Janibek vs. Mikhailovic Breakdown

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It’s another stacked Saturday in the world of combat sports. While the UFC is on the road in Denver for another UFC Fight Night card, the promotion’s home city once again plays host to a Saturday night of championship boxing. Bob Arum‘s Top Rank sets up shop inside Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Live coverage of this night of pugilism begins at 6:40 pm ET/ 3:40 pm PT in both English and Spanish on ESPN+. All told, barring any postponed or cancelled fights between now and Saturday, the final version of this card features nine contests.

Highlighting the night’s activities is a battle for the IBF and WBO Middleweight Championships in the main event of the evening.

Janibek Takes on Mikhailovic for Middleweight Gold Saturday Night

Incumbent IBF and WBO Middleweight Champion Janibek Alimkhanuly (15-0, 10 KOs) takes on challenger and No. 3 IBF middleweight contender Andrei Mikhailovic (21-0, 13 KOs), who is also the No. 10 WBO middleweight contender. These men have a combined 36-0 record with 23 knockouts heading into this championship fight.

This is a 12-round fight at three minutes per round to close the show.

Fighter Comparison and Betting Odds

Heading into this middleweight title bout, both men stand level in height (5-foot-11 1/2.) Mikhailovic owns a three-inch reach advantage (74 1/2 inches to 71 1/2 inches) over Alimkhanuly.

Currently, the oddsmakers have Janibek Alimkhanuly installed as a -1800 favorite on the money line, with Andrei Milhailovic countering as a +1000 underdog. If you plan on betting on this or any other fight happening in combat sports this weekend, please wager responsibly.

Janibek Sticking to Gameplan Ahead of Defense of Belts

Janibek Alimkhanuly has yet to lose in his professional career. Last time out, he stopped Vincenzo Gualtieri (22-1-1, 7 KOs) with a sixth-round TKO in Rosenberg, TX on Oct. 14, 2023 to claim the IBF belt. making Saturday’s headliner in Las Vegas the first time he’s defending both the WBO and IBF titles.

After an open sparring session for credentialed media, Alimkhanuly spoke, through his translator, to Manouk Akopyan regarding his plan of attack for Saturday night.

“I’m not going to change everything I was [doing in] training,” Alimkhanuly said. “I think I’m not going to make any big changes at this fight.”

Later, he talked about his adversary in the person of Andrei Milhailovic.

“I’m ready for the fight,” he continued. “I’m not expecting something special from Milhailovic. For sure, we are ready for the fight.”

Alimkhanuly’s plans to keep his playbook as-is for the main event on Saturday night could prove to be advantageous for the champ as he seeks to defend both middleweight straps. He doesn’t necessarily need to add new tactics to the playbook, either.

Two fights ago, he scored a second-round TKO in Stockton, CA after Steven Butler was dropped three times in the period. Only time will tell if the same or similar outcome takes place this weekend.

Mikhailovic Ready For Second Fight in Under Three Months

In the other corner, Andrei Mikhailovic is undefeated in his own right. Most recently, he finished Les Sherrington (39-18, 23 KOs) in the first round from Hordern Pavilion in Sydney, Australia. For the challenger, Saturday’s fight is the first appearance on United States soil in his young career.

Mikhailovic was a guest on The Morning Shiftwhere he discussed his personality, among other topics.

“I was lucky,” the challenger began. “I’m good-looking [with] blonde hair and blue eyes. When I turned pro, we did not have that sort of stuff in New Zealand. We had a lot of Pacific Island [people.] I was like ‘(Bleep) it, I’m going to wear pink shorts, have blonde hair and blue eyes. Let’s see how horrible this could be. What’s the worst that could happen?’ To be honest, from my pro debut, I caused a stir in New Zealand boxing.”

Can he cause a stir on the world stage this weekend? Tune in and find out.

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

With these contestants combining for 23 knockouts, this should be one of the more entertaining fights you’ll see all summer long.

Janibek Vicious With Left Hands

When you sit down to watch Janibek Alimkhanuly work his magic on Saturday night, pay close attention when he throws a left-handed punch. He’s began the road to a TKO victory with lefts before, such as his fight last year against Canada’s Steven Butler in Stockton, CA.

About a minute into the second round, he wobbled Butler with a left-handed uppercut and some left hooks to drop him for the first time in the period. From there, Butler absorbed another barrage of jabs with a left hand for the second knockdown before finishing him off to stay with another uppercut.

If Janibek Alimkhanuly gets those left-handed shots going quickly, this main event will be over in expedient fashion.

Mikhailovic Can Get the Job Done Quickly, Too

In the other corner, Andrei Mikhailovic is likewise aiming for a quick night at the office. Just look at his fight vs. King Davidson from D&L Boxing in April of 2022.

Despite a slight delay to the beginning of the fight due to the onsite physician not being available at ringside, business picked up briskly. Mikhailovic stalked Davidson before scoring with a jab, followed by Davidson responding with jabs of his own.

Mikhailovic then moved in and peppered Davidson with a right hand to send him down to the canvas. While King Davidson got back up, he walked to his corner before his team threw in the towel.

Andrei Mikhailovic is an explosive fighter as we’ve seen on film. All it takes is just one punch to end the night.

Final Thoughts

Although we’re about one week past the Fourth of July inside the United States, Saturday’s Top Rank main event could bring plenty of fireworks.

Prediction: Janibek Alimkhanuly by Second-Round Knockout. 

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Drew Zuhosky has been writing about combat sports since May of 2018, coming to MMASucka after stints at Overtime Heroics and Armchair All-Americans. A graduate of Youngstown State University in Youngstown, OH, Drew is a charter member of the Youngstown Press Club. Prior to beginning his professional career, Drew was a sportswriter for YSU's student-run newspaper, The Jambar, where he supplied Press Box Perspective columns every week.