself having to fight lower-ranked competition in order to keep his spot in the top 15. Enter Shavkat Rakhmanov. This would be a great measuring stick for the 27-year-old and a true test to see if Rakhmanov is indeed a prospect that we should all be excited about.
Similar to Neal, “The Leech” is another fighter who’s coming off of a tough loss. Li Jinliang got absolutely mauled by Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 267 and could very well be having to fight “lower competition” in order to keep his ranking. Jingliang might face similar issues against Shavkat Rakhmanov, as Rakhmanov has proven that he can not only strike with the best of them but is a more than capable grappler as well. This one could be a very fun fight.
Although Sean Brady‘s ranked within the top 10, I would love to see Brady and Rakhmanov grapple with each other. In case you missed it, Brady defeated Danaher Death Squad member, Craig Jones in a grappling match at Fury Grappling 3, which only further legitimizes the Philly native’s skills as a grappler. Although Brady is likely looking to fight higher ranked competition, this would be a great opportunity for Rakhmanov if they’re looking to fast track the young prospect. Let’s also not forget that both fighters are undefeated, which would only add to the intrigue of the matchup. I can dream, can’t I?
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