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 fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.
In the COVID-era, long layoffs have become part of the story on nearly every card. While there are always some hesitations when looking at someone who has been away for nearly two years, we have one this week that we think needs a bit more attention.
Affiliation – Tristar MMA
From – Quebec, Canada
Height – 5’8″
Weight – 135 lbs (Bantamweight)
Record – 7-2 (1-2 UFC)
What makes him impressive
Maybe it is a bit unsurprising being the little brother of one of the great coaches in the sport, but Aiemann’s cage intelligence is really what separates him from other fighters. He cuts angles off extremely well and does a great job at getting fighters to engage in the type of fight he wants. Perhaps the best example of this was his loss to Ricardo Ramos. Although Ramos landed a Hail Mary spinning elbow KO as the fight was nearly over, Zahabi had forced Ramos to move backwards for the majority of the fight. Even the knockout blow came with Ramos retreating and in a bad position.
Why he has been overlooked
After losing a fight he was, by all accounts, winning against Ricardo Ramos, he followed that up with another tough loss to Vince Morales. If two straight losses isn’t enough to kill the hype, he then was on the shelf for various reasons over a nearly two year span. These facts make it pretty hard to imagine that anybody would really be waiting for his return. However, as someone who lives at the gym (literally) and has all of that time with one of the top coaches in the game, you have to imagine that he’s making huge improvements.
What makes this a good match-up
In his Contender Series fight, Drako Rodriguez got the takedown shortly into the fight. While this ultimately led to him getting a triangle choke submission, it is due to the fact that he was fairly easily reversed in position. He used that transition to capitalize on the sloppiness of his opponent. Fighting a cerebral guy like Zahabi, it’s unlikely that Rodriguez will find those mistakes. It’s also harder to imagine him taking the fight right where he wants it to be.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 212-96-1 (2 NC) (13 DNF)
(The MMA Manifesto is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com)