Obviously I wouldn't expect him to takeover Fedor's spot. I doubt that anyone can ever do that. But now that Fedor's gone, at the moment there's not much happening for Russia in the highest levels of MMA. In my opinion he has the potential to succeed at the high levels of MMA, especially with heavyweight being one of the most shallow divisions. I know some of you might say Kharitonov but he's been in the game for a while and I'm talking about a new face.
A 6'3, 231 lb(according to Sherdog, I think he's actually heavier) heavyweight.
Shamil has good striking, he likes to throw a lot of flashy moves like spinning back kicks and fists. He moves well for a heavyweight and has a long reach that he utilizes to establish his jab and hit first. He likes to mix his strikes up with leg kicks, punches to the head and the body. He does have good power but most of the time he will finish the fight on the ground.
Shamil is a pretty strong guy and he usually has his way taking down opponents. Shamil's last 2 fights have been in a cage and surprisingly he's used the cage well for someone who never fought in one before and I don't even think he trains in a cage. Against Jeff Monson and Sokoudjou, he pinned them against the cage and took them to the ground with double legs and takedowns from the clinch. This is a positive for him if he plans on going to fight in North America.
On the ground Shamil is very active with ground and pound and that's usually where he wins his fights. He will attempt submissions but at this point I don't think his ground game is good enough to submit higher calibre opponents. All the guys he's submitted have losing records in the Russian MMA scene. He doesn't offer much off of his back but he is able to get back to his feet which is an essential skill to have in today's MMA. His ground game looks a bit sloppy and he gives up advantageous positions pretty easily. He'll need to improve it if he starts fighting better competition. He's still learning though and he's seemed to pick up a lot of the aspects of MMA quite fast.
He tends to slow down later in fights but in the heavyweight division, where even some top 10 fighters gas, he'll be able to get away with it more than he would in another division. Still, his conditioning needs to be worked on to make up for the size disadvantages that he'll have if he ever faces the big heavyweights who cut to make 265. He trains at Peresvet FT with some other notable ProFC and M-1 names such as Bislan Isaev, Shamil Tinagadjiev and Magomed Saadulaev. The problem here is that almost if not all of his training partners are lighter than him. He'll need some bigger training partners to help deal with his heavyweight opponents.
His next fight is on March 11 in Abu Dhabi for the Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship tournament final. His opponent will be 257 lb jiu jitsu black belt Marcos Oliveira who fights out of Abu Dhabi. I think Shamil should win this fight, he's faced much tougher competition through the first 2 rounds of the tournament than Marcos Oliveira. He has to make sure that he does not wind up on his back or he'll be in trouble but I think he's pretty capable of stuffing the takedown.
I'm not saying he's going to takeover Fedor's spot or replace Fedor. I'm just saying that he has the potential to succeed at the high levels of MMA as a Russian.