The women's half of the UFC's 135 lb division has been growing a bit slower than anticipated. Partially, this is due to the fact that 135 lbs was always more marquee than deep (a bit like men's light heavyweight) and partially this is due to the fact that multiple other new signings have been immediately bitten by the dreaded injury bug. Hopefully the latter is not the case for the UFC's newest face, Milana Dudieva. The UFC announced her signing via Twitter on Wednesday.
Who is Milana Dudieva?
The 25-year old Persevet FT fighter will enter the UFC with a pretty solid 10-3 record, almost entirely compiled while fighting under the Pro FC banner. At Persevet FT she trains alongside other decent regional prospects like Besan Isaev, Kirill Sukhomlinov, Shamil Abdurahimov, and several others. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if she were the first of several fighters signed from her camp. Her losses have all come to good, strong competition in Juliana Berezikova, Jessica Andrade, and undefeated prospect Pannie Kianzad. Wins over Danielle West and Sheila Gaff are her strongest resume points, but at least show that she can compete with a solid level of competition.
What you should expect:
Dudieva is a solid practitioner of what has become a pretty formulaic Caucuses style of striking. She doesn't appear to jab much, and she likes to work off her opponents aggression, looking to counter their own combinations. Her "go to" is a looping right hook, which she throws with alarming speed and accuracy. When moving forward, she tends to connect it to a right leg kick, but is equally comfortable throwing it while moving away from attacking fighters. On the ground, she's incredibly aggressive. She keeps her posture high, standing over opponents to generate power and will jump on armbar opportunities. If she gets swept in doing so, she also seems to favor an immediate ankle lock transition (which she has used to great effect).
At time she can be a bit of a one handed striker (a shame considering her power and speed) and her wrestling tends to be more opportunistic than technical. In a lot of ways she reminds me of Rashid Magomedov, but without quite as much depth and polish to her game.
What this means for her debut:
Against better wrestlers and grapplers, I'd worry about her ground game. She gives up position rather quickly in search of submissions, and powerful top control fighters could use that against her. But as far as a matchup against de Randamie? I think that will come down to a game of pace and aggression. De Randamie is the longer fighter and works well from range. Dudieva is more powerful, but if she lets de Randamie sit outside and pop her with straight punches, she could find herself on the losing end of a points battle.
To get us better acquainted, here's Dudieva's most recent fight against Daria Chibisova at Pro FC 53: