Zabit Magomedsharipov has shown few vulnerabilities since he arrived in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2017, with three of his victories resulting in submissions and three others coming by unanimous decision. The 29-year-old Almeida Jiu-Jitsu representative now belongs in the conversation as one of the top 145-pound fighters in the sport.
Magomedsharipov will risk his perfect organizational record and 14-fight winning streak when he meets Yair Rodriguez in the UFC Fight Night 176 headliner on Aug. 29. The victor could be in line for a shot at current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, who retained his title with a contentious split decision over Max Holloway in the first event on the UFC’s Fight Island series. Magomedsharipov has not tasted defeat in more than seven years, his steady rise on the featherweight ladder nearly complete.
As Magomedsharipov advances toward his confrontation with Rodriguez, a look at a few of the rivalries that have accompanied his ascent:
Mixed martial arts does not lend itself to perfection—a reality to which Magomedsharipov was introduced at ProFC 47 on April 14, 2013 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. He controlled two rounds against Egorov with the same offensive weaponry that has made him a star in the UFC, as he opened a cut in the middle of his opponent’s forehead and did visible damage to both eyes. However, Magomedsharipov showed signs of fatigue at the end of Round 2, where he conceded a takedown and was forced to operate off his back. He slowed further in the third, gave up another takedown and allowed Egorov to move to full mount. During the ensuing scramble, Magomedsharipov wandered into the fight-ending armbar. Egorov, now 13-8, remains active on a European regional scene from which he has yet to graduate. Considering their different trajectories and the fact that Egorov has moved to 155 pounds, it seems unlikely that Magomedsharipov will get the chance to avenge his only career misstep.
Magomedsharipov and Bochniak put on a show at UFC 223. (Photo: Getty Images)
Magomedsharipov continued his climb at 145 pounds, as he took a unanimous decision from Bochniak in a three-round UFC 223 featherweight feature on April 7, 2018 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Magomedsharipov swept the scorecards with 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 nods from the judges. Bochniak was outgunned but refused to go away. Magomedsharipov tore into him with a stiff jab, brutal body kicks and a variety of spinning attacks. He integrated takedowns in the second and third rounds, adding another layer to his offensive attack while keeping the game Bochniak off-balance. Both men slowed noticeably in Round 3 but finished with a flourish, cutting loose with punches over the final 15 seconds and bringing the crowd to its feet. The two men were awarded $50,000 bonuses for “Fight of the Night” for their efforts.
Magomedsharipov cemented his status at 145 against Kattar. (Photo: Jeff Bottari/Getty Images)
Pointed towards bigger and better things in the not-too-distant future, Magomedsharipov posted his 14th straight victory and continued to present himself as a monumental problem at 145 pounds, as he took a unanimous decision from Kattar in the UFC Fight Night 163 main event on Nov. 9, 2019 at CSKA Arena in Moscow. He swept the scorecards with matching 29-28 marks, improved to 6-0 since joining the UFC roster and turned his attention to more lucrative prey. Magomedsharipov outstruck Kattar by significant margins through the first 10 minutes, then kept him at bay in the third round, where he answered the Bostonian’s inevitable surge with a takedown and clock-stealing control. He targeted the head, body and legs with aplomb and did more than enough to curry favor with the judges.