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2015 Bloody Elbow MMA Scouting Report #3 Light Heavyweight: Rasim Kurbanismailov

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The Bloody Elbow scouting report is narrowing down toward its no. 1 LHW prospect. Here's #3.

The Bloody Elbow Scouting Report continues on looking at the top 10 Light Heavyweight prospects in MMA for 2015. Myself and Zane Simon have scoured the MMA world looking for 205-pound fighters worthy of mention. While the division is often portrayed as being talented starved, after looking at over 100 fighters we found about 30 fighters who were contenders for our Top 10 list. Zane and I narrowed it down to ten and here is our third selection.

#3 - Rasim Kurbanismailov

Record: 6-1 Height: 6'1" Age: 28 Years Pro: 1.5

Country: Russia Team: Alligator Fighting Team Base: Wrestling

Rasim Kurbanismailov is a fairly accomplished Freestyle Wrestler. A medalist in Freestyle Wrestling University Games in 2008, and winner of the 2013 Black Sea Cup Heavyweight Grand Prix for Tech Krep in MMA. His cross over to MMA is a recent move for him and Kurbanismailov is still on the low level Russian regional scene, and despite being off a submission loss in April, he is finding a great deal of success with his aggressive and physical style.

Strengths

T.P. Grant: Wrestling, wrestling, and more wrestling. It isn't the flashy pick ups and dumps the one might expect, though he certainly has that in his arsenal, Kurbanismailov wrestling asserts itself as an indomitable clinch game, seemingly effortless finishes to takedowns, and a nasty, grinding, cross-face filled mat game. Kurbanismailov has an excellent shot and as the speed to get in without much of set up, and once he is in on the hips he gets folks to mat. In the clinch Kurbanismailov has a diverse game of lifts, duck unders, trips, and chain takedowns that makes him extremely dangerous there.

Once on the mat Kurbanismailov has a high pressure top game which just seems to smother his opponents. Kurbanismailov is not content to lay in guard and collect rounds, he works on the ground. He throws heavy, if sloppy strikes, and aggressively seeks to improve position. His submission game is pretty limited at this point but he can take a Rear Naked Choke if the opponent gives it up.

Zane Simon: I think it's fair to wonder a bit why a fighter like Kurbanismailov ended up sliding so far up this list, and the answer is simply that the combination of athleticism, aggression, and wrestling is rare enough to prospects at light heavyweight, that it's hard to ignore a guy who is bringing all 3. Kurbanismailov has a really nice takedown arsenal, and the imposing size and strength to make it happen even without a lot of secondary tools. His striking is raw, but powerful, and his grappling is aggressive, and athletic if a bit sloppy. Simply put, and right down to the foolish submission loss, Kurbanismailov has the hallmarks of a fighter who could find a lot more success down the line.

Points of Development

T.P. Grant: Kurbanismailov actually has good power in his hands and is more than willing to sling leather on the feet, but his striking is very raw at this point. He is flat footed, which isn't always bad but in this case isn't good, and can get stuck just looking at his opponent for long stretches of time. His defensive ability on the feet currently is mostly limited to blocking strikes with his forearms. As a result Kurbanismailov doesn't really have much of an ability to set up his shots and relies on pure speed to get in, which has been good enough thus far but needs to be addressed if he is to face higher level opposition.

Zane Simon: That success I talked about needs to come with a lot of ifs, however. Kurbanismailov won't be able to survive many big steps up in competition without a more competent kickboxing game. It doesn't have to be amazing with his skill inside, but it has to be functional and fit in with the other things he's trying to do. There are bigger camps out in Russia, than the one he's at, camps that could maybe do more with him, so hopefully he can find his way to one of them and continue to build around an incredibly solid base.

Overall Projection

Kurbanismailov is an outstanding athlete and wrestler, and has the mean streak on the mat that bodes well for an MMA career. Without much improvement Kurbanismailov could end up being something similar to Phil Davis, an athletic wrestler without much of striking game or way to close the distance, but also lacking Davis' submission game on the ground. If Kurbanismailov shores up his striking and is able to better leverage his ability to wrestle he could end up turning into a Top 10 fighter in the mold of the Ryan Bader we've seen in the last year or so. An athletic, powerful wrestler, with enough power on the feet to be threatening, a strong takedown game, and an ability to put all time beatings on fighters on the mat.

Stay tuned for #2 and to look up other articles in this series check out the table below. We are almost done with Light Heavyweight and next up is Featherweight. 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
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#1. Usman
#2. Mustafaev
#3. Nurmagomedov
#4. Khaliev
#5. Scope
#6. Vartanyan
#7. Kadestam
#8. Piraev
#9. Amosov
#10. Tokov
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Middleweight L. Heayvweight Heavyweight W.Strawweight W. Bantamweight
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#3. Kurbanismailov
#4. Astakhov
#5. Ankalaev
#6. Edilov
#7. Prochazka
#8. Albrektsson
#9. Moore
#10. Gamzatov
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