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This is an intriguing Heavyweight scrap. Chris Daukaus has surprised a lot of people, having starched three tough opponents inside the octagon already. With solid striking and power, Daukaus has made it known he’s not to be reckoned with on the feet. However, Shamil Abdurakhimov can strike too. The Dagestani has won two of his last three victories via strikes. Abdurakhimov happens to have wrestling chops as well, often using it against foes who excel on the feet. Little known about Abdurakhimov, if not for the fight being five rounds, he would have handily beaten recent Interim title challenger Derrick Lewis.
As for a prediction, I’m going with Abdurakhimov. While red flags of inactivity and age are apparent, I believe Abdurakhimov brings forth a very underrated skillset. Abdurakhimov is by far the best striker Daukaus has faced. Throw in the fact that we’ve only seen one takedown attempt against the American in the UFC, and I’m not exactly sure what to make of his takedown defense. Abdurakhimov has only lost three of his eight fights in the UFC, two of which have come to top five ranked Heavyweights in Curtis Blaydes and the aforementioned Derrick Lewis. Now, it’s a very real possibility that Daukaus can continue his tear and flatline Abdurakhimov on the feet. However, I believe ‘Abrek’ is a cerebral fighter who exploits opponents’ weaknesses. I expect Abdurakhimov to mix in his striking and wrestling, ultimately defeating Daukaus via TKO.
Pick: Shamil Abdurakhimov