Today : The evolution of Khabib´s Eastern European Career, btw 2008 & 2011. Myth 1: Khabib was protected & only fought cans. Myth 2: He was dominant & 'undefeated'. Note: this thread can be seen as an extension of this one: http://forums.sherdog.com/threads/deconstructing-mma-myths-part-8.3822123/ Important: The term 'Can' is an uneasy one, often misused in the MMA World. The way I see it, it´s a matter of perspective, and one should bears in mind that a MMA career highly depends on timing, markets & opportunities. Thus, my analysis here will only be about skil lset & technical sequences during these 16 fights, to determine whether these fighters were mismatches or not, in this progressive non-UFC career. Context: > btw Fight 1 & 4: @ LW > btw Fight 5 & 6: @ WW > btw Fight 7 & 8: @ LW > btw Fight 9 & 16: @ WW Total = 6 fights @ LW / 10 fights @ WW. Orgs: CSFU: Champions League Pankration Atrium Cup Tsumada Fighting Championship M-1 ProFC Golden Fist Russia Opponents = 9 Russians - 2 Ukrainians - 2 Azerbaijanis - 1 Belarusian - 1 Armenian - 1 Brazilian ...which shows a certain homogeneous MMA 'universe' when it comes to skill sets... CHRONOLOGY : 1/ vs Vusal Bayramov : Bayramov showcased some good leg kicks. But Khabib got an easy TD, then easy mount & slick transition to a triangle choke. Verdict: Bayramov schooled on the ground. 2/ vs. Magomed Magomedov : Magomedov was 3-6 btw 2003 & 2014. But...A striker [kickboxer] with legit submission arsenal: interesting skill set, reminds me a lil bit of a [less complete] Amar Suloev. Unfortunately, obviously didnt get the right opportunities during his career. Magomedov outclassed Khabib on the feet, but remained tentative because of the TD threat. Khabib got easy single-leg TDs during this fight. Magomedov showcased good body kicks, good jabz. Khabib : brief armbar attempt, shaken off. Magomedov : uneasy legit armbar attempt on a transition. Khabib: brief side control, good knees, Magomedov: could have gotten side control but not interested. Showcased good GNP Note1: Fight Configuration: The Referee [org: Pankration Atrium Cup] was a huge fan of the stand-up rule...(even when Khabib had side control... but seems Russian fighters were accustomed to this, since no whining from Khabib) Note2: thinking about it, since Pankration Atrium Cup had such a trigger-happy stand-up rule (even when Khabib had side control), makes consequently lil sense to reward ground control, imo... Verdict : tough fight to score, depends on your MMA 'ideology', but imo Magomedov did more damage and had more legit submission attempts. > In my books, it´s Khabib´s 1st loss. 3/ vs Ramazan Kurbanismailov : Kurbanismailov : striker,weak TDD, weak ground game Verdict: mismatch, easy Khabib win. Kurbanismailov showed nuthin 4/ vs Shamil Abdulkerimov : Abdulkerimov reversed Khabib and almost mounted him, but bad scramble. Then Khabib got an easy mount, but surprisingly transitionned to side control... Again: quick stand-up rule by the Ref. Abdulkerimov: more of a striker, limited defensive ground game Khabit gets side control, good knees to the body but stand-up rule again. Good armbar attempt by Abdulkerimov. Khabib then pulls a smooth transition to an eazy mount, but surprisingly lost it Note: Most of Khabib´s TDs (5) were lightning fast single-leg ones (only 1 double) Verdict: Khabib wins relatively easily Welterweight debut.: 5/ vs Said Akhmed : Khabib: easy single leg, easy side control, easy mount, efficient GNP Verdict: easy Khabib win 6/ vs Eldar Eldarov : > This is the only fight that I havent seen. Right now, Eldarov´s MMA record: 8-1 He lost to Khabib via TKO (punches) in the 2nd Round. I checked 3 of his recent fights: Eldar Eldarov vs Davrbek Isakov: Good technical fight, Isakov bigger & better striker, good submission game, some nice transitions, legit potential imo. Eldarov stayed composed, understood he was outclassed on the feet, looked quickly for the clinch to get the TD. Isakov transitionned to a decent leglock then armbar attempt, but Eldarov once again stayed composed, secured the full mount (weak defensive guard from Isakov) to get a nice armbar. Brave 1 Free Fight: Kevin Koldobsky vs Eldar Eldarov: Eldarov showcased heavy hands, but is more of a grinder, not very tecnhical on the feet or on the ground Brave 6 Free Fight: Henrique Rasputin vs Eldar Eldarov: Eldarov showcased efficient GNP, with nasty elbows. Eldarov seems talented, an accoomplished wrestler, more of a WW. In his profile, Khabib describes him as a childhood friend (!), and his hero: http://www.ufc.com/fighter/Khabib-Nurmagomedov For sure, he´s potentially the readiest of this list for the UFC Fight Configuration, but Im definitely not impressed. Return to Lightweight. : 7/ vs Shahbulat Shamhalaev : 1st time I see Khabib going more for TDs from body lock. Khabib gets reversed though, but was a trap: transitions to armbar, but loses it. Then fluid transition: from side control to full mount, then armbar Verdict: Shamhalaev no match on the ground 8/ vs Oleg Bagov : Strong Bagov in the clinch but limited & awkward striking. Khabib almost taken down but saved by using the ropes. Khabib gets the TD but fails to secure top control, is easily reversed Bagov: telegraphed TDs,easily stuffed Note: Khabib again leading with the left hook, but 1st time I see him throwing a jab with the left Note: Fight Configuration: headbutts allowed (Khabib´s technique is pretty weird...) Verdict: easy Khabib win. Return to Welterweight. : 9/ vs Vitaliy Ostrovskiy : Khabib showcases a lethal single leg, gets an easy full mount. Transition: slick armbar attempt, unreal defence by Ostrovskiy, but khabib still secures a dominant position, even a crucifix, Verdict: complete domination, probably Khabib´s best performance ever 10/ vs Aleksandr Agafonov : Agafonov : solid stand up, boxing, legit leg kicks. Interesting skill set, but limited defensive guard, constantly switching stances, disrupting Khabib´s flow. decent combos, but a lil bit reaching. Again, weird stand-up rule with Khabib in side control. Then Khabib gets easily the side control again, almost full mount. Agafonov quit on his stool at the beginning of the 3rd Rd (injury...rib) Verdict: Agafonov did more damage on the feet, but Khabib got easy TDs... Still, Khabib actually did lil damage. Could have been an interesting 3rd round, and final decision. 11/ vs Said Khalilov : Khalilov: unimpressive stand-up, limited TDD. Khalilov: 1st TD stuffed, but not the others. Khabib: easy guard-passing, side control, kimura Verdict: easy Khabib win 12/ vs Ashot Shahinyan : Shahinyan: undersized & outstruck Verdict: mismatch, waste of time in Khabib´s progression 13/ vs Kadzhik Abadzhyan : Khabib countered by a right hook, almost dropped (Khabib more "wobbled" than vs MJ). Khabib gets an easy TD, easy guard-passing, easy side control, almost crucifix. Abadzhyan: seems to have a decent striking, jab, but hindered by TD threat Then: Khabib getting an easy TD, full mount, slick armbar transition Abadzhyan: unreal defence, tough, reverses Khabib Khabib: transition to a slick triangle Abadzhyan: defends once, not twice Verdict: one of Khabib´s best performances ever 14/ vs Khamiz Mamedov : Mamedov: chubby, undersized (btw looks like a Russian BJ) Khabib: only body lock, works a lil bit, TD secured Then: easy side control, almost transitions to full mount, But Mamedov escapes. Note: Khabib fails to snap the arm to get the armbar during the transition... Mamedov: outmuscled. Khabib almost takes his back, but prefers to secure the TD, gets the full mount. Then: decent transition from armbar to triangle choke Verdict: one of Khabib´s best performances ever, but... step-down in competition 15/ vs Vadim Sandulitsky : Khabib: easy single leg TD Then: side control, but guillotine attempt from Sandulitsky.Shaken off. Khabib gets the easy full mount. Then: armbar attempt & quick transition to triangle choke, not really tight But Sandulitsky gives up... Verdict: one of Khabib´s best performances ever, but... step-down in competition again. 16/ vs Arymarcel Santos : Santos (Carlson BJJ): showcases nice leg kicks. Santos then shoots for the double-leg TD, almost gets it, but Khabib uses ropes = 1 point deducted @ 1mn30: Khabib drops him with a good left upercut (1st successful one in his career). Santos: weak armbar & leglock attempts. Khabib wins via GNP, efficient but not very technical GNP Verdict: tough to say, since Khabib used the ropes to avoid the TD. Santos on top could have been interesting... CONCLUSION: > Khabib = 15-1 > 6 Mismatches, 4 Easy Wins, 6 Legit Tests.