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Shavkat Rakhmonov Faces Toughest Test of his Career at UFC Vegas 57

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The undefeated Shavkat Rakhmonov returns this weekend at UFC Vegas 57 and faces the toughest test of his career. Taking on Neil Magny, the two will clash in the co-main event and the fight will be pivotal in the landscape of the welterweight division. Currently ranked #15, Rakhmonov will look to continue his undefeated run by getting the better of #10 Neil Magny.

Step Up in Competition for Rakhmonov

At 3-0 in the UFC thus far, Rakhmonov has looked flawless. He entered his debut with an impressive record of 12-0, all of which have come via finish. He was the former M-1 Global welterweight champion and came into the UFC with huge hype around him. What we didn’t realise about Rakhmonov is just how well-rounded he is. Debuting in 2020 against Alex Oliveira, Rakhmonov finished the fight in the first round via guillotine.

He took on Michel Prazeres in his second bout and yet again the fight ended via submission, this time in the second round. He dominated the fight for as long as it lasted, outlanding his opponent 21-6 on significant strikes. He then clashed with Carlston Harris, where he gained a performance of the night bonus for a first-round knockout.

All of his fights during his career have finished inside the distance and he’s only entered the third round once. Opposite him, Neil Magny is extremely used to extending the fight late. Known for his incredible gas tank, Magny can utilise his superior experience to try and fight at a high pace, testing Rakhmonov in a way that he is yet to be tested before.

Magny has been a stalwart of the UFC since 2013, headlining three events and facing some of the best names the sport has had to offer. Rafael dos AnjosDemien MaiaRobbie Lawler and Carlos Condit are just some of the names on his record. He’s gone the distance 18 times and has never appeared to be fatigued in a fight, showing just how impressive his cardio is. He has gone the full 15-minute distance in his last five 3-round fights and gone 25 minutes against Michael Chiesa in January of last year.

Tale of the Tape – Indicators to Victory

Magny holds a two-inch height and three-inch reach advantage over Rakhmonov and should look to use this to his advantage. What’s impressive is that Magny not only has the height and reach over his opponent but more often than not, he uses that advantage well. He fights long and should be looking to do this against ‘Nomad’. Teep kicks, jabs and interrupting the attacks of Rakhmonov before he manages to get into his rhythm are all things that Magny can do to gain victory.

He looks to land takedowns often, averaging 2.37 per fight, however, Rahmonov has a 100% takedown defence in the UFC. Again, this is something that Magny can look to utilise as we are yet to see Rakhmonov fight off his back. If Magny can put him into these uncomfortable positions, he can look to fatigue his opponent and work his dominant style.

It’s clear that Rakhmonov has devastating power, finishing eight of his 15 fights via knockout. We’ve seen Magny susceptible to leg kicks throughout his career, especially against Santiago Ponzinibbio. The Argentine brutalised the legs of Magny and massively hampered his movement. He shouldn’t be too concerned about this against the Uzbekistan native, however. Rakhmonov has only landed four total leg kicks during his three UFC fights thus far.

Keys to Victory for Rakhmonov

  • Get inside early, look to clinch and control Magny and work trip takedowns. Chiesa was able to take Magny down and control his for upwards of 15 minutes during their main event and this is a clear hole in the American’s game
  • Mix it up using leg kicks. We know that Magny is susceptible to leg kicks and Rakhmonov rarely throws them. Adding that strike to his arsenal is certainly something that could take his game to the next level. Taking away the base of Magny will prevent him from keeping the fight at length and working the jab. Working at Sandford MMA will certainly help take Rakhmonov’s game to the next level
  • Be active. Although he is yet to go deep in a fight and we’re unsure of his cardio or his endurance, we can assume that he’s well prepared. Magny absorbs just 2.57 strikes per minute and Rakhmonov needs to overwhelm him and land more often on his opponent. This will prevent Magny from getting into his groove and will arguably take him by surprise. We’ve seen Rakhmonov land just 2.94 strikes per minute, but if he increases this, he’ll likely catch Magny off guard. Magny is also a notoriously slow starter, losing the first round in each of his last three fights, so being aggressive early will benefit the undefeated future star.
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Frazer is a 24 year old MMA and boxing enthusiast from Coventry, England. You can follow Frazer on twitter @Frazer_Krohn

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