Octagon Oracles:TUF’ Contestant Liudvik Sholinian

Liudvik Sholinian gets his arm raised inside an MMA ring. Liudvik Sholinian will make his UFC debut on Saturday. Photo Credit: Lutos Palmeyros / Youtube

Liudvik Sholinian had one of the hardest runs on the most recent season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Making it to the semi-finals of the season, Sholinian fought three whole rounds in both of his appearances. He was eliminated in the second round, stopping him from making the playoffs.

On Saturday, he gets a second shot at a UFC career, stepping in on short notice to replace Zviad Lazishvili. He has a very tough opponent in his UFC debut, fighting undefeated talent Jack Shore.

Here’s what the Octagon Oracles crew thought about Sholinian before his UFC debut.

Tom Albano

Grade: C+
After impressing on season 29 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Liudvik Sholinian gets his opportunity in the UFC with a short-notice fight against Jack Shore on the prelims of UFC Vegas 36.

Sholinian competed in two of the season’s best bouts, upsetting first overall pick Mitch Raposo and coming up short to eventual winner Ricky Turcios, the latter widely considered the fight of the season.

Sholinian has described wrestling as being his foundation, though notes that he has made improvements on his striking over the years. All that was definitely on display during TUF but he is prone to error and being overtaken.

A short-notice fight against someone like Shore is quite a tough task for a debut. And while Sholinian’s skills put him above the average UFC fighter, he’s still quite the ways to go before being able to be considered a future champion, or even title challenger.

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

Kristen King

Grade: C
Props to Liudvik Sholinian for stepping in on short notice against Jack Shore this Saturday, but this will probably be an unpleasant welcome to the octagon. Sholinian is without a doubt a talented fighter and his two appearances on the most recent season of “The Ultimate Fighter” proves that. The 31-year-old entered the quarter-finals and bested the first overall pick of the season in Mitch Raposo using his wrestling, which is something to marvel at. Sholinian was aggressive in his pursuit of the takedown, and when he secured it, he moved into a position where he could control his opponent. He advanced to the semi-finals and took on Ricky Turcios, who essentially laid the blueprint for defeating Sholinian. A mix of takedown defense and overwhelming volume on the feet was enough, but make no mistake, Sholinian showed why he was one to keep an eye out for.

Sholinian has a style that could pose problems for some fighters in the bantamweight division, but not all of them. I think he alternates between wins and losses during his UFC tenure. His first fight in the promotion is against someone who excels in every aspect he does by a wide margin, so I would not be surprised to see Sholinian come up short. He can rebound, though, and I hope to see more of him as time goes on.

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

Jack Wannan

Grade: B
After every season of “TUF,” there’s a few fighters that didn’t make it to the finals that still get a shot in the UFC. Last week, we saw Michael Gillmore and Andre Petroski get that opportunity. This week, we see Sholinian.

Out of all fighters who didn’t make finals Sholinian might be the most qualified to get the UFC call. He has an impressive MMA career that includes wins over fellow high-ranked prospects Yuma Horiuchi and Vince Cachero.

On the show, Sholinian didn’t go down easy. He went into the “overtime” round in both of his battles on the season, putting on close fights against Mitch Raposo and season winner Ricky Turcios.

Sholinian is a well-rounded talent. In his first fight on the season, he showed his wrestling skills to pick up a scorecard win. His second bout, albeit a loss, showed that he is willing to engage on the feet. In his performances it was clear that wrestling was his biggest strength, but also that he’s not afraid to utilize other departments when his striking is shut down. While he showed his skills all around, nothing felt overwhelming in his appearance on the show. I think that there’s still room for Sholinian to improve, and it would be interesting to re-assess him in a year or so.

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