The UFC is continuing it's slow crawl into Russia and Eastern Europe with the signing of top Russian Flyweight prospect Ali Bagautinov. Ariel Helwani broke the news on Twitter this week.
And fiiiinally, according to sources, UFC has signed top flyweight prospect Ali Bagautinov out of Russia. Former world combat sambo champ.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) June 5, 2013
Bagautinov is a world Sambo champion, and was the current Fight Nights Flyweight Champion in the Moscow based promotion. After a rough start to his career he's gone on an 8 fight win streak over the past two years. Like many top prospects he's a proven finisher, with four wins coming by way of submission and another four by KO/TKO.
As with any new fighter entering the Flyweight division, he has to be considered an instant potential contender. After all John Moraga needed only 2 fights in the UFC and 14 in his career to get a shot at Demetrious Johnson's belt. If Bagautinov can make a big splash we could be seeing him in the discussion for a title shot quickly. At 27 he's neither a particularly young prospect, nor a particularly old one, but should probably be past the raw stage of his career. Considering his martial arts background and past fights I expect him to enter the octagon as a fairly polished product.
There hasn't been an official debut announcement, so his first UFC fight may not be for some time. Until then you can check out another previous fight against Andreas Bernhard: