The Nurmagomedov name has certainly been one of dominance over the last several years, beginning with former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who retired in October of 2020 with a record of 29-0 following his third-straight title defense.
Since then, we’ve seen cousins Umar Nurmagomedov and Usman Nurmagomedov take center stage and wreak havoc on their respective divisions, in their respective promotions.
Usman just claimed the Bellator lightweight championship this past Friday at Bellator 288 with a dominant victory over longtime staple Patricky Freire, handily winning all five rounds of the contest to improve his record to 16-0 at just 24 years of age.
Then we have 26-year-old stud Umar Nurmagomedov (15-0), a former FMMAS bantamweight champion, and a former GF bantamweight champion that’s gone 3-0 thus far inside the UFC octagon. He defended each title once prior to coming over, and since arriving in the big show, he’s picked up wins over Sergey Morozov (rear naked choke), and Brian Kelleher (rear naked choke), and Nathan Maness (UD, 30-27, 30-26, 30-25).
Morozov is a former M-1 Global bantamweight champion, Kelleher is a former ROC bantamweight champion, and Maness is a former title holder of BB (bantamweight), Warrior FC (lightweight), TKO (bantamweight), and HRMMA (featherweight).
Then we have his next opponent Raoni Barcelos (17-3), a former Shooto featherweight champion, and a former RFA featherweight champion; he never lost either belt in a fight either, as he went 4-0 in Shooto, claiming the belt in his final promotional bout, and he vacated the RFA title after defending it for the second time to join the UFC’s roster.
Barcelos went on an initial five-fight win streak to begin his UFC career, defeating Chris Gutierrez (rear naked choke) and Said Nurmagomedov (UD) in that time.
Gutierrez has since gone 7-0-1 following defeat to Barcelos, and Nurmagomedov has since won his last three-straight with two finishes coming in less than 60 seconds. The Brazilian talent is the only man to defeat either man in the UFC, as their combined promotional records are 12-2-1.
Barcelos is a BJJ world champion, a BJJ national champion, a five-time Brazilian national champion in wrestling, a two-time South American champion in wrestling, and he has some very solid boxing with some nasty kicks to go along with it.
Raoni Barcelos is the full package when it comes to MMA, as is Umar Nurmagomedov, making this one of the more compelling match ups scheduled to go down in the new year.
This bout is to take place at UFC Fight Night 217 on January 14, 2023.
Who do you see coming out on top in this epic bantamweight clash?
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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 saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.