Dana White's Contender Series

Shamil Gaziev – UFC’s Newest Heavyweight Prospect

Image for Shamil Gaziev – UFC’s Newest Heavyweight Prospect

Dana White’s Contender Series has been a goldmine of talent for the UFC ever since its inception in 2017. There is now a whole host of talent making up the current roster from the contender series. This includes current champion Sean O’Malley and former Light Heavyweight champ Jamahal Hill. Fans watching the most recent addition of the Contender Series this Tuesday may have seen the next in a long line of established fighters to arise from the promotion.

UFC Finds New Heavyweight Blood in Shamil Gaziev

Shamil Gaziev is a heavyweight from Dagestan who most recently came out on top against Greg Velasco in the Contender Series with a first round finish via Rear Naked Choke. Velasco is a Cage Fury champion who entered the contest with a pretty 6-0 record. Yet, Gaziev ran through the American and picked up the finish within the first three minutes of the contest. Gaziev has also defeated former UFC Light Heavyweight Darko Stosic whom he emphatically KO’d earlier this year in the first round. 

After the win against Velasco, Gaziev has improved his own record to a perfect 11-0. Ten of these fights have resulted in finishes with seven knockouts and three submissions. Clearly a well-rounded fighter, Gaziev possesses high level wrestling, as do most who come from Dagestan. His impressive height and size have also given him serious power with both hands and training with Ciryl Gane has improved his striking to a level that makes him a real threat on the feet. His lone win by decision comes to former GLORY kickboxer and fellow MMA prospect Kirill Kornilov who himself is 15-1-1, with his only loss coming to Gaziev. 

After defeating the best heavyweights in promotions such as BRAVE CF and Ares FC and now gaining a first round finish in the Contender Series, it seems that the UFC has the newest heavyweight addition to their roster. Time will tell if he can live up to the hype but for now it certainly appears that we have a future contender on our hands. 

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