Zabit Magomedsharipov triumphed over number six ranked Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens last night at UFC 235. This undoubtably was the Russian’s biggest win of his career.
Zabit entered the cage 4-0 in the UFC, picking up multiple Performance of the Night Awards along the way. In his latest matchup versus Brandon Davis, Zabit picked up Submission of the Year for his incredible display.
It was time for a step up in competition for the number 13 ranked fighter.
Jeremy Stephens is not a fighter to be taken lightly. Competing against top level opponents such as Max Holloway and Renan Baroa, Stephens has proved time again he can stand with the best.
Stephens came out strong, as expected, in the first round. Receiving pressure, Zabit used his incredible footwork moving away from the power of Stephens landing multiple shots of his own. Stephens continued to apply the pressure narrowly winning the first round, in my opinion.
After analysing the distance and movement of Stephens, Zabit started to pour it on over the next two rounds.
Zabit displayed why he is such an exciting fighter to witness. From landing some of the nastiest calf kicks to spinning attacks off the cage. Zabit showed off his outstanding movement and striking skills by successfully dodging punches from Stephens connecting with numerous counter shots and well timed takedowns.
After a dominant final two rounds, Zabit inevitably won the bout via unanimous decision.
Win a win over Stephens, Zabit has confirmed the hype behind him is real and most importantly cemented his place as a contender in the division.
With his last bout ending in defeat to Jose Aldo, Stephens will be determined to get back to winning ways. At 32 years old, the UFC’s youngest Veteran has plenty of life left in him yet and for sure will return stronger and tougher than ever.
In the post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Zabit was questioned about the fight and plans going forward. Zabit replied via translator, “Jeremy is a very tough opponent. He has lots of experience in the UFC. This is a big step up for me. I would like to face someone from the top 10, whoever it is to take me one step closer to a title shot.”
Will Zabit Magomedsharipov be competing for the belt by the end of the year?