There's only one bantamweight fight on the UFC 154 card in Montreal, and it features Ivan Menjivar (24-9 MMA, 3-2 UFC) against Russian newcomer Azamat Gashimov (7-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC). Menjivar just had his three-fight winning streak snapped, while Gashimov enters the UFC on a two-fight winning run.
Menjivar is a veteran with experience fighting the best of the best as high as 170 lbs, and he'll hold the experience advantage over the young Gashimov. You can see this fight plus the other three bouts on Facebook at 6 PM ET/3 PM PT, and then continue your prelim viewing live on FX at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.
How do these two stack up?
Menjivar: 30 years old | 5'6" | 64" reach
Gashimov: 22 years old | 5'10" | Unknown reach
What have these two done recently?
How did these two get here?
Can anyone guess who Georges St. Pierre's first professional opponent was? That would be Ivan Menjivar way back in 2002, and it remains the only KO/TKO loss for the El Salvador native. His first stint in the UFC was short-lived, losing a decision to Matt Serra in 2004. Menjivar retired from MMA in 2006, but came back in 2010 and has won 4 of his last 6. Having competed at welterweight, lightweight, and featherweight, Menjivar went down to bantamweight and fought Brad Pickett to a decision loss at the final WEC show. Menjivar won 3 in a row when he joined the UFC, but lost to Mike Easton by unanimous decision.
Gashimov is an intriguing prospect out of Russia who has finished all but one of his victories. He's fought exclusively in Russia and Ukraine, but he now trains and fights in the United States. Based on footage of him in grappling tournaments as well as his pro fights, he has a wicked armbar and has shown strong, powerful takedowns. Gashimov tried to make his UFC debut in May, but he was removed from his fight against Alex Soto. He's had a 16 month layoff, so we'll see how that affects his performance as he makes his UFC debut.
Why should you care?
Classic case of matching up the veteran with the prospect. Any young prospect is worth at least a first-time watch, especially with every fight available to broadcast.
More UFC 154review content from Bloody Elbow: