In recent years, a pipeline between the talent-rich Dagestani republic and KHK Team, the MMA gym founded by Bahraini royalty His Highness Shaikh Khaled bin Hamad Al Khalifa, has emerged.
KHK is a team fraught with notable prospects in the sport, many of whom compete for BRAVE CF, a promotion linked to the Bahrani royal family. This includes BRAVE super lightweight champion Eldar Eldarov, recent UFC signee and super-prospect Muhammad Mokaev, and many others.
One such prospect is the undefeated bantamweight Magomed Idrisov (4-0), who like many of his countrymen dominates his fights with a suffocating ground game.
In what has become somewhat of a pattern for KHK competitors (see: Murtaza Talha Ali), Idrisov began his MMA career as an amateur. He competed extensively in the IMMAF-WMMAA system, amassing a 9-3 record while competing at the IMMAF European, Asian, and World Championship tournaments.
Idrisov turned pro in 2020, beginning his professional career in the BRAVE CF cage. Confident in his amateur experience translating to the pro ranks, Idrisov took on 13-fight veteran John Cris Corton, a member of Team Lakay.
The 28-year-old stifled Corton throughout the fight, giving him no space to work on the ground across three rounds of flyweight action. The weight class bears referencing, as all of Idrisov’s fights before and after the Corton fight took place at bantamweight with the exception of his most recent fight, which saw him debut at featherweight.
His next fight came eight months later against 3-2 Belarusian Nikita Rachkov. Idrisov finished him with punches just minutes into the first round at BFC Contender Series 6, a Belarusian event held in partnership with Gorilla Fighting Championship, the promotion now owned by Khabib Nurmagomedov as Eagle FC.
Idrisov moved to 3-0 in September of 2021 when he bested Kyrgyzstan’s Nurumar Akhmataliev (6-2) at Octagon, a Kazakh promotion.
After a series of low kicks and a more-mobile striking stance, Idrisov zoomed in for a double leg to take Akhmataliev to the canvas. Idrisov’s heavy pressure in top position can be felt through the TV screen; he is satisfied to remain in half guard, launching knees to the body of his downed opponent.
A brief pass to side control was followed by a settling back into the closed guard of Akhmataliev for Idrisov. There, he unloaded with a barrage of punches from the guard, stacking his opponent against the corner of the cage before once more passing to side mount.
An overzealous focus on attacking a Von Flue-esque position led to Idrisov being bucked and swept, but he quickly re-established a takedown during the ensuing scramble. Another pass to side mount caused Akhmataliev to give up his back to try to regain his footing. Sensing an opening, Idrisov pounced on the available rear-naked choke opportunity and submitted his foe with roughly a minute remaining in the first frame.
His fourth professional fight was, to quote the great baseballer Yogi Berra, “déjà vu all over again.”
Idrisov opened the first round with low kicks once more in what has become somewhat of an expected strategy for the Dagestani, repeatedly causing opponent Temirlan Zhumabekov (7-5) to back away to regroup.
Nearly a minute and a half into the round and after showcasing improved striking speed, an Zhumabekov caught kick led to the first clinch of the bout. Despite a long period of control against the cage, Idrisov was unable to secure a trademark takedown.
Another hard low kick on the feet stopped Zhumabekov in his tracks. Sensing blood in the water, Idrisov keep the pressure on the Kyrgyz. A lightning-fast front kick preceded the fight’s penultimate blow, another crushing leg kick.
Zhumabekov dropped to the canvas, and a swift kick to his leg by Idrisov led the referee to call the contest in the Russian’s favor.
The fight exemplified what makes Idrisov a compelling prospect: his persistence in his attack of his opponents’ lead leg sets up his takedowns, and his speed and power on the feet are enough to carry him far in the sport should his takedowns fail to materialize.
Given his connection to KHK Team, it may be likely that Idrisov may return to the BRAVE CF cage in 2022. Regardless of where Idrisov competes, look for him to make a splash as a prospect to watch.