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.
Nickname – The Professional
Affiliation – K-Dojo
From – Nalchik, Russia
Height – 5’10”
Weight – 205 lbs (Light Heavyweight)
Record – 10-0 (0-0, UFC)
What makes him impressive
Although Murzakanov is your typical Russian prospect in terms of his wrestling abilities, that’s actually not even the most impressive part of his game. The power he brings behind his left hand is incredible and comes from all angles. While he usually uses it with a big, overhand left, the lead left uppercut has put people away as well. We saw this when he won the Brave CF openweight tournament with a KO of Mohammad Fakhreddine. Although Fakhreddine isn’t a household name, he is still a top-level talent and a nice name for Murzakanov’s resume.
Why he has been overlooked
Murzakanov is another off of the Contender Series. While that used to be a place where we got hyped on tons of prospects, I think Dana White took that away a bit this year when he seemingly gave contracts away like Halloween candy. In addition, the debut of Murzakanov lost a little luster when he was forced to take a late notice replacement in Jared Vanderaa up a weight class. He’ll now debut at heavyweight instead of his typical light heavyweight. The change in weight class has seen him go from a -250 favorite (as he was against Philipe Lins) and now is just a -230 favorite (Odds courtesy of FanDuel).
What makes this a good match-up
Vanderaa has really struggled to stop the takedown since he came to the UFC. In his time with the organization, he has just a 20% takedown defense and has been finished twice with ground and pound. Add in that he was on his back on Contender Series as well and it really doesn’t bode well for him against someone like Murzakanov.
Prelim Breakout Star Record: 234-109-1 (2 NC) (13 DNF)
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