And suddenly, from nowhere a super camp is born. Maybe that's a little premature, but it certainly seems that the K Dojo Warrior Tribe, based in Fairfield, New Jersey is bringing some top talent to the UFC. Apart from the newly signed Yakovlev, they have been the part and/or full time training camp for Oleksiy Oliynyk, Albert Tumenov, Adlan Amagov, Azamat Gashimov, and Khabib Nurmagomedov. If a top Russian prospect is on their way to the UFC, there's a very good chance they'll be going through New Jersey to get there.
In that vein Russia's Yakovlev is something of a hot fighter. Splitting his time between K Dojo and the lesser known Alexander Nevsky Club, the 29 year old Yakovlev has trained alongside some great competition. Add to that his Russian National Hand to Hand Championship and a medal at the FIAS Russian Sambo Championships and he looks like a very dangerous fighter. K Dojo Tweeted his UFC signing on Wednesday:
Over the past 9 years of competition he's put together a solid 21-4-1 record defeating Paul Daley and Murad Abdulaev, but hasn't beaten any other high level competition. In fact, apart from his win over Daley, when Yakovlev has stepped up his competition he's lost, dropping a decision to Rashid Magomedov and submissions to Bellator vets Karl Amoussou and Jacob McClintock.
It's safe to say that after 9 years and 26 fight sYakovlev will enter the UFC very much a finished product, so what we've seen from him lately is what we'll get. Watching him fight his skill is obvious. He's a wrestle first fighter, but his standup is perfectly attuned to his wrestling and grappling. He moves his feet well on the outside and throws kicks to keep distance. He doesn't have a great jab, but throws combinations well, especially on the counter. This allows him to get into the clinch and shoot from the outside, where his game really shines. He's incredibly well versed in transitional grappling with strong single and double-leg takedowns as well as trips and throws from the clinch. Apparently he is a Master of Sport in Freestyle Wrestling, and the video bears that out.
Yakovlev plans well for opponents attuning his striking and footwork to his opponents strengths. On the ground I wouldn't say he's a complete product. He's definitely stronger on top than he is off his back and in general suffers somewhat from a lack of physical strength (I'd say that's his biggest flaw overall). He's willing and able to go for submissions and has a lot of submission wins to his record, but he's not a complex grappler. Eventually his great transitional wrestling, strong defensive striking, and well attuned fight IQ will make him a dangerous opponent in the UFC if not quite top of the food chain.
To get us better acquainted here's his most recent fight against Paul Daley:
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