The Prelim Breakout Star is a once per event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented guy on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
Many people complained when the UFC expanded their insurance coverage to fighters. While everyone knew it was important to protect the fighters, many argued that fighters were dropping out of fights far too quickly knowing they’d be compensated. This weeks Prelim Breakout Star is one who has greatly benefited from the new policy. Injured many times, the hype train on this fighter has been derailed. However, now that he’s healthy, some would say thanks to the UFC’s policy, he’s ready to take back some of that spotlight.
Nickname – The Killer
Affiliation – Blackzilians
From – Kabul, Afghanistan
Height – 5’11”
Weight – 170 lbs (Welterweight)
Record – 21-5-1 (1-1 UFC)
What makes him impressive
Leading up to his UFC debut, Bahadurzada had quite the reputation following him around. A Shooto champion at 185 lbs, he had knocked out five of his last six opponents, including four in a row. This one-punch knockout power had been on display for some time, but he had yet to finish someone of real significance, unless you count UFC and Bellator veteran John Alessio. However, only 42 seconds into his own UFC debut, he put Paulo Thiago to sleep with a right hand. Even more impressive is the fact that he delivered this punch from his heels as Thiago rushed forward.
Although he is a master of the short fight, Siyar is also able to go the distance. After watching fights like his with Robert Jocz, it is impossible to question his gas tank. This is vitally important as his opponent this weekend often brings the fight the distance.
Why he’s been overlooked
After building quite a bit of hype, Bahadurzada lost a decision to expert grappler Dong Hyun Kim. While this exposed a weakness in Siyar, many still had high hopes for his return. This return though, has been nine months in the making. Injury after injury has caused the hype to simmer, making it imperative that he makes a big impression come Saturday.
What makes this a good matchup
While John Howard has shown impressive grappling, it is nowhere near the skills of Dong Hyun Kim. It takes a lot to get inside of Siyar, which is likely to be what Howard will be trying. If Howard gets too reckless trying to clinch to get the takedown, he’ll catch more than a few shots in the process. With Bahadurzada, it only takes a couple to turn the lights out.
Daniel Vreeland is a writer and teacher with an avid love for martial arts. He has practiced jiu jitsu and submission grappling under and next to many top names including Royce Gracie, Rousimar Palhares, Murilo Bustamante and Marco Alvan. He has placed in multiple NAGA grappling tournaments and currently trains under black belt Dave Roy in Amherst, MA.