Comparing Starpower – Ian Machado Garry vs Movsar Evloev

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Off the back of a huge night at UFC 298, two divisions have been shuck up. Of course, we have the featherweight division, where Ilia Topuria knocked out the former champion, Alexander Volkanovski in devastating fashion to capture the belt, hand the Aussie his first loss at 145lbs and begin a new era in the division.

The welterweight division has also been shaken up somewhat with Dana White admitting that Leon Edwards had three different offers for UFC 300 and accepted them all, however, the Brit won’t be on the card as none of the fights materialised. This would suggest that there isn’t a clear #1 contender at welterweight. On top of this, Ian Garry picked up his 14th straight win and now holds the longest active winning run at 170lbs with seven.

Aside from Topuria, the only other undefeated top contender at featherweight is Movsar Evloev. Garry has a little more competition at welterweight with Shavkat Rakhmonov also undefeated.

We’re going to compare Garry and Evloev and why the Irishman appears to be the much bigger star despite not being as skilled.

Ian Machado Garry

Undefeated at 14-0, Ian Machado Garry entered the UFC with an awful lot of hype. 7-0 at the time, he was the CageWarriors welterweight champion, having finished five of seven fights on his way to the big leagues. To kick start his UFC career, he scored a knockout before being extended across the 15-minute distance twice. He then was able to overcome some adversity to score another knockout.

His breakout performance was against Daniel Rodriguez, where he knocked out the durable American in the second round.

At this point, it was clear the UFC wanted to push the Irishman as he made four straight PPV appearances before competing on a fight night card. It was back to the PPV cards for a dominant win over Neil Magny followed by his UFC 298 win over Geoff Neal.

The Neal performance in particular had fans and experts alike questioning whether The Future is actually worthy of the hype. He put in an extremely lacklustre performance against Neal at the weekend and called out the #5 ranked, Colby Covington following the victory.

But, even if he gets the Covington fight and wins, is he truly top-five calibre?


Skill-wise, Garry arguably isn’t top-five calibre, nor is he championship level (yet). Now that he has seemed to settle with a team (Chute Boxe), there’s a good chance that he can progress now and improve both his skills as well as his fight IQ. If he’s going to become a star (like Conor McGregor, Garry’s idol), he needs to start consistently finishing fights. Ahead of his undisputed title bout, McGregor had finished five of six fights, including five post-fight bonuses.

Garry, on the other hand, has just one post fight bonus, four decisions and three finishes. The finishing instinct doesn’t seem to be there. He appears to be too risk-averse, rather than going out there and actively searching for the finish. Against Magny, he had a number of opportunities to end the fight and appeared not to take them. Most recently against Neal, the Irishman put in a below-par performance and admitted post-fight that he was wary of the power of his opponent.

When he’s taken the step-up in competition, he’s not seemingly been able to continue his finishing instinct. This is something that he needs to get back if he’s going to be a megastar.


The personality of Garry is without a doubt something that makes him a star. From the casual MMA fan to the hardcore fan, everyone knows Ian Machado Garry. He’s got a personality that you either love or hate, there’s no in between. The whole ordeal with his wife during the UFC 296 fight week seemingly turned fans against him and after UFC 298, he’s leaning into the ‘heel’ persona.

He claimed he may become ‘too big’ to headline a fight night in Ireland, which personality wise, would work well. He likes the spotlight, he extremely good on the mic, has an interesting story as well as having reasonable skills to back it up.

The Future isn’t scared to wear his heart on his sleeve which has gained him a lot of fans but also a fair few ‘haters’. His personality is infectious for a fighter. You either tune in to watch him get a knock out or to get knocked out which could make him a star.

Movsar Evloev

Like Machado Garry, Russian Movsar Evloev is undefeated, however, holds a better record at 18-0 (8-0 in the UFC). With that being said, he is yet to finish a fight and has gone the full 15 minutes in every one of his UFC fights thus far. We know all too well that it’s difficult to really get over with fans unless you consistently finish fights. Leon Edwards struggled to get a title shot despite deserving it for a long time because he didn’t finish a lot of fights. At the moment, Belal Muhammad is due a welterweight title shot, however, fans aren’t excited to see him compete for the belt, so he may be ‘overtaken’.

Evloev is currently ranked #5 at featherweight, however, has only recently fought the elite of the division. His biggest win to date is against Arnold Allen, a man who is constantly in and around the top five.


Arguably the reason that Evloev isn’t finishing opponents as regularly as others is because of his wrestling-heavy style. The issue is that, despite his dominance in the wrestling game (4.75 takedowns per 15 minutes at an accuracy of 46%), he prefers to overwhelm opponents with control time, rather than damage.

His stand-up is solid. He lands an average of 4.43 significant strikes per minute and absorbs just 2.89 strikes per minute. Interestingly, pre-UFC, the Russian had seven finishes, which led to him collecting the M-1 Challenge bantamweight title. There have been opportunities for Evloev to finish fights, but similar to Garry, he’s been too risk-averse and played it safe.


Unfortunately for Evloev, this is where his overall game falls down. He doesn’t have a personality that ‘gets over’ with fans. He’s become more vocal on Twitter as of late, calling for a shot at the title, however, it isn’t enough. The casual fans don’t appear to be all that aware of who he is, nor do they care whether he wins or loses.

With over a million followers on Instagram, Evloev clearly has a following, but in the mainstream, he doesn’t seem to ‘get over’. Evloev has done the right thing by learning English in order to get over with fans but he must do more if he is to really be a hit and a future title contender. There’s a reason why some fighters get a title shot after just one win.


Skill for skill, pound for pound, Evloev is more well-rounded and better skilled than Garry.

Personality for personality, popularity and overall ‘pull’, Garry dominates Evloev.

Overall, each undefeated prospect could learn from the other. Garry needs to become more well-rounded and look to finish each and every fight, rather than playing it safe. Despite being well-rounded, Evloev also needs to look to finish fights.

Evloev would benefit from leaning into a heel persona. This way, he would, without a doubt become more of an interesting fighter to want to tune in for.

We could be seeing Evloev vs Topuria and Garry vs Rakhmanov in two battles of undefeated stars… but only if Garry and Evloev progress.

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Frazer Krohn has been with MMASucka for nearly 5 years. He is the host of the MMASucka podcast, which is released every Monday. He's the author of a series of six books about MMA, which were published in 2023.

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