Zabit Magomedsharipov Back In The Gym And Ready To Destroy
In an Instagram post, Zabit said, "On February 28, I will simply destroy someone." There are no UFC events scheduled for that date, so it's unclear what the featherweight contender meant.
UFC Fight Night will take place on February 26 and will feature Islam Makhachev and Beneil Dariush. This event could have been referenced in the Instagram post, or it may have been about a grappling match not affiliated with the UFC.
Apart from that cryptic message, Zabit's manager has confirmed he is ready for a fight, and I am very excited to see him return to the always entertaining featherweight division.
Alexander Volkanovski is the reigning featherweight champ, with Max “Blessed” Holloway, “T-City” Brian Ortega, Yair Rodriguez, “The Korean Zombie” Chang Sung June, and Calvin Kattar rounding out the top five.
This is the must-see division in the UFC with Zabit added to the mix, but who should he make his comeback fight against? Despite the two-year layoff, the man is on a 14-fight win streak and was ranked third when he dropped out of the rankings. Yair Rodriguez now holds that spot, so it would make sense that he would face a top 10 opponent.
Zabit and Yair were supposed to fight at UFC 228 in 2018, but Yair declined the fight, almost getting him kicked out of the UFC. Undoubtedly, this is one of the fights we all want to see come to fruition.
With his last fight against Max Holloway, Yair proved that he can compete with the best in the weight class. This would be a good welcome back for Zabit, because of Yair’s unwillingness to accept the challenge previously. There will always be a question of whether Yair was scared if this fight isn't made when Zabit returns.
A fight against Yair would be a solid entry point if he is truly healthy. The only knock was his cardio issues. If he is now able to go five rounds without gassing, the champ, Alexander Volkanovski days could find his days numbered. Zabit is long, fast, and extremely well-rounded. He’s possibly the best striker in the division, and like many other fighters from the North Caucasus region, he is a great wrestler.
In both the striking and wrestling department, he is better than Yair, so I think he will edge out a win in that fight. In a Brian Ortega matchup, it would be Max Holloway all over again. Zabit’s long-range striking and speed would be too much for Ortega to deal with.
In a Calvin Kattar rematch, it would likely go the same as the first fight. Especially if his cardio has improved.
An amazing fight to see would be Zabit vs Holloway. Holloway currently does not have a fight because of the UFC 273 showdown between Volkanovski and Jung, so he would be available to fight Zabit if that’s the plan. Throwing him in against Holloway after such a long layoff may be a tall task, but it has the makings of a fight-of-the-year candidate.
Max is very well-rounded in his own right, and he is hard to take down. He’s also an elite boxer with fast hands. Again, if Zabit’s cardio issues have been addressed, the battle between them will be a beautiful display of high-level martial arts. In any case,
Zabit plans to take over and destroy any opponent he shares the octagon with. Let's see if his long layoff served him well.
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