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Shavkat Rakhmonov vs. Neil Magny full fight preview | UFC Vegas 57

UFC 254: Oliveira v Rakhmonov Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight talents Shavkat Rakhmonov and Neil Magny will go to war this weekend (Sat., June 25, 2022) at UFC Vegas 57 inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Rakhmonov may not have generated as much instant hype as a certain “Chechen Wolf,” but three fights into his UFC career, he’s looked every bit as talented. The former M-1 champion has been dispatching opponents with complete ease, showcasing dynamic skills in all areas. All that said, he’s never faced a foe quite like Neil Magny. Always the first man to jump on unenviable match ups and thrive despite the betting odds, Magny is Welterweight’s most stalwart veteran.

This bout will determine whether or not Rakhmonov is the real deal, so let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 79 On ESPN+

HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

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Shavkat Rakhmonov

Record: 15-0
Key Wins: Alex Oliveira (UFC 254), Michel Prazeres (UFC Vegas 30), Carlson Harris (UFC Vegas 47)
Key Losses: None
Keys To Victory: A Master of Sport in both Combat Sambo and mixed martial arts (MMA), Kazakhstan’s Rakhmonov very much looks the part of a future world champion. He’s huge for the Welterweight division, which only makes his combination of powerful distance kickboxing and top-notch wrestling more brutal for his opponents.

The strategy here could not be more obvious: avoid the clinch. Though Rakhmonov’s own build will likely help mitigate the clinch wrestling style Magny likes to utilize, it’s still not a position Rakhmonov wants to find himself. Magny is too crafty from there, too good at sucking his opponents into the exact type of fight that Magny wins.

At distance, the veteran is far more vulnerable. Rakhmonov is a majorly explosive striker, a far more damaging hitter than Magny. In addition, Magny has shown a weakness to heavy kicks at distance, notably from men like Lorenz Larkin and Santiago Ponzinibbio. Rakhmonov has the tools to blast Magny at range with calf kicks and spinning strikes alike, and when Magny does try to press forward, he’s one hell of a counter striker.

Neil Magny

Record: 26-8
Key Wins: Kelvin Gastelum (UFC Fight Night 78), Johny Hendricks (UFC 207), Hector Lombard (UFC Fight Night 85), Carlos Condit (UFC 219), Geoff Neal (UFC Vegas 26), Li Jingliang (UFC 248), Robbie Lawler (UFC Vegas 8)
Key Losses: Santiago Ponzinibbio (UFC Fight Night 140), Michael Chiesa (UFC Fight Island 8), Demian Maia (UFC 190), Rafael dos Anjos (UFC 215), Lorenz Larkins (UFC 202)
Keys to Victory: Magny is a really unique fighter. He uses his lankiness at distance with long combinations of double jabs and crosses, often shifting stances to land. He does his best work in the clinch, where Magny is a major threat with both strikes and takedowns.

The clinch is Magny’s refuge in this match up. He’s outmatched at distance, particularly early in the fight while Rakhmonov is still so quick. Inside the small UFC Apex cage, Magny has to be focused on pressing his foe towards the fence as quickly as possible, because this is a much more even match up once the two are tied up.

Sure, Rakhmonov has the wrestling to perhaps toss Magny in the clinch, but that’s not a huge deal. If the two are wrestling back-and-forth, Magny is getting the type of fight he wants. All the physical talent and skill in the world means little once fatigued, and few are better at forcing grueling wars of attrition than Magny once he’s able to play his game.

Bottom Line

One of the division’s best prospects faces its most established gatekeeper.

Rakhmonov is special. He’s a dynamic finisher with great physical gifts and technical skills. UFC is typically slow to promote Eastern European athletes who don’t speak English, but when you’re trucking people like “Nomad,” well, exceptions are made. If Rakhmonov continues his winning ways here, he’ll break into the Top 10 and be deserving of a marquee match up next — perhaps his first main event slot?

As for Magny, it’s always going to be tough to shake that gatekeeper label this deep into his career as a Welterweight contender. That said, victory here would make it three in a row and six of his last seven. Knocking off a highly regarded prospect like Rakhmonov counts for something, so perhaps that would be enough to earn him a opportunity to climb the ladder rather than fight down.

At UFC Vegas 57, Shavkat Rakhmonov and Neil Magny will collide in the co-main event. Which man will earn the victory?

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 57 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN2/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (on ESPN/ESPN+) at 10 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 57: “Tsarukyan vs. Gamrot” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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