Streaking featherweight prospect Zabit Magomedsharipov is quickly becoming one of the most promising young contenders in UFC today.
The super-skilled Russian fighter has produced a 3-0 record since entering the promotion last year, while displaying outright dominance inside of the Octagon. While Magomedsharipov was expecting to fight featherweight contender Yair Rodriguez later this evening (Sat., Sept. 8, 2018) at UFC 228 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, an injury forced “El Pantera” out of action and veteran Brandon Davis stepped in on short notice.
With the late change, “ZaBeast” now enters his UFC 228 main card clash with Davis as a ridiculous -1175 favorite. It’s a dangerous spot with limited upside for Magomedsharipov, but the 27-year-old remains confident across the board as he tries to cash in on his growing potential.
“It doesn’t pressure me at all,” Magomedsharipov told MMAjunkie ahead of UFC 228. “Actually that’s my goal, to be here, to get the title, the championship. It’s cool. It’s nothing that pressures me. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
“I’m this kind of person since I was a kid. I’m quiet, not emotional. I never expose my emotions that much. But all this attention and people recognizing me, that people start talking to me, it’s OK. I’m pleased with that. I’m OK with that. I’m cool.”
As far as Rodriguez goes, Magomedsharipov holds no hard feelings. He understands that it was a fight combat fans were drooling over, but also feels for his injured featherweight counterpart.
“Of course I was frustrated,” Magomedsharipov said. “It was sad to hear that he got injured. Many people were waiting for this fight. I was getting ready for this fight, I was calling for this fight, but it’s a part of the game. You cannot judge him. No one is protected from injuries. I can be injured tomorrow. He’s injured, and I only wish him the best and that he’s back as soon as possible, and maybe we can finish the history.”
A victory over Davis this weekend at UFC 228 will push Magomedsharipov’s promotional record to 4-0. That sort of success usually leads to a big step up in competition. While Zabit would be open to re-booking a bout with Rodriguez he also has his sights set on two of the biggest names in the 145-pound division.
“If everything goes fortunate Saturday night and I’ll do my best, if Yair is not coming back, I know that Chad Mendes is back,” Magomedsharipov said. “He’s one of the guys I wish to fight with, or Jose Aldo. I want to fight someone in the top three of the division.”
If Magomedsharipov is able to walk through Davis in fashion there’s no arguing that he deserves a top-flight featherweight contender. At that point, we’ll find out how far Zabit can climb the divisional ladder.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 228 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:15 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on FX at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.