Fun fact: Neither of these guys are taller than 6 foot, but they’ll possibly be fighting as heavyweights come Saturday night. Tafon Nchukwi is an absolute tank, with deceptively good cardio for his size. His opponent, Azamat Murzakanov, is a boxer/sambo fighter with devastating knockout capabilities. There’s no better way to kick off the card than with two big boys throwing leather.
Tafon Nchukwi vs Azamat Murzakanov Prediction
Tafon is a pretty well rounded fighter. He has a tight guard, he’s well paced, and likes to mix his techniques. One thing Nchukwi does well is finishing his combos with kicks. Albeit undersized for the division, Nchukwi often pressures his opponents with constant forward motion, walking through their assault and unloading with his own combinations. It’s a war of attrition with Nchukwi, one where he can still shut your lights off with one punch.
Nchukwi is a tough nut to crack, he has all the facets of a mixed martial artist, accompanied with unreal power and a granite chin. On the flipside, he does get cracked. In his DWCS fight in particular, he was touched on the button a few times but his recovery was just on a different level. It really all depends on whether Murzakanov has the lights-out power needed to punish Nchukwi’s juggernaut style.
Champion of the world in hand to hand combat, Azamat Murzakanov is a complete threat. Murzakanov possesses fantastic boxing prowess, and with a background in combat sambo and freestyle wrestling, he’s to be feared wherever the fight goes. Murzakanov was actually the first fighter to defeat André Muniz via. 50 second KO. Murzakanov is bouncy on his feet, and incredibly reactionary.
How could it play out
It’s actually quite a clash in styles, with Nchukwi being a plodding striker with good takedowns and cardio, and Murzakanov being a fast counter striker, capable of flurries and sambo style takedowns.
The key determining factor here is Murzakanov’s reactionary style. Nchukwi likes to unload on the body with repeated shovel style hooks when he gets in close on the cage. If he has success in pushing Murzakanov to the cage, but if he did attempt to unload those hooks, the superior boxer in Murzakanov would return with his own counter.
Both fighters will be southpaw, so neither of them will be able to handplay as much to set up their attacks. This benefits Murzakanov as Nchukwi will be forced to throw uneducated strikes, which should easily be punished. Another facet of Nchukwi’s style is the clinch where he likes to throw knees. If Murzakanov’s combat sambo background serves him right, he should be able to manipulate Nchukwi from the clinch quite easily.
All roads point to a Murzakanov domination. We can’t count Nchukwi out with that power, but Murzakanov has all the tools to put on an impressive performance this weekend.
My pick – Azamat Murzakanov
Tafon Nchukwi vs Azamat Murzakanov Betting Suggestion
A safe bet is Murzakanov to win out right, Bet365 has him as a considerable favourite to win at 10/17. Nchukwi is too durable to consider Murzakanov by finish.
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Mathew is a UK-based combat sports journalist. He currently works for MMA Knockout, part of the Sports Illustrated FanNation network. The Fight Fanatic is Mathew’s one-man operation. His past bylines include Heavy on UFC, Sportskeeda, and MMA UK.
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