Zabit Magomedsharipov is one of the more well-rounded prospects in the sport of MMA and since debuting in the big league of the UFC back in 2017, he’s risen fast through the featherweight ranks. Saturday he headlines UFC Moscow along with Calvin Kattar, not too far from Magomedsharipov’s native Dagestan.
If you’re new to the contender’s career, it’s high-time you caught up, and fast. Though he’s impressed in the past couple calendars in the UFC, Magomedsharipov’s finishing ability has been on display for years going back to more regional promotions.
Read on for five of his most impressive finishes, so far, and stick with us this weekend for coverage of his bout against Kattar on Saturday (2 p.m. ET, ESPN+).
No. 5: Def. Mike Santiago via submission (rear naked choke) in R2 on Sept. 2, 2017
Make no mistake about it – Santiago was at several significant disadvantages in this fight where both men made their UFC debuts before it even began. It was Santiago’s second fight in two weeks as he signed to fight Magomedsharipov right after fighting on short-notice on “Dana White’s Contender Series.”
To make matters rougher for Santiago than they already were (fighting through nagging bumps and bruises on short-notice, twice, and cutting weight twice in two weeks), he had to fly to Europe for it. Still, Santiago is a vastly underrated fighter, and quite tough to look good against.
So, Magomedsharipov’s win over him was impressive, nonetheless. Magomedsharipov got Santiago to the ground and took his back in the second round before securing a choke that ended the bout.
Like many of Magomedsharipov’s submissions, this one had impressive tweaks on a common one – the rear naked choke. In this variation, Magomedsharipov’s choking hand was on the bottom as both men laid on their sides, and he managed to get the tap despite holding onto Santiago at a tenuous angle.
No. 4: Def. Orudzh Zamanov via submission (guillotine choke) in R2 on Nov. 14, 2014
Want another example of Magomedsharipov making the common sublime? Here’s one. Five years ago he faced something he’s often had to over the course of his career – an opponent who felt the safest way to fight the dangerous Kung Fu kickboxer was to try and take him down.
Zamanov repeatedly shot in on Magomedsharipov looking for takedowns, but had them reversed on him repeatedly. Magomedsharipov survived an embarrassingly bad stand-up from the fight’s flamboyantly demonstrative referee when he was on top of a face-down, turtled Zamonov, with control of his opponent’s back in the first round.
Magomedsharipov scored multiple reversal takedowns and crucifix positions on the tough Zamonov, who repeatedly survived and escaped. The final time Magomedsharipov successfully defended a takedown, however, he latched onto a front headlock and immediately secured a rear naked choke” style grip from the front on Zamanov, drove him backward and prompted the tap-out.
No. 3: Def. Abdul-Rakhman Temirov via submission (guillotine choke) in R1 on Oct. 24, 2015
So, Magomedsharipov is good enough to catch people with the same move many times, by the way. In this fight he defended takedowns for four minutes before Temirov got his head to the outside of Magomedsharipov’s right side, and then Magomedsharipov turned to face once away from the fence. He then immediately locked up a front headlock and got the RNC-style grip immediately, sinking the strangle in and getting the tap.
No. 2: Def. Sheymon Moraes via submission (anaconda choke) in R2 on Nov. 25, 2017
This fight was competitive and saw both sharp strikers do well on their feet, especially with kicks. Magomedsharipov used grappling to separate himself, scoring takedowns and working into dominant ground positions.
He looked close to finishing the fight several times before he actually managed to, but Moraes hung tough and made it deep into the third round. With just over 30 seconds left Moraes found himself on his back again, and skillfully worked to escape and get up from a bad position on bottom.
As he did, Magomedsharipov locked on a front headlock and then transitioned right into an arm-in choke position, fell to his right, turned the corner and got the tap-out.
No. 1: Def. Brandon Davis via submission (Suloev stretch) in R2 on Sept. 8, 2018
Magomedsharipov is good at getting the back, which is usually a dominant position for all fighters. Yet, he goes for things in decisive fashion from there that most fighters outside of he and the likes of Aljamain Sterling won’t ever consider.
In this fight he took Davis’ back and sank to unconventional “hooks” in. One of Magomedsharipov’s legs hooked under the leg of Davis, while he manually grabbed his opponent’s other leg while Davis attempted to stand up. Initially, manually grabbing Davis’ left leg helped break down his posture for Magomedsharipov and bring him back to the mat.
Once on the canvas, however, Magomedsharipov held onto the leg and hyperextended the knee using his own leg as a fulcrum, getting the surprising tap-out.
More from Yahoo Sports: