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Report: UFC signs former Bellator heavyweight Ruslan Magomedov

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The UFC is making a serious play for heavyweight talent right now, and it looks like they may have even snapped up a fighter from one of their biggest competitors.

Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

Ruslan Magomedov may have technically been a Bellator fighter after signing a contract with the promotion in April of 2012, but it was a status in name only. Due to visa complications, Magomedov never appeared in the Bellator cage. In fact his replacement, fellow Russian Alexander Volkov, ran the tables in the tournament field that Ruslan had been slotted for, picking up the vacant Bellator heavyweight title in the process. However, an initial loss may have been a long term gain as reports that Magomedov, after sitting out the duration of his Bellator contract (while still staying busy in Russia), has now signed with the world's largest MMA promotion, the UFC. No official announcement of Magomedov's signing has been made and no potential opponents have been announced.

If this is indeed the case, it's a great pickup for the UFC. The 27 year old splits his time between the MMA Academy in Russia and team Jackson/Winklejohn in the states. There he joins the ranks Adlan Amagov, Ali Bagautinov, and Rustam Khabilov as Russian fighters that have made their way to one of the world's most prestigious fight camps and the UFC along with it. He is most definitely a natural heavyweight, standing 6' 5" and weighing in at 240 lbs. His 11-1 record isn't exactly deep, but his only career loss came via body shot KO to accomplished regional vet Konstantin Gluhov and he has wins over Ricco Rodriguez, Mike Hayes, and Tim Sylvia.

Watching Magomedov fight, he's definitely a kickboxer first and foremost. He throws his strikes quickly and has good combinations. Rare for a heavyweight, he is able to throw kicks in combination and has a really nice snapping front kick. He's not an exceptional straight puncher (sort of a Russian thing), but puts his strikes together well. He does over extend himself a bit and get ahead of his feet as he strikes. This has two effects, one being that he's not a great power puncher, because he doesn't have a solid base, and two, he leaves himself open for counter takedowns when he drives forward. He is very light on his feet though, and seems totally capable of maintaining an even pace for three rounds. His ground game is a bit unknown, but his fight with Aliskerov in 2012 showed a pretty raw takedown defense and grappling game, so I wouldn't be surprised if those are big problems. Heavyweight isn't big on takedown artists, and Magomedov moves well, but the right fighters could probably blitz him on the mat.

To get us better acquainted here's footage of his most recent bout against Tim Sylvia.