The Prelim Breakout Star is a once per event article that helps fans get to know those who will be entertaining them from the undercard. The intention of the article is not to bring attention to the most talented fighter on the preliminary card, but rather one that the common fan may have overlooked or underestimated.

Back in the mainland for UFC in the Apex once again, we have one of the most lackluster cards in recent memory. But just because we’re a little low on name value, doesn’t mean we’ll be low on entertainment.

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Taimur Valiev

Nickname – The Lucky
Affiliation – Ricardo Almeida BJJ
From – Moscow, Russia
Height – 5’6″
Weight – 135 lbs (Bantamweight)
Record – 16-2 (0-0 UFC)

 

What makes him impressive

Relentless is likely a word that gets used in MMA far too often, but it probably still isn’t even enough to describe what Timur Valiev is like in a cage. While maintaining his technique and defensive capabilities, he is constantly throwing and throwing big. While the fight is a bit dated at this point, his WSOF fight with Ed West is such a great example of this. He not only keeps working West backwards with his pressure, but when West hits the mat, he doesn’t stop throwing.

 

Why he has been overlooked

After a WSOF/PFL run that would seem to put him on the radar of any company or fan, Valiev found himself without a home. Instead of waiting for the call to come, he made his way to Russian-owned Gorilla Fighting Championships. He put together two classic performances there, but obviously the accessibility to those fights was much harder for the less hardcore fans. Still, the skills showed up and we should find that hype once again.

 

What makes this a good match-up

Jamall Emmers has an advantage with his long reach here. According to the official numbers, he should enjoy a six inch reach advantage over the Russian. However, he will have to use his footwork and jab to keep that distance with all of the aggression coming his way. With the pace that Valiev keeps, it just doesn’t seem all that likely. In addition, there is a clear wrestling advantage with Valiev, which I think leaves Emmers very few ways to get out of this one on top.

 

Prelim Breakout Star Record: 200-88-1 (2 NC) (8 DNF)

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