The UFC’s return to Rotterdam seemed to fall flat, with a less than impressive card and a distinct lack of big names, but for newcomer Zabit Magomedsharipov, it was a perfect opportunity to grab the fan’s attention.
Magomedsharipov, 26, stole the show on the UFC Rotterdam undercard, submitting Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series contestant Mike Santiago in the second round of their match-up.
Overall it was a flashy performance from the Russian — at one point jumping off the cage to throw a ‘Showtime’ kick — but his methodical output shone bright, giving glimpses of the potential which had helped him win the featherweight championship under the Absolute Championship Berkut banner.
“His amateur career started from 12-years-old, and he did more than like few hundred fights in amateur career and when he goes to fight he doesn’t feel any nerves,” Magomedsharipov’s translator told the media, post-fight in Rotterdam.
Competing from such a young age is a very common trait in Russia, and it’s becoming a big factor as to why we are seeing such a huge amount of talent coming through the ranks in ACB.
With a record of 13-1, and a spectacular debut, it would be very plausible for the UFC to fast track his ascension up the featherweight ladder, especially with his call-out of ‘Conor McGregor sparring partner’ Artem Lobov.
— UFC Europe (@UFCEurope) September 2, 2017
Following his win, the UFC newcomer called out his fellow Russian when speaking to Dan Hardy post-win, and he followed up his call-out when speaking to the media too.
“He’s ready for anyone who UFC will give him because it’s just first fights in UFC but there’s one guy, he’s talking too much and he thinks that he is the legend, this guy is the Conor McGregor sparring partner [Artem] Lobov and he wants to show that this guy can talk but can not fight,” Magomedsharipov’s translator told the press at UFC Rotterdam.
Lobov, (14-13-1) is scheduled to face Andre Fili at UFC Fight Night 118. The bout takes place on October 21, and with his focus on the Russian-born Irishman, Magomedsharipov is ready to step in if “Touchy” Fili doesn’t make it to Gdansk, Poland.
“He knows that Lobov has a fight now and if his opponent have injury, he’s ready to replace this guy, and anyway two, three months enough for him to come back and to be ready,” his translator said.
Prior to being signed to compete on The Ultimate Fighter in 2015, Lobov was actually competing in ACB the same time Zabit broke onto the Russian scene.
Had the trajectory of the SBG Ireland fighter’s career been different, this fight may have already happened a long time ago. “The Russian Hammer” may not have the most glamorous of records — with almost as many defeats as wins — but the prospect of an all out brawl with Magomedsharipov certainly has fans licking their lips in excitement.