Octagon Oracles: LFA veteran and short-notice signee Askar Askar

Askar Askar participates in media day for his UFC debut. Credit: MMAJunkie.

On Saturday, February 6, multi-fight Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) veteran Askar Askar (11-1) will make his UFC debut, facing 13th-ranked UFC bantamweight Cody Stamann (19-3-1).

In this piece, several of MMA-Prospects’ staff writers will give their predictions for how each prospect making their debut in the coming weekend will face during their UFC tenure.

Askar Askar

The first Palestinian-born fighter to fight in the UFC, Askar Askar comes to the UFC after a dominant win over Kevin Wirth at LFA 92. Askar is 11-1 as a professional and is the former Hoosier FC bantamweight champion.

Askar will be making his UFC debut on nearly a week’s notice. He will be taking of Cody Stamann (19-3-1 MMA, 5-2-1 UFC), who was originally slated to face Andre Ewell (17-6).

Shawn Bitter

Grade: B+

Askar is a fantastic fighter who could have a bright future. When talking about a complete fighter being able to mix it up everywhere, Askar fits the bill. On the feet, Askar is super polished and technical. He fights with a textbook jab and throws combinations and mixes up his attack frequently. As good as Askar is on the feet, he’s even better on the mat and wrestling. From his set-up to his execution, his grappling is all very well done.

Offensively, he’s a great fighter, but defensively, he needs work. Not too long ago he was knocked out in under a minute and has been tagged in other fights. His chin is a big question mark and his inability to move his head more is a concern.  Overall, I like Askar and I think he has a good future.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Joseph Shaw

Grade: B

This is a huge opportunity for Askar as a win for him could ascend him into the Top 15. He is 11-1 and his only loss was against Saidyokub Kakhramonov who was 6-2, so it’s not the worst of losses to have on your resume. However, he has racked up wins against solid opposition over guys like Alberto Martinez (6-2), James Blair (5-0), and Kevin Wirth (8-1). The reason why I have given him a grade B is that he is a solid prospect who is still young and improving and could have the potential to crack into the rankings in the future.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Vince Rodemer

Grade: C
I want to see it from Askar. He did win his only LFA fight over Kevin Wirth in October, but I’m not sure that is saying much. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t really have a lot of respect for the Midwest regional scene unless there is some sort of an elite wrestling background. If you are any good in the Midwest, you are getting out of there for better training and competition. Collin Anglin (8-1) has been an outlier, but he does have that strong wrestling background.

With prospects, I look at the level of competition most and it’s not there for Askar. I don’t think he is great at anything and with that will come a 50-50 fighter and a guy that is in close fights. I definitely think he’s in for a rough night with Cody Stamann, who pretty much outworks everyone he fights.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Zac Herbison

Grade: C-

Askar seems to be all offense. He puts his opponent behind the black lines immediately and doesn’t let up. He hits really hard. He attacks with submissions from his back to get up. He also has some powerful takedowns. His cage-cutting’s pretty good, but would be much improved if he didn’t seem so determined to be a pocket fighter.

Askar seems incapable of staying at range and throwing long, straight punches, which I feel would benefit his game a lot. Even short combinations end with Askar in clinch range, which feels like an unnecessary risk. Askar’s best defense is his offense. If that doesn’t shut his opponent down, he seems to be there to be hit. He doesn’t move his head. He doesn’t roll with punches. His chin also isn’t what you would hope for in a pocket fighter.

I see Askar putting on some fun performances. which may keep him around in the UFC, but he’s going to have a tough time maintaining a winning record.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Joe McDonagh

Grade: B+

Askar is a super well-rounded 26-year-old who could really turn heads with his UFC debut. He’s a striker who is jab-heavy, but the real talent stands out in his wrestling. Askar also has some solid, ever-improving grappling.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Kristen King

Grade: B

The bantamweight division got even more exciting following the short-notice signing of prospect Askar Askar. Askar has some really clean striking, but his brilliance on the ground is what truly gets people talking. He has great takedowns and can hold an opponent down for as long as possible. Anyone that has such a solid foundation usually fares well in the UFC, but I worry about what happens if he meets someone that can hit very hard or outwrestle him.

He definitely has a place in the UFC and I look forward to seeing the continued development of Askar.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Joshua Yule

Grade: B+

Askar’s single loss was getting knocked out early out of the gate, which is something that can happen to a lot of guys. Very accurate puncher, but upright with bad head movement, though I don’t think that Stamann is the guy to punish him for that. Offensive wrestling is okay but his TDD may be a little questionable, and Stamann absolutely 100% can punish that. He does have a fairly active bottom game though, but Stamann’s control is proven at this point.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Charlie Vann

Grade: A-

Askar is a solid grappler with solid boxing as well. Coming into the UFC he is going to have to be able to put together both crisply as he can in this bantamweight division. He is strong in the mount, and a little bit longer in the range too. He does have promise but will need to be consistent with accuracy on the feet, and stay strong with his ground transition to find success in a division that is stacked with well-rounded talent.

If he can do that, his star will shine. He will engage with takedowns, and stay persistent with his ground and pound as well. He did have a 39-second loss last February. However, with it being his only loss, I wouldn’t let it take from his possible potential in the UFC.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Gary Friel

Grade: C-

Sometimes when you see a fighter’s name, you just can’t imagine them getting to the top and since there’s an Askar Askarov in UFC, who’s well-touted already, I just can’t picture Askar Askar being the next top guy. That doesn’t matter if he gets his results, but if UFC shares that concept then I’m not sure I see him making it to the moon.

He’s beaten some good guys across HFC and LFA but is coming off a recent immediate stoppage loss to Saidyokub Kakharamonov and I feel that fighters who’ve been stopped like that once always are much more likely to be stopped in a similar fashion again. For this specific fight, he’s moved up a weight class and I believe the notice on this fight wasn’t huge. Might be massively underestimating him, but I think he loses this fight and doesn’t have a great UFC run.

Out Within 1-2 Years
50/50 Winner
Bonus Winner
A Mainstay Through the Years
Top 15
Top 10
Top 5
Title Contender
Champion

Also making his UFC debut on this event is Manel Kape. Here is his Octagon Oracles entry.