The business card of invincibility does not belong to everyone, but the Russian Khizriev has been searching in vain for a conqueror since 2014. Three years ago, he successfully managed the fight for a contract with the UFC, after which a year later he experienced a successful debut against compatriot Denis Tiuliulin. “The fact that I haven’t lost yet means a lot of responsibility. Everyone is looking at it, everyone wants to take me down. But my main task is to go into the cage and win,” says the native of Rostov to Meta MMA.
On the other side of the cage will be the much more experienced Uzbek Muradov, who is already waiting for his seventh fight in the UFC. Bookmakers still favor the Russian shooter. “He’s an average wrestler, I’ve fought stronger fighters than him. He has something from wrestling and attitude, but I have nothing more to say about him,” says Khizriev modestly, who has succeeded fourteen times (9 times before the limit) in a row. In the last year, however, he managed only one fight, because he had four in a row canceled.
“I had health problems, I needed to recover. There were also some complications with arranging matches, plus covid came into play, which also caused me to cancel several duels. I cracked my cheekbone before one of the games, I was out. It was a difficult time, a lot of problems. Time flew by very quickly,” Khizriev is glad that he can finally return to the battlefield.
“Every fighter is different in training and then in a match. Together with the coaches, we watched his last two duels and found out various things. In the final, however, it makes no sense, because MMA is progressing very quickly today and each fighter is already at a different level. No one stands at the same place or level for two years. We’ll see what quality he shows on Saturday,” smiles Muradov to RB Sports.
Khizriev will fight a Russian-speaking opponent for the second time in a row. “It doesn’t matter who I fight. It is the best league in the whole world where only the best gather. It’s a different level. It’s no problem for me. Whoever they give me, I will fight,” he thinks. Muradov also agrees with him. “It’s a sport. I take it as it is. We have to appreciate that we are in the best place in the world and we can’t choose.”
The Russian machine is considered the best fighter in the middle division. “Of course it’s me, I just had some problems all the time and my health didn’t allow me to show it to the fullest. Everything is fine now. In general, I don’t see any particularly strong fighters in this weight class, except perhaps Khamzat Chimaev, who moved to middleweight. Otherwise, there is no one here who would stand out in any way,” he thinks.
The fight between Muradov and Khizriev is on the main card of the UFC Fight Night 235 tournament in Las Vegas. It is also broadcast live by Premier Sport 3.