Opinion: Wish Mamed Khalidov Joined the UFC
By Michael Hatamoto
Polish MMA veteran Mamed Khalidov picked up a triangle choke submission win against Ryuta Sakurai at KSW 25 from Wroclaw, Poland, on Saturday night.
Khalidov vs. Sakurai was a rematch from a KSW 13 light-heavyweight championship fight a few years back, which was scored a draw after four rounds, though both fighters were displeased with the decision. Sakurai lost out on the championship, while Khalidov was disappointed he couldn’t truly defend his title.
Khalidov started the fight with a flying knee and relied on a flurry of punches until Sakurai scored a takedown in the first round. Khalidov originally tried for a triangle armbar submission, Sakurai defended, and Khalidov transitioned to a regular triangle choke.
Despite a split-decision loss to Jorge Santiago at Sengoku 12 in 2010, the Polish fighter has dominated during his time in KSW – 13-0-2 record dating back to 2007. It’s a shame Khalidov is relegated to fighting largely subpar competition outside the UFC, as he’s one of the best fighters not currently on the ZUFFA roster.
There have been rumors Khalidov would join the UFC, and test himself against the best fighters in the world, but it still doesn’t seem likely anytime in the near future. Expect Khalidov to continue fighting for KSW, however, and until the UFC offers him a higher fight purse – he’ll remain dedicated to MMA promotions in Eastern Europe.
I think Khalidov isn’t ranked in the top 10 only because he isn’t in the UFC, but feel he could participate in plenty of competitive fights, if he leaves the KSW ring sometime in 2014.