Caucuses Top Ten Prospects to Watch

John Danaher mentions the Caucuses as the talent richness of wrestling on the Joe Rogan Experience while taking about Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Conor McGregor.

Khabib put Dagestan on the map showing how many world class fighters Dagestan breeds.

Surrounding countries of Russia followed and now we have incredible fighters like Khamzat Chimaev, Arman Tsarukyan, Merab Dvalishvili, Ilia Topuria and Tofig Musayev.

Plenty more fighters to come who just need that recognition, Fighting on Eagle FC, Professional Fighters League, Rizin.

Hopefully a list can help.

Caucasus countries – Russia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkey and Iran.

Yusuf Raisov

Watch out for this KILLER in 2022. Former ACB Featherweight Champion. Dominating fighters like Luis Palomino, former Ultimate Fighter Andre Winner.

Successful record of 19-2 and wins speaks for itself.

Sick and tired of cutting weight decided to move up to Lightweight. At ACA 138 defeated Hacran Dias former UFC fighter win over Iuri Alcantrara and Darren Elkins.

Raisov proven time and time again he can defeat former UFC fighters in dominant fashion.

Yusuf Raisov born and raised in Grozny, Russia one day will fight for the UFC, Bellator, One Championship.


  • Pressuring forward
  • Controlling range
  • Kickboxing ability (Moving forward throwing strikes than fast kicks)
  • Wrestling by far his best skill
  • Good Jiu-Jitsu defense against Hacran Dias
  • Strength and size for a Featherweight and Lightweight
  • Conditioning
  • Will to Win


  • Lack of caution inside pocket
  • Striking defense
  • Takes unnecessary shots

Rustam Kerimov

Former ACA Bantamweight Champion chasing back his title in 2022. Not only the best Russian bantamweight prospect but one of the best prospects in the world.

He’s an amazing talent that the world needs to see.

Dagestan breeds some of the best fighters in the world.

Became aware of Kerimov during his two year layoff from 2019-2021. Watching his wins against former UFC Fighter Takeya Mizugaki and masterful performance against Abdul-Rakhman Dudaev in his first ACA title defense.


  • Wrestling ability
  • Ground & Pound beating
  • Pushing forward, Controlling Pace
  • Kickboxing Ability
  • Fighter IQ
  • Understand when to shoot, Strike,
  • Pop in his hands

Rustam Kerimov is the man, He deserves to fight for UFC, Bellator, One Championship, Eagle FC. Getting paid six figures and rising to the top of the Bantamweight division.

Amiran Gogoladze

#1 Middleweight prospect out of the Caucasus and one of the best prospects coming out of Europe.

Born and raised in Georgia is on a two fight winning streak after losing to Handesson Ferreeira former PFL Fighter at UAE Warriors 29.

Even though he lost showed character he’s willing to test himself against a good fighter. Amiran is 24 years old while Ferreira is in his prime at 33 years old.

Time to make the small adjustments that make you a winner instead of a loser against a former UFC, Bellator, PFL fighter.

Amiran biggest wins are against Ukranian fighter Pavel Kusch 24-8 fighter knocking him out in the first round. Gifted with a wicked right hand,

Nariman Abbasov

Azerbaijan is a growing nation for Mix Martial Arts. Bunch of killers from Tofiq Musayev, Vugar Karamov, Tural Ragimov.

Nariman Abbasov number one Welterweight prospect in the Caucasus region.

Abbasov doesn’t have the most impressive body of all time but a fearless swarmer, To be or be killed. Coming off the biggest win of his career by defeating “Dagestani” legend Shamil Zavurov.

Knocking out Abbasov in the first round.


  • Knock out power
  • Crazy Chin
  • Fearlessness
  • Continue to swarm and throw punches moving forward


  • Lack of craft and speed in his punches
  • Be or be killed mentality
  • First Round Cardio

Mehdi Dakaev

Eagle FC Lightweight Champion with two title defenses is a killer. Born in Dagestan, Close friends with Khabib. Khabib sitting ringside cheering for his friend.

Dakaev is red hot right now on a 7 fight winning streak, Best fights of 2021 was against Uzair Abdurakov. Highly recommend watching it, Back and forth striking battle. Dakaev showed how good he is physically and mentally.


  • Output combinations
  • Power behind his punches
  • Strength
  • High level Dagestan wrestling
  • Great Conditioning
  • Controlling the pace
  • Ability to take a shot but counter
  • Nasty leg kicks like Justin Gaethje

Watch out for Dakaev in 2022. Dream fight would be against Kevin Lee

Khabib’s close relationship with UFC and Bellator he can sign with either of them.

Islam Omarov

Extremely impressed with this young man of 24 years old. Caught my attention in the Bibert Tumenov fight at ACA 120.

Islam Omarov is an all-around Dagestani talent whose already one of the top 100 Featherweights in the world. Looking forward to Omarov making a run for ACA Featherweight title in 2022.


  • Offensive Wrestling
  • Kickboxing movement bouncing around pocket
  • Wrestling sprawls
  • Ability take punches

Needs to Improve

  • Kickboxing & Boxing output
  • Adding combinations to his striking instead of throwing ones
  • Defensive wrestling back against the cage
  • Conditioning
  • Ground and Pound

Work on what needs to improve and Islam Omarov will become one of the best Featherweights in the world. Make MMA training a lifestyle, Train Kickboxing with Alaverdi Ramazanov (Kickboxing Bantamweight Champion) and Dzhabar Askerov. ( Featherweight Kickboxing Champion)

Ayk Kazaryan

Armenia is gradually growing with talent, Only a matter of time when the Armenian wrestlers and kickboxers transition to Mix Martial Arts. Financially earning better money.

28 year old with a kickboxing style is a upcoming prospect that can become on the rise for 2022, Now fighting for ACA.

Last fight was his ACA debut on the prelims of ACA 139 . Definitely room for improvement but the fight showed promise in a back and forth scrap.

14-2 Bantamweight showed good Jiu-Jitsu defense as Sobirov would takedown Hayk successfully but he’d transition to top mount, Ground & pound with hard punches in separation. Love how he’d do spinning back kicks, Trying to throw off Sobirov.


  • Speed advantage stands out
  • Kickboxing
  • Jabs forward and backwards
  • Jiu-Jitsu defense

Needs to improve

  • Takedown defense back against cage
  • Striking defense
  • Controlling pace of fight
  • Learning how to take advantage of his speed best as possible similar to Cody Garbrandt.
  • Unafraid to throw

Muslim Magomedov

Easily one of the best Light Heavyweight prospects in the world. Current ACA Light Heavyweight Champion.

Born and raised in Dagestan, Sambo fighting style. Dominating competent Light Heavyweights with his pressure against the cage, Controlling the pace of the fight and mixing up with kicks just for distraction.

Appreciate the cage wrestling ability and the beautiful transitions on the ground.


  • High Level Sambo
  • Stupid Strength
  • Good speed for Light Heavyweight
  • Conditioning/ Cardio

Needs to improve

  • Kickboxing
  • Striking output
  • Ground & Pound
  • Improve his body shape I feel like he can become way better fighter

Vugar Karamov

Caught my eye at Rizin 21 facing Kyle Aguon. Dominating Kyle with his Pankration fighting style. Continuing to put pressure on Kyle for three rounds.

Pankration World Combat Games 2013 Finalist.

Vugar Karamov training partner with Tofiq Musayev. Head down at Sanford MMA with his Azerbaijan training partners.


  • Constant pressure
  • Ground & Pound Output
  • Heavy hands
  • Good conditioning
  • Solid Boxing
  • Smooth takedowns


  • Output
  • Hesitant to throw punches

Vugar Keramov can challenge Juntaro Ushiku for the Rizin Featherweight Title in 2022.

Ali Guliev

Azerbaijan YOUNG prospect is gonna make his name known in Brave CF, His debut was a first round KO against Rana Rudra Pratap Singh.

Extremely impressed with his fighting style and skills. Raw talent it’s only the beginning for him. I hope he continues to fight for Brave Comat Federation.


  • Jiu Jitsu
  • Unexpected KO power for a lean cut cut guy
  • Solid Ground & Pound

Weaknesses/ Needs to Improve

  • Needs to gain weight
  • More Output
  • Be less hesitant
  • Add more pressure

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