clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2015 Bloody Elbow MMA Scouting Report #5 Light Heavyweight: Magomed Ankalaev

New, 20 comments

T.P. Grant and Zane Simon bring you another young light heavyweight on the rise.

Anton Tabuena

If you've been following the 2015 Scouting Report then it is known to you that Russia is putting their shoulder into developing MMA fighters. The state sponsored Sambo and Combat Sambo gyms have opened new MMA programs and young athletes Considering Russia's lofty place in nearly all other combat sports from wrestling to fencing, it shouldn't be surprising they are having a great deal of success in producing MMA fighters.

To that end Russia has created a national amateur MMA circuit to help shepherd along prospective fighters. Our #5 prospect is the first national amateur MMA champion that system has produced.

#5 - Magomed Ankalaev

Record: 3-0 Height: 6'2" Age: 22 Years Pro: 0.8

Country: Russia Team: Highlander MMA Base: Combat Sambo

Ankalaev is very young in his career. In point of fact, if he hadn't come to our attention through the level of competition he has fought, we'd probably have missed him entirely. He became the first champion the Russian amateur program has produced when he won the 2013 World MMA Cup. He turned pro shortly after and while he is new even to the regional level, his talent is obvious. He's training out of notable Dagestani MMA gym Gorec MMA, which has produced rising UFC talent Rashid Magomedov.

Strengths

T.P. Grant: Ankalaev has a lot of good offensive tools and has them working together incredibly well considering early he is in his career. His striking is quite good, he is defensive in nature but he is patient and doesn't waste energy throwing strikes that have no chance of landing. He is very comfortable in the pocket, feints well and has a varied offense, working in strong kicks in with his punches.

Ankalaev has a good sense of distance and uses it well to stop takedowns on the outside. On the ground Ankalaev can do some good work if he can score a takedown that gets him around the guard. Ankalaev is a pretty excellent athlete and he largely relies on it when he is on the ground.

Zane Simon: The biggest pluses technically for Magomed Ankalaev are his footwork and his scrambling. Like a lot of top rising prospects, the best aspects of Ankalaev's game are what he does in transition. He takes great advantage of clinch opportunities, and scrambles well on the ground. The rest of his game is a work in progress, but not tot he point that any area is really weak or under developed. He's shown a good guard game, very powerful offensive wrestling, and the ability to counter strike with power and accuracy.

Most importantly, against two very good regional opponents in Dovletzdhan Yagshimuradov and Vasily Babich, Ankalaev has been able to work a patient, collected gameplan for a couple of remarkable wins when you consider his age and his inexperience. He's not the most exciting fighter you'll ever see, at least not yet, but he shows all the signs of putting together a very promising career.

Points of Development

T.P. Grant: Ankalaev biggest biggest point of the development is his grappling. His guard passing is weak right now, his offensive wrestling isn't much to look at, and his defensive wrestling isn't all that special either. On the feet, Ankalaev is already a technical striker, he is a low output and very low aggression striker. In his current state he is begging to lose split decisions due to his insistence on playing a largely counter striking game.

Zane Simon: Aggression, aggression, aggression. That can't be overstated enough. Technically, Ankalayev looks like he'll come along just fine. He has a good camp and good training partners and he has the athletic gifts to make their instruction bear fruit, but he has to fight with more aggression. Partially, his lack of aggression is probably due to fighting opponents who are much more developed and further along than he is, but it'd still be nice to see him up his striking output.

Overall Projection

For a guy just closing the books on his first year of professional fighting Ankalaev is remarkably polished. His striking is the furthest along, but everything needs improvement. He is a couple years away and a few serious regional tests from being ready for a step up to larger shows. His ceiling might be something akin to Gegard Mousasi, a low output but technical striker with fairly weak wrestling. The key difference being that Mousasi has a strong ground game and Ankalaev does not, so if that hole isn't addressed it will be a serious problem.

Stay tuned for #4 and to look up other articles in this series check out the table below. 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

2015 Bloody Elbow Scouting Report

Flyweight Bantamweight Featherweight Lightweight Welterweight
#1.
#2.
#3.
#4.
#5.
#6.
#7.
#8.
#9.
#10.
EXTRA!
#1.
#2.
#3.
#4.
#5.
#6.
#7.
#8.
#9.
#10.
EXTRA!
#1.
#2.
#3.
#4.
#5.
#6.
#7.
#8.
#9.
#10.
EXTRA!
#1.
#2.
#3.
#4.
#5.
#6.
#7.
#8.
#9.
#10.
EXTRA!
#1. Usman
#2. Mustafaev
#3. Nurmagomedov
#4. Khaliev
#5. Scope
#6. Vartanyan
#7. Kadestam
#8. Piraev
#9. Amosov
#10. Tokov
EXTRA!
Middleweight L. Heayvweight Heavyweight W.Strawweight W. Bantamweight
#1.
#2.
#3.
#4.
#5.
#6.
#7.
#8.
#9.
#10.
EXTRA!
#1.
#2.
#3.
#4.
#5. Ankalaev
#6. Edilov
#7. Prochazka
#8. Albrektsson
#9. Moore
#10. Gamzatov
EXTRA!
#1.
#2.
#3.
#4.
#5.
#6.
#7.
#8.
#9.
#10.
EXTRA!
#1.
#2.
#3.
#4.
#5.
#6.
#7.
#8.
#9.
#10.
EXTRA!
#1.
#2.
#3.
#4.
#5.
#6.
#7.
#8.
#9.
#10.
EXTRA!