clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Welcome to the UFC, Bilyal Makhov

It looks like the UFC is taking a page from Bellator's playbook and picking up an elite MMA prospect before he ever steps foot in a cage.

The MMA talent scouting landscape shifted ever so slightly today, in ways that the UFC have generally been less than interested in accepting. While most of the world's major MMA organizations end up taking on raw/unproven talent to be the first name behind the next big prospect, these are waters the UFC has, itself, only toe-dipped into. Most notably pro-wrestling superstars have been the fighters to make the quickest leap to the UFC, with Brock Lesnar getting his call up with just one pro bout under his belt, and CM Punk (somewhat notoriously) being signed without any pro fights at all. Similarly, former cruiserweight boxing champion James Toney ended up in the UFC for a single showcase fight against Randy Couture, but with few other exceptions (including Cain Velasquez), that's most of the big name talent the UFC has really pursued.

It's the last of those fighters, Cain Velasquez, that bears the most resemblance to this news, as K-Dojo Warrior Tribe reported on Twitter that Olympic bronze medalist and three time freestyle world championship wrestler Bilyal Makhov has signed with the UFC. Makhov has yet to take an MMA bout, but here's a quick look at the man:

Who is Bilyal Makhov?

Standing at 6' 5" and weighing in at about 285 lbs, it's not hard to get a picture of just why the UFC would jump on Bilyal Makhov's MMA dreams the moment he decided to pursue a career in the cage. The 27 year old from the North Caucasus region of Kabardino-Balkaria, is still in the midst of his Olympic wrestling career, with plans to compete at the 2016 games (as reported by MMAJunkie) in both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling. While he has a long history in freestyle competition winning multiple national and world titles, he started competing in Greco Roman back in 2014 and won the Bronze at the world championships that year, taking home the gold in Russian national Greco Roman championships in 2015. Makhov credits his wrestling success to his training under Magomed Guseinov and Khankala Gadzhimagomedov.

He's apparently been training with MMA fighters for some time, working with Andrei Arlovski, among others to improve their wrestling games. His MMA coach, Murat Keshtov told MMA Junkie earlier this month that Makhov could win the UFC heavyweight title with just six months of training. He'll almost certainly be getting more than that, but it looks like the UFC is generally taking him up on the challenge.

Normally, I'd talk about what you should expect and all that about now, but honestly I have no idea. I'd say expect good things as he's obviously a monster of a man and a gifted natural athlete, but where all of that leads him in MMA, I'm not sure.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Bloody Elbow Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your MMA and UFC news from Bloody Elbow