This one is going to be fun.
Russian featherweight Zabit Magomedsharipov has announced himself as one of the top prospects in the UFC’s 145-pound fold, running roughshod through six successive opponents to increase his career record to an impressive 18-1. Much like so many of his compatriots, Magomedsharipov can count on a robust grappling and submission game but one of the areas in which the tall featherweight seems to shine more so than some of his countrymen is with the flashy range of unorthodox strikes he can employ.
However, much of the above paragraph could also be written about Zabit’s rumoured upcoming opponent Yair Rodriguez. The Mexican fighter also has an admirable range of flashy strikes in his arsenal, such as the sublime spinning elbow he used to KO Chan Sung Jung in (literally) the final second of their five-round bout 18 months ago.
Both Zabit and Yair have been linked with one another in the past, with injury scuppering an initial matchup set for UFC 228 but with both men now healthy, and in fantastic form, we will see exactly what happens when these two square off with another at the main event of UFC Fight Night 176 on August 29 from the UFC Apex.
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The winner of this fight will jump to the top of the queue for featherweight title contention in a division which currently doesn’t have an obvious top contender. UFC president Dana White has suggested that a THIRD successive fight between champion Alex Volkanovski and former champ Max Holloway is a possibility — but there is no doubt that a win for either Zabit or Yair, and particularly an impressive one, could sway the matchmakers’ thinking.