The legalization of French MMA has opened the door to many exciting new prospects, but few are more dynamic than welterweight Baysangur Chamsoudinov (5-0). Though he has achieved notoriety for his relentless obsession with the classic martial arts manga “Baki the Grappler”, Chamsoudinov’s own abilities are fact, not fiction.
Chamsoudinov has recently gotten two wins in ARES FC, including one over the then-undefeated Welshman Bobby Pallett. Since he took very aggressive strategies in both, one built around his striking and the other his wrestling, and both went to decision, we have a lot of material to work with when it comes to understanding his game.
Baysangur “Baki” Chamsoudinov Is on the Rise
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Chamsoudinov the Striker – Liquid Jabs
Unusually for a quick and physical younger prospect, Chamsoudinov’s style is very rangy as opposed to hunting for finishes. Chamsoudinov’s two best weapons are his jab and his front kick. Since he throws his jab very hard, his opponents are quick to try and parry it. This is where he can get them reacting to his constant jab feints, creating other openings.
Sometimes he brings in a leaping wide left hook that has a similar range to his jab. If an opponent makes sure to guard against jabs down the center, the hook can go around their guard and clock them on the chin.
Chamsoudinov does not tend to put a lot of strikes together in combination. Even when he does throw his right, he does not tend to set it up with his jab. It would be interesting to see him eventually develop this area of his game, since having a good jab means that he can start to build off of it. His blistering hand speed would also make combinations attractive to his game and worth pursuing.
The Front Kick
As for his front kick, what makes it so impressive is where he lands it. The front kick to the body, whether thrown with a snap or a push, is a common ranged weapon in MMA that many fighters employ. But the front kick to the head is an entirely different matter. Usually thrown with a snap, this kick has an extremely small window to land on the chin.
There have been several famous front-kick knockouts in MMA history: Silva over Belfort, Machida over Couture, and more recently Chandler over Ferguson. But finding the distance and precision to land a front kick to the head is difficult. As a result, these knockouts mainly came from the surprise factor – the foot swinging up like an uppercut from underneath the field of vision.
Therefore, Chamsoudinov landing multiple front kicks to the head in the same fight speaks volumes about his potential as a striker. Even moreso, how he is able to build off of this weapon after establishing it. Chamsoudinov uses a modified question mark kick that comes up like a front kick and then turns into a roundhouse to the head. The front kick to the head is difficult to defend in normal circumstances. But this question mark kick allows Chamsoudinov to snake around the guard of an opponent who is wary of attacks from up the middle, just like his hook.
Chamsoudinov sometimes ends up standing directly in front of his opponent after a leaping left hook. This looking at his work will get him in trouble sooner rather than later. But if Chamsoudinov has a real Achilles heel on the feet, it is easily his defensive footwork. Multiple times Chamsoudinov has been backed up to the fence by opponents. This can crumple his range and make the battle one where his best tools are much less useful.
Chamsoudinov can rely on his wrestling and athleticism to bail himself out of tough situations against inferior opposition. However, he will need to improve his footwork quickly for when he starts to meet physical peers and better grapplers.
Chamsoudinov the Grappler
As a grappler, Chamsoudinov is not quite as dynamic as he is on the feet. However, he still shows a lot of potential. He is definitely very visibly, physically strong but seems to prefer clinch takedowns to shots. Since he fights at a longer range, this means that he can end up bull-rushing his opponents to get them into a clinch. As a result, his grappling is primarily good as a panic button when he has been forced into a clinch by his opponent.
Those clinch takedowns are impressively effective; however, with Chamsoudinov showing the judo trips that could be expected with his Chechen name and French address. Once he gets his opponent down, Chamsoudinov tends to work from guard rather than trying to pass to half-guard or mount. Normally this would be dangerous and expose the fighter to submissions. Chamsoudinov crushes his opponents against the cage in order to make submissions much more difficult.
However, this does not feel like an optimal tactic for a fighter who relies on trips. Trips tend to lead a fighter to have a higher chance of getting into a passed guard right from the get-go than shots. While cage crushing eliminates the possibility of submissions from guard, it also makes wall-walking easier.
It also means that he needs to make more wrestling entries per round. Since Chamsoudinov’s entries are not always safe, this raises the chance of him getting clocked on his entry attempt. As he started to tire against Pallet in the third round after two heavy rounds of wrestling, he got cracked with some big southpaw left hands. Though Chamsoudinov eventually got the fight to the ground once again, it’s something to consider.
The Future of French MMA
This criticism definitely should not be overstated by any means. Chamsoudinov’s wrestling, in terms of fence grinding, takedowns, and top control, has shown to be very good for someone only five pro fights in. And while there are definitely young prospects who have displayed better offensive wrestling, it is the variety of threats overall that make Chamsoudinov notable at such an early stage in his career.
Certainly, Chamsoudinov has a lot of room to grow, but as a 21-year-old he is already a very promising prospect and has the time to round out his game and become someone genuinely dangerous.