Friday, December 9th, 2016 in Albany, New York for UFC Fight Night 102: “Lewis vs Abdurakhimov” by Daniel Tom

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Derrick Lewis (16-4)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 31 Weight: 265 lbs Reach: 79″
  • Last Fight: Split Decision win / Roy Nelson (7-7-16)
  • Camp: Silverback Fight Club (Houston, TX)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Fair

Supplemental info:
+   Regional MMA Titles
+   94% Finishing Rate
+   14 KO victories
+   1 Submission win
+   7 first round finishes
+   KO power
+   Devastating right hands & uppercuts
+   Underrated kicks & knees
+/-Aggressive engagements & entries
^   Counter availabilities
+   Strong inside the clinch
^   Strikes well off the breaks
+   Improved grappling/positional awareness
^   Underrated scrambling ability
+/-Limited tools shown from back
^   Times get-ups & explosions well

Shamil Abdurakhimov (17-3)

Staple info:

  • Height: 6’3″ Age: 35 Weight: 255 lbs Reach: 76″
  • Last Fight: Split Decision win / Walt Harris (10-1-16)
  • Camp: Preservet FT (Makhachkala, Dagestan)
  • Stance/Striking Style: Orthodox / Kickboxing
  • Risk Management: Good

Supplemental info:
+   Master of Sport in Kickboxing
+   Wushu Sanda Champion (Russia)
+   7 KO victories
+   4 Submission wins
+   9 first round finishes
+   Excellent footwork
^   Deceptively athletic & agile
+   Accurate shot selection
^   Good timing and instincts
+   Competent takedowns
^   Changes level well
+   Strong inside of the clinch
^   Strikes well off of the breaks
+   Floats well on top
–    Shows to struggle from bottom
–    Lacks overall output & urgency


The main event for UFC Albany is a heavyweight showdown between Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis and Shamil “Abrek” Abudurakhimov. A fast-rising fan favorite, Derrick Lewis has wasted little time in getting to work since coming on board with the organization. Recently scoring some of the biggest wins of his career in battles with Roy Nelson and Gabriel Gonzaga, Lewis will look to make a statement in this showcase spot. An interesting addition to the heavyweight division, Shamil Abdurakhimov has quietly accrued a 2-1 record in the UFC as the Dagestani seeks to shake up the rankings and land on the radar with a big win.

Although Abdurakhimov seems like an unlikely contender, there is a lot to like about the man who has a Master of Sport in Kickboxing. Like many Dagestani strikers, Shamil comes from a Wushu Sanda base. One of the earlier forms of martial arts embraced by Russia, Wushu Sanda, originated from Chinese Wushu in an effort to create a more competitive form of kickboxing. From punches to low kicks, this style has some of the fundamental nods to boxing and Muay Thai. However, it also incorporates a lot of clinch fighting in the form of strikes, trips, and tosses.

Hailing from Makhachkala, Abdurakhimov comes from a place of solid strikers who embody this style. ACB’s current heavyweight champion, Salimgirey Rasulov, is another successful Dagestani from Makhachkala who fights similarly to Shamil. Although Shamil does not throw as flashy of kicks as Salimgirey, he does some things quietly well that could surface against the Black Beast. Deceptively agile, Abdurakhimov displays intelligent footwork that allows him to manage the distance at his preferred fighting range.

Even though these abilities can often allow Abdurakhimov to fall subject to cruise control, Shamil possesses and well-timed right hand that he keeps cocked for oncoming opposition. Maintaining a light bounce in his step, Abdurakhimov will plant his weight appropriately when his opponent attempts to close the distance. Although Abdurabkhimov lacks the typical heavyweight pop to his punches, he arguably makes up for it with his accuracy and placement. We saw perfect examples of this in Abdurahimov’s fight with Anthony Hamilton, as he was able to stun the more powerful man on multiple occasions.

Despite Shamil’s lack of follow-up making for a forgettable fight, that does not change that fact that his counter right hand will be his best shot in this matchup. Even though Abdurakhimov lacks traditional one-shot stopping power, all it takes is placement and momentum in this weight class. However, if Abdurakhimov’s counters fail to get the same respect from Lewis that they did from Hamilton, then he may be outgunned in the striking exchanges.

Stepping onto the scene as an unabashed brawler, Derrick Lewis has shown signs of improvements underneath the scary destructions that often take place in his fights. An incredible athlete for a man of his size, Lews can throw accurate knees and head kicks with little signs of a struggle. A downright scary distance closer, Derrick will force his opponent into the fence whether he lands on them or not. Difficult to deal with inside of the clinch, Derrick does his best work when striking off of the breaks as he does so with impunity.

Although Abdurakhimov is competent inside of the clinch, he gets too comfortable in this space as that could be a crucial mistake against Lewis. Since Shamil is the more technical clinch fighter, it will be interesting if he tries any of his trip-takedowns in an attempt to neutralize Lewis. We saw Roy Nelson have success with an outside trip from the clinch, even though he ultimately struggled to keep Lewis grounded. Although Lewis lacks your typical technics off of his back, he is intelligent in knowing when to time his explosions.

Granted, his size and strength are a huge, outlying reason for his success, but that still does not change the fact the Lewis is showing steady signs of technical improvement. Given that grapplers like Gabe Gonzaga and Roy Nelson struggled to implement their terms, I do not see Shamil breaking any new ground in that department. Abdurakhimov is also not too active in regards to taking his opponents down, as the Dagestani will usually only change his level to stifle an oncoming rush. Against Lewis, Abdurakhimov could lower his head into a knee if he is not careful.

Shamil also likes to score takedowns off of caught kicks, but I am not sure that will be much of a threat considering that most of Lewis’ sprinkled-in attempts are to the head. Whether Lewis finds his way topside in a scramble or shoots his forceful double-leg, Shamil will need to be worried if he finds himself as the man on the bottom. Although Abdurakhimov’s one stoppage loss was not a clean KO, Derrick Lewis possesses the power to knock out an Elephant if given the opportunity. If Abdurakhimov fails to establish and follow up on his counter shots, then I suspect the Black Beast will find another scalp here.

Official Pick: Lewis – Inside the distance

Official Outcome: Lewis – TKO (round 4)

Main Card Predictions:

  • Lewis def. Abdurakhimov
  • Ngannou def. Hamilton
  • Anderson def. O’Connell
  • Villante def. Safarov

Preliminary Card Predictions:

  • Kish def. Yoder
  • Brown def. Camozzi
  • Meerschaert def. Gigliotti
  • Sanchez def. Smith
  • Burgos def. Trator
  • Diakiese def. Perez
  • Janes def. Berish
  • Lima def. Aldrich

Recommended Plays:

Props worth looking at(

-Diakiese by TKO: +148 (1 Unit)
-Lima by Decision: +121 (0.5 Unit)
-O’Connell by TKO: +900 (.25 Unit)

Playable favorites for your parlays:

-Mark Diakiese
-Juliana Lima

Fights to avoid:

-Brown vs Camozzi
-Burgos vs Trator
-Janes vs Berish

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