UFN Shogun vs. Henderson 2: Michel Prazares vs. Mairbek Taisumov preview and the prognostication

Photo by Mitch Viquez/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Image

Lightweight prospect Mairbek 'Beckan' Taisumov takes on former Welterweight veteran Michel Prazares in a bout will tell us a lot about their respective UFC futures at UFN Shogun vs. Henderson 2 in Natal, Brazil.

Michel Prazares vs. Mairbek Taisumov Lightweight

When we last left our heroes...This is the type of fight that should headline small UFC cards that don't require every little inch of the Zuffa machine to market. I've said before; instead of diluting PPV's, make them top heavy, borrowing main event events from Fox Sports cards while leaving undercards all by their lonesome. As a consumer, I would prefer these. I could be a little like promoting a pseudo-amateur system. It's probably still a bad idea, but the UFC brand doesn't need anymore 'branding' by this point.

Fighters like Taisumov (who is the one everyone will be watching) just fade into the Fight Pass background on a PPV card whereas a card with the UFC brand, but promoted as a farm-like system within the UFC feels more sportslike, and one that engages the community. The UFC doesn't have that unique prospect culture found in other sports. I've never been to a Texas Stars game (AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars) in Cedar Park, but by all accounts, the atmosphere is electric. Sure few of the players are mainstream, and very few will ever get NBC level press, but the fans are engaged because they feel a personal connection; these are athletes they have unique access to, and the specific knowledge of a farm team empowers them.

I suspect hardcore fans feel this way about the UFC; they know the brand, but they've forgotten the fighters. A UFC 'farm system' could attract this kind of interest. I mention this because a fighter like Taisumov is exactly the kind of fighter fans would go ga ga over; "have you seen that Taisumov kid? He looks ready I think" Or in fanboy Sherdog.net speak: "Taisumov is so much better than Pettis on the feet. Only TUF'ers and casual just bleed nincompoops don't know the truth"

An athlete's development, and the transition from amateur to athlete engages other sports fans. What's preventing the UFC from doing the same?

The UFC might think of TUF as that system, but it isn't. Now that the UFC has its own channel, this seems more feasible.

There is a fight to dissect, and one many casual fans will likely dismiss for possessing hard to spell and pronounce names. Taisumov is 21-4 in his pro career, and at 25, the Tiger Muah Thai product will be looking to continue his ostensible ascent in the division.

He's facing off against what could easily be his stiffest test; the 30 year old from Coalizao Fight Team posting a solid 17-1 pro record. Both men are coming off victories.

What both men can do: Prazares is coming down from Welterweight, so let's not forget that Taisumov has an opponent in this one. The reason this isn't a gimmie for the prospect is simple; Prazares is a big WW who also happens to be a heavy top control grappler. He's similar to the forgotten Dengue fever ridden Ricardo Arona; position over submission. While not as talented, 'Trator' is adept at moving in for the kill. Despite his size and weight, he moves extremely well on the ground, and transitions seemlessly with very little wasted movement. His strikes are garden variety as far as grapplers that need the fight on the ground goes...but he's not completely out of his element either.

Taisumov was fairly impressive in his UFC debut against Tae Hyun Bang. I don't think he necessarily endeared himself to many fans, but he was fighting a very good veteran of Deep promotions, and one time South Korean prospect. Bang may not have been a household name, but he's a sturdy fighter who had been pretty inactive following his high profile bouts in 2008 against the still dangerous (at the time) Takanori Gomi, and Jorge Masvidal (both of whom were taken to decision).

And he offered as expected. Taisumov is a striker by trade. He doesn't have face melting, enamel shattering power, but he's technically precise. He uses his straight forward boxing style that favors a straight right from his traditional stance, and mixes it well with inside kicks that he'll chamber high every now and then.

While he has a solid number of submission wins, he won't be looking for it here. His takedown defense is good, and his grappling defense hasn't shown holes since 2008 when he lost via bulldog choke.

What both men can't do: Still...given his quality of competition that doesn't tell us much. It especially doesn't tell us much when considering Prazares' style and gameplan.

Still, the Ronson fight revealed a lot with respect to Prazares, which is that he can get the fight to the ground quickly and emphatically, but for how long? He faded against Ronson in a major way starting in the 2nd round. Will moving down in weight help his cardio? I don't think so.

Taisumov still needs to work on his defensive wrestling, and it will definitely get exposed early on, but as long as he sticks with leg kicks, and straight rights, and is never deterred, the bout is his to lose in my opinion.

X-Factor: Taisumov's body attack. Without it, could be the difference between victory or defeat for 'Beckan'.

Hockey fight doppelganger: The veteran early...the prospect late.

Prognostication: Mairbek Taisumov by Decision.

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