With no UFC or Bellator this weekend, it’s worth taking a look at some of the smaller organizations for betting action. In the headliner of Fight Nights Global 90, we’re treated to an interesting clash of styles as surging welterweights, Vladimir Mineev and Magomed Ismailov, lock horns.
Coming from a kickboxing background, there’s no question whether Mineev is a refined striker. He has an excellent jab, mixes up his shot selection and is defensively sound. One thing that stands out when watching footage is his distance control. He’s always able to keep opponents at the end of his strikes and that could be beneficial against a much shorter opponent in Ismailov. Mineev performs excellently when opponents are willing to stand at distance and indulge him in a technical striking battle. He got the better of Yasubey Enomoto, who is a good striker himself. However, he can struggle when fighters try to wrestle him – and that will certainly be the case this weekend.
I have reservations about Mineev’s cardio. His conditioning looks fine in striking fights, but I don’t think he enjoys having to stuff takedowns. Conventional wisdom say that if you want to tire out a striker, force them to wrestle. In his recent bout with Andreas Michailidis, Mineev was able to stuff some shots but also got taken down a few times. He looked visibly exhausted in round two but fortunately for him, his opponent was too.
Standing 5’9, Ismailov is short for a middleweight, but he’s built like a tank. His muscular, compact body type is ideal for getting in on the legs of taller fighters and wrestling them to the ground. He seems to be incredibly strong and his highlight reel is full of high amplitude slams. On the mat, he’s heavy from top position and deadly with ground strikes.
While wrestling is his core skill, Ismailov is not out of depth on his feet. He’s not the most fluid striker, but his low volume, high powered style has resulted in a number of first round stoppage victories. Despite his early victories and explosive style, he’s not a front runner and can maintain a pace for three rounds. In a decision victory against Ibragim Tibilov in 2015, Ismailov dominated the contest and ended round three pounding away on the mat for a finish. I believe Ismailov will have the cardio advantage, especially if he forces Mineev to defend takedowns and fight off his back.
At distance, Mineev will have a clear advantage. However, I don’t think Ismailov will be interested in that kind of fight. In all likelihood, Mineev will have to defend takedowns early and often, which will wear out his gas tank. It’s certainly possible Mineev wins via first round knockout, but I think it’s more likely Ismailov mixes his wrestling and striking in order to drag his opponent into deep waters in this five round fight. Ismailov is currently available at -165, which isn’t the best price in the world. However, I cap him closer to -200 so I think there is still a bit of value (unless Mineev has dramatically improved his cardio).
Pick: Magomed Ismailov -165
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