Meet UFC featherweight & lightweight prospect Ilia Topuria
It’s time we all come to know a potential future UFC champion in Ilia Topuria.
This young talent from Spain/Georgia has been perfect thus far through his career, 12 fights in, as he’s amassed a perfect 12-0 record spanning back to a start in 2015.
Topuria went 7-0 as a professional in a span of just over four years, fighting for promotions like Cage Warriors and Brave CF. All seven of those wins came via submission, and he laid claim to the MFE featherweight championship in the process.
He also would’ve won the Cage Warriors bantamweight championship had he not missed weight for the contest.
What’s more, he finished six of those victories inside the first round, the other was ended midway through the second. Following his seven-straight submission victories came a brutal knockout, also coming in the first round.
This impressive streak granted him a shot in the UFC, where he first defeated Youssef Zalal, who was 3-0 inside the octagon at the time. Topuria nearly submitted him multiple times throughout the bout but ended up securing the unanimous decision victory.
This has been followed up by three-straight KO’s over the likes of Damon Jackson, Ryan Hall, and now Jai Herbert in his lightweight debut. Coming from someone we’d only saw grappling out of, this has been incredibly impressive to see.
At just 25-years-old, and already a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, his striking has been improving rapidly.
To submit his first seven opponents, then secure KO victories in his latest four finishes, it’s a wonder how much better he’ll get over the next five years or so.
He’s beating good talent too.
As mentioned above, Zalal was 3-0 in the UFC at the time, Jackson has since won his last two-straight, Hall was 4-0 in the UFC at the time and has since rebounded, and Herbert is a kickboxer that nearly knocked him out early on in their contest.
Topuria has shown us he can battle through real adversity. Herbert was so much longer and rangier than himself, standing 6’1” with a 77” reach, while Topuria stands just 5’7” with a reach of 69”. He had a hard time finding his range in this contest, but he bit down and threw with pinpoint precision while standing in the pocket.
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon Versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I ever saw, and I was immediately hooked. So eventually, I began covering the sport in the fourth quarter of 2018, and have since started writing about animals as well. If you’d like to see those pieces, be sure to check out learnaboutnature.com!