Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight scrappers Zabit Magomedsharipov and Brandon Davis threw down last night (Sept. 8, 2018) at UFC 228 inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas.
Magomedsharipov has an incredible martial arts background, and those skills have carried into the cage both on the mat and at range. Three fights deep in his UFC career, “Zabeast” had picked up a trio of victories without much effort, but the competition level hasn’t been elite. An injury to his original foe meant that wouldn’t change at UFC 228, but Magomedsharipov did have another chance to build his highlight reel.
On the other hand, Davis is a prospect who has struggled to find consistent success in the Octagon. Luckily, he was also an exciting striker and willing to fight Magomedsharipov on short-notice, meaning he was able to jump on this opportunity.
Davis was unafraid of his opponent, opening with feints and hard low kicks. Magomedsharipov was unusually low activity, watching his opponent work and looking to counter on occasion. Though Davis was losing the boxing battle due to Magomedsharipov’s counter lefts, Davis was landing a huge number of low kicks that definitely were going to have an effect over time.
With about a minute remaining, Magomedsharipov ducked a wide hook and secured a takedown. He landed another big suplex with Davis stood back up, but otherwise Magomedsharipov wasn’t able to accomplish much with his late takedown.
Davis won the opening frame on my scorecard.
This time around, the Dagestani athlete went to the takedown immediately. After some resistance from Davis, Magomedsharipov forced him to his back with a clinch trip. Davis worked to scramble up, but Magomedsharipov hung onto him from the back clinch relentlessly.
Davis finally got back to his feet with two minutes remaining, and the pair were scrapping for just a moment before Magomedsharipov tripped him once more. This time, Magomedsharipov was able to put both hooks in. He hunted for the choke momentarily, but when Davis stood up in an attempt to shake him off the back, Magomedsharipov reached down a latched onto a leg.
For the second time that night, the MMA world witnessed a Suleov strech, a rare submission that hyper extends the hamstring or tweaks the knee depending on the positioning.
This is an odd fight to analyze quickly. On one hand, Magomedsharipov submitted his short-notice foe in extremely awesome fashion. At the same time, Magomedsharipov did not exactly look like a destroyer of worlds despite doing some unique stuff.
Perhaps he can be accused of being a slow starter, but Magomedsharipov did little on the feet in the opening round. He showed vulnerabilities to both low kicks and being placed along the fence — something strikers with better defensive wrestling will undoubtedly attempt to take advantage of. Once Magomedsharipov got loose in the second and began flowing into combos and kicks, he looked far more dangerous, but even then he quickly returned to his wrestling roots.
I don’t mean to sound hypercritical, but the man was a 14-1 favorite, so I think some criticism is deserved even if the overall performance was strong.
On the bright side, Magomedsharipov’s grappling is clearly world class. He times his takedowns very well — whether that’s trips in the open or grinding clinch takedowns. Once on top, his chain of wrist control to back mount is deadly, and that alone would score him plenty of victories.
Davis fought very well considering his situation. Frankly, I’m a proponent of trying to low kick the hell out of any supposedly untouchable striker — historically, it tends to throw ‘em off. Beyond that, Davis tried to get in his opponent’s face and do damage, showing the confidence required to pull off major upsets.
Unfortunately, his defensive wrestling let him down. Overall, he did a nice job of defending takedowns and fighting back to his feet. It was smart work from the kickboxer, but Magomedsharipov was clearly a level above Davis in any type of wrestling exchange.
Last night, Zabit Magomedsharipov continued his rise with a slick submission. Is Magomedsharipov a future champion?
For complete UFC 228: “Woodley vs. Till” results and play-by-play, click HERE!