In this three-part series, I will choose my top UFC men’s prospects for 2021. They all got the first taste of life in the UFC last year, so I will detail their background and explain why, in my opinion, they are the ones to keep your eyes on during 2021.
1st: Shavkat Rakhmonov
UFC record: 1-0 – submission. Now 13-0 overall.
Age 26. Kazakhstani. Welterweight.
Shavkat Rakhmonov is a former welterweight champion in both the M-1 Global and Kazakhstan MMA Federation promotions. He made his UFC debut in 2020 but had to wait a long time to finally set foot in the octagon.
“Nomad” saw UFC debuts against Bartosz Fabiński, Ramazan Emeev, and Elizeu Zaleski all cancelled before he made his maiden appearance in the organisation. He eventually made his debut on the prelims of UFC 254 in October against Alex Oliveira and was very impressive in securing a submission victory due to a guillotine choke with twenty seconds of the first round remaining.
Rakhmonov’s statistics now stand at seven KO/TKO and six submission victories from his thirteen contests, and he has finished eight of these in the first round. With a 100% finish rate, he has only gone to the third round once and will hope that he can continue to put in memorable performances in 2021.
Beating a UFC stalwart on the main card of such a huge event was an incredible way for Rakhmonov to introduce himself to the UFC. After his victory over one “Cowboy”, he expressed a desire to face another, Donald Cerrone, next.
It remains to be seen who the matchmakers will pair Rakhmonov with for his next UFC appearance but his record and experience as a champion in other promotions make him a dangerous prospect for 170lbs challengers.
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