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2015 Bloody Elbow MMA Scouting Report #2 Welterweight: Magomed Mustafaev

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We're closing in on the top, with another fighter straight out of the Caucasus.

Anton Tabuena

T.P. Grant and Zane Simon introduce their #2 Welterweight prospect, the final Russian on the list. If you didn't already think that Russia was the next hot bed of MMA talent, this makes six of the Top 10 Welterweight prospects hailing from Russia.

This is the result of a few factors, first that the state sponsored Sambo gyms are adding MMA programs in a deliberate effort to produce more MMA talent. Also as Russia starts turning out more quality fighters it has become a regional scene that is not as heavily picked over as the United States or Brazil. In the those two markets, a talented fighter is snatched up before they have 10 fights under their belt, normally. Where as, Eastern European fighters have to do a lot more to get noticed.

To catch up you can go up and to your right and click on the article stream, but since that sounds like a lot of work just check out the links below:

Methodology and Criteria

Welterweight Prospects #6 - #10

Welterweight Prospect #5 - Ryan Scope

Welterweight Prospect #4 - Khusein Khaliev

Welterweight Prospect #3 - Abubakar Nurmagomedov

#2 - Magomed Mustafaev

Record: 12-2 Height: 5'10" Age: 25 Years Pro: 4

Country: Russia Team: Sochi Star Base: Combat Sambo

Magomed Mustafaev hails from Sochi, Russia, the site of the recent Winter Olympics. Mustafaev's background is in Combat Sambo, in which he has won international competitions before transitioning to MMA. He has spent almost all of his young career in the Legion Fight promotion. He has a single fight in M-1, and won the Sochi Star Tournament, beating #3 Welterweight prospect Abubakar Nurmagomedov.

Strengths

T.P. Grant: Mustafaev is a pretty exciting fighter as he fights with a well rounded skill set and a very aggressive mindset. His striking comes from Combat Sambo, which means he fundamentally sound but tends to load up on single shots rather than putting strikes together in combinations, a side of effect of the Combat Sambo scoring system not really rewarding striking. While Mustafaev isn't a lights out striker, he has enough power and ability on the feet to demand respect.

Mustafaev's wrestling is based largely around his ability to chain wrestle, consistently cutting angles and looking to transition grips, always searching for his opponent's balance, his best working coming from the body lock. On the ground Mustafaev is aggressive and works extremely well in transition. He is a savvy top player and has shown a good ability to pass guard, though he struggles a bit fighting the closed the guard. Mustafaev has a good ground game that includes a solid leg lock attack, attacks from off his back, and a good striking game from the top. He has all around aggressiveness and need to finish fights that makes him a fun and interesting fighter.

Zane Simon: Magomed Mustafaev is the rare talented, athletic fighter to go through a monstrously tough regional career, and come out with a pretty sterling record. His opponents had a combined record of 37-15-1 (at least his recorded opponents) at the time he faced them, and other than an early submission loss, he's not only proven himself a winner, but a very strong finisher as well. He's got a dynamic kicking game, which he compliments well with aggressive well timed strikes and takedowns. He's also a pretty solid chain wrestler and can cause real problems to opponents not prepared to defend 3-4 quick takedown attempts.

To complete that skill set, I really like Mustafaev's grappling game. Not only does he have good ground and pound, and the ability to really control fighters from dominant positions, he's got a very fun leg submission chain. Importantly, it's not one he appears to hold on to, to the point of eating shots over, rather something dangerous he's willing to use to get a quick sub or move on from. He knows how to use power submissions to win transtional grappling battles, and just generally seems to have a good feel for how to twist someone's limbs around. He's a fighter that is scrappy and dynamic in every phase and has enough power to make that a real danger.

Points of Development

T.P. Grant: Really Mustafaev's points of development are everything. He has a really solid all-around game, but no stand out skill. As a result he struggles against fighters who specialize in a certain skill set. Abubakar Nurmagomedov's wrestling was giving him problems before the fight was stopped due to a cut. Andrei Koshkin's extremely aggressive and physical grappling gave Mustafaev issues for about a round before Mustafaev was able to find a heel hook. His striking is average for the UFC, but wouldn't be a strength for him currently. He needs to continue to develop to take full advantage of his athletic edge.

Zane Simon: The biggest point of improvement for me is probably wrestling. He's a good wrestler when he can get in on someone's hips and chain his takedown attempts, but he's not a great power wrestler. Couple with the fact that his takedown defense isn't always on point, and that's probably the area he needs to shore up most. His solid grappling and great scrambling ability negate a lot of the worry about his wrestling game, but it's an area he should put more time into.

To accompany that, Mustafaev's striking game is more a functional part of his offense than it's own complete skill set. He pressures well and mixes his strikes nicely. He shoots well off his strikes and has some power, but he has yet to show that he can sit down in the pocket, or at range, and really win a fight there. Because his striking is very well developed for his game, that's not a huge problem, but it's an area he could stand to improve.

Overall Projection

As previously stated, Mustafaev's success is pretty heavily dependent on him continuing to develop his skills. Right now his well rounded skill set, athletic abilities, and aggressive fighting style could serve him well in a larger promotion. As it stands he could be a Kyung Ho Kang type, filling in an action role on international cards for the UFC and engaging in fun, if very risky grappling exchanges. If Mustafaev does continue to develop he could turn into a well rounded fighter who is a real threat to finish fights standing or on the ground, a Jim Miller with a bit more athletic ability.

2015 Bloody Elbow Scouting Report

Flyweight Bantamweight Featherweight Lightweight Welterweight
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#2. Mustafaev
#3. Nurmagomedov
#4. Khaliev
#5. Scope
#6. Vartanyan
#7. Kadestam
#8. Piraev
#9. Amosov
#10. Tokov
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Stay tuned for #1, to look up other articles in this series click on the Stream link up and to the right. For comments, questions, or suggestions head down to the comment line or reach out to T.P. and Zane on Twitter: @TP_Grant and @TheZaneSimon