Russia’s Top Ten Prospects 2023

Number one talent pool in the world has a country filled with world class talent fighting for ACA. Eagle Fighting Championship, AMC Fight Nights, Brave CF. M-1 Global. Incredible talent from Dagestan, Stary Oskol, Yekaterinburg, and all over Russia. I can write a list of top 50 Russian prospects and continue to search for fighters with potential to fight for major promotion.

Russia’s talent is unmatched compared to other nations. Combat Sambo, Wrestling, Pankration, Judo, Boxing honed into children’s brains from the 80’s and 90’s, Now seeing the success. Russian government funding academies & financial backing from businessman into gyms breeding champions.

Appreciate the talent coming out of Russia, Always will be paying attention to the #1 prospect nation in 2023 and beyond. Taking the throne from United States, Brazil and Japan.

1. Rustam Kerimov Bantamweight

ACA Bantamweight Champion once considered one of the best Bantamweights in the world from all the best MMA site. Incredible talent earned my pound for pound king spot because of the A+ skills from grappling, level changes striking to takedown, high motor.

Moving up to Featherweight for more challenges, aiming to win title in the talent stacked division. During his bantamweight run defeated Takeya Mizugaki, Current ACA Bantamweight Champion Oleg Borisov, Former king of ACA Bantamweight division Abdul Rakhman Dudaev (Best performance win),

Few years ago vacated his title to test free agency but came up short because ACA Sanctions. Unable to sign with UFC or Bellator unless he leaves to sign with Eagle FC.

Rustam Kerimov not only one of the best Bantamweights in the world he’s one of the best fighters in the world. I love watching him fight and having masterful performances against formidable opponents.

  • 17-0 record
  • Former ACA Bantamweight Champion
  • Wins over Takeya Mizugaki, Oleg Borisov
  • Top Bantamweight unsigned
  • Comparison- Kyoji Horiguchi, Petr Yan

2. Islam Omarov Featherweight

ACA Featherweight Title Challenger is one of the best prospects in the world. Top 15 Featherweight potential.

Hit my radar screen when Omarov fought Bibert Tumenov in back & forth scrap. Showed his promising future in this fight, Watched his last two fights against Yunosov & Rodrigues.

Canceled fights against Felipe Froes, Levan Makashvilli and ACA Featherweight Champion Alikhan Suleymanov. Bad luck for Islam Omarov in 2022 but I hope 2023 is different story.

Islam Omarov winning the ACA Featherweight Title, defending his title once maybe the Chechen Dictator releases him from his ACA contract and allows him to sign with UFC. Become one of the next big Russian star to climb up the UFC Featherweight Rankings.

Islam Omarov comparison- Chad Mendes. Similar fighting style & skills, Similar build, relies on wrestling, Explosive fighter, packs a punch, Strength is a surplus, Great conditioning, Relentless pressure.

Nonstop motor for this top ten prospect, Beautiful grappling transitions from different scenarios standing up to the floor. Islam is a beast reminds me of Arman Tsarukyan, Mateusz Gamrot, Merab Dvalishvili, Ilia Topuria.

  • 12-0 record 25 years old
  • ACA Featherweight Title Challenger
  • Comparison (Arman Tsarukyan)
  • Biggest Win against Bibert Tumenov brother of Albert Tumenov. SFT Featherweight Champion Marcos Rodrigues,

3. Yusuf Raisov Lightweight

Alexander Volkanovski, Max Holloway, Patricio Pitbull very lucky Yusuf Raisov didn’t sign with UFC during his ACA Featherweight Title run because he’d give them all run for their money.

Featherweight days are over moving up to Lightweight. Sadly, lost to Eduard Vartanyan in second round. Defeating Eduard would be great win on his fight record however Yusuf Raisov has many impressive wins since 2017 with defeating Luis Palomino, Former UFC fighter Andre Winner, Former UFC fighter Hacran Dias and talented Russian fighters.

Lightweight Version of Khamzat Chimaev, Similar fighting style and skills. Both born in Grozny, Russia but Chimaev left to Sweden and Raisov stuck in Russia.

Raisov is world class talent deserves to sign with UFC or Bellator right now, fighting top featherweights or lightweights chasing titles.

  • 19-3 record
  • ACA Featherweight Champion
  • Win over Luis Palomino
  • Top 100 Lightweight
  • Similar to Khamzat Chimaev, Arman Tsarukyan, Tofiq Musayev

4. Imran Bukuev

ACA Flyweight Champion caught my eye in 2021 defeating Maycon Silvan than earned the right to fight for ACA Flyweight Title against Aren Akopyan. Back and forth two round high pace battle that tested Bukuev in being the nail instead of the hammer in some moments. However, Imran is one of the best flyweights in the world for a reason, Submitting Akopyan in the second round.

Imran Bukuev All-Around skilled fighter from accurate striking, volume amount of throws, strong offensive & defensive grappler, lastly five round cardio.

Ranked #21 Flyweight on well deserved for defeating high caliber flyweights Felipe Bunes, Maycon Silvan, Alan Gomes. Deserves to fight UFC Flyweights in 2023 or 2024, However Imran can defend his ACA Flyweight title against Askar Askarov (Former UFC Flyweight Title Challenger & ACB Flyweight Champion). Askarov left UFC to sign with ACA.

Imran Bukuev definitely will have his hands full against Askarov but gives Askarov a challenge he’ll put the MMA world on notice.

  • 27 years old
  • 14-2 record
  • #21 Ranked Flyweight
  • ACA Flyweight Champion
  • Defeated current LFA Flyweight Champion Felipe Bunes
  • Comparison- Devison Figueredo

5. Abdoul Abdouragimov Welterweight

One of the best welterweight prospects in the world recently became ARES FC double champion for winning the vacated ARES FC Middleweight title.

Abdoul Abdouragimov won his ARES FC welterweight title against former UFC fighter Godofredo Pepey, Defending against Karl Amoussou. Before fought for Brave CF, Defeating Jarrah Hussein Al-Silawi for the Brave CF Welterweight Title.

From his Brave CF career till now defeated tough fighters with submission wins. Showing his jiu jitsu prodigy talents in his fights.

Besides being successful fighter is a successful jiu jitsu player, 3rd place at the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship. 2015-2019 France BJJ Champion.

High level grappler with wrestling & jiu jitsu striking is coming along as well with the help of Fernand Lopez (MMA Factory Head Coach) & training with Nassourdine Imavov, Lapilus Brothers and his Russian brothers will make Abdoul one of the best fighters in the world in his prime!!

Abdoul Abdouragimov I can picture signing with UFC in 2023 fighting under Ciryl Gane PPV card with Nassourdine Imavov. Only matter of time that Sean Shelby offers Abdouragimov a four-fight contract.

Watch out for the Russian version of Gilbert Burns, Beating up UFC Welterweights. Becoming one of the hottest prospects on the UFC roster.

  • re16-1 record 27 years old.
  • Ares FC Welterweight & Middleweight Champion. Brave CF Welterweight Champion
  • 5x France Jiu-Jitsu & Grappling Champion
  • Biggest wins against Godofredo Pepey

6. Muslim Magomedov

ACA Light Heavyweight Champion manhandles smaller Light Heavyweight opponents with top pressure wrestling. Right now, has record of 12-0 defeating former UFC fighter Chris Camozzi, Leonardo Silva.

Time for Muslim to sign with UFC in 2023, Face tougher competition probably at Middleweight instead of Light Heavyweight. Might be smaller for the top Light Heavyweights but can handle his own against Middleweights if he decided to be clean on his diet.

Wrestle, Wrestle, Wrestle is drained Dagestan fighters minds like Muslim Magomedov but if he adds simple effective striking like Khabib & Islam did he’ll climb up the UFC Middleweight Division easily.

7. Ibragim Chuzhigaev Light Heavyweight

Signing with KSW was the best decision Ibragim Chuzhigaev he’s ever made. Defeating Tomasz Narkun for KSW Heavyweight Title and defending once against Ivan Erslan.

Argument to be made Ibragim Chuzhigaev #1 Light Heavyweight prospect in the world as he’s the most talented 205lb fighter. Many great fighters like Demetrious Johnson, Khabib, Ali Baugintinov, Christian Lee have the Pankration background. Ibragim won the Pankration World Championship in 2014, Bronze Medalist in 2015.

Pankration Champion, Wushu Sanda, Sambo all mixed together in his impressive wins against former UFC fighter Mike Rhodes, Former One Championship fighter Igor Svirid, Former Bellator fighter Lee Chadwick.

Ibragim Chuzhigaev becoming household name in European Circuit, Winning against talented Light Heavyweights in his KSW & ACA fights. Upcoming title defense opponents potentially can be against former UFC fighter Henrique da Silva who recently defeated former champion Tomasz Narkun. Continues to defeat talented Light Heavyweights Ibragim possibly can fight for Major Promotion as all top promotions need a talented 205lb fighter.

  • 17-5 record
  • 31 years old
  • Pankration Champion, Sambo Champion
  • KSW Light Heavyweight Champion
  • Comparison- Magomed Ankalaev

8. Renat Khavalov Bantamweight

Pupil of Abdulmunap Nurmagomedov, Khabib and his fighters taking him under his wing. The young eagle has soared, becoming Eagle FC Bantamweight Champion.

Running through opponents using his sambo pressure control center of the ring fighting style, Leading to submission wins. Looking great in his fights but didn’t show improvements against Renat Ondar as he skated through a victory. Ondar successfully defended all of Khavalov’s takedowns.

Talent speaks for itself but improvement in striking, Fighter IQ and more importantly experience inside the cage well make Renat Khavalov inside the ring.

Khabib’s Promotion Eagle Fighting Championship has no upcoming events listed on Tapology.Com, Wikipedia or any event rumors. Wonder if the promotion is done or planning to start again during the spring.

Renat either for Eagle FC, AMC Fight Nights, M-1 Global love to see him fight in the regional circuit in 2023, Fighting tough Bantamweights. 2024 Renat can make his UFC debut and become Bantamweight rising star.

  • 7-0 record
  • 24 years old
  • Three Successful title defenses
  • Student of Abdulmunap Nurmagomedov

9. Alikhan Suleymanov Featherweight

ACA Featherweight Champion, One of the best Featherweight prospects in the world. Alikhan Suleymanov in 2021 caught my eye submitting top Brazilian Featherweight prospect Leonardo Limberger. Since than continued to watch this monster fight.

Last fight was against former ACA Featherweight Champion Felipe Froes. Back to back wins against Brazilian killers.

Trains out of Allstars Training Center with Khamzat Chimaev, Guram Kutateladze, Bernardo Sopai, Teymur Brothers.

Compare Suleymanov to future title contender Mateusz Gamrot because of the fighting style of grappling ability from takedowns, Pressuring towards cage, Ground control time, Stick and move jabs, staying right in front of you continuously pressing.

Right now on ten fight winning streak beating high caliber fighters, Not defended his title yet because of cancelled bouts against Islam Omarov & Khasbulaev. Hopefully 2023 is different story for Alikhan Suleymanov.

  • 15-3 record
  • Wins- Felipe Froes, Leonardo Limberger, Kurban Taygibov
  • Current ACA Featherweight Champion
  • Trains out of Allstars Training Center

10. Denis Lavrentyev Bantamweight

One of the best Bantamweights in the world, boggles my mind this man never signed with UFC, Bellator or One Championship in his prime years compared to other Bantamweights signees.

FEMP Bantamweight Champion fights for Parus FC(Russian Promotion) with notable wins over Victor Henry, ARES FC & TKO Bantamweight Champion Taylor Lapilus, Former TKO Bantamweight Champion Jesse Arnett & Reginaldo Vieira former UFC figher. Impressive win list for Russian prospect.

Accomplished Judoka player winning World Championships, Russian National Judo Champion. Using his Judo background and championship experience to his advantage against high quality opponents.

Pleasure watching Denis Lavrentyev in his RCC fights and Parus FC fights, Judoka Champion can compete for UFC Top 15 Bantamweight spot right now.

  • 12-2 record
  • 24 years old
  • Judoka Champion, U23 European & Champion, Winner of 5 World Cups
  • Comparison- Sergio Pettis & Brendan Loughane

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