Movsar Evloev is now likely to move into the UFC’s top ten at featherweight. With plenty of potential options, who should the Russian prospect face next?
Given his unbeaten record inside the octagon and soaring reputation, it seems likely that he’ll have a number of potential suitors for his next fight. This is particularly the case as he hasn’t faced the majority of the UFC’s ranked featherweights yet.
With that in mind, here are five potential opponents for Evloev following his latest win.
#5. Movsar Evloev vs. Bryce Mitchell
The one knock on Movsar Evloev thus far in his UFC career is that, at times, his fights aren’t all that exciting. Indeed, Evloev has not actually finished an opponent in the octagon yet despite winning six bouts in a row there.
With that considered, one way of coaxing a crazy fight out of the Russian could be to match him with one of the most dangerous grapplers in the division – fellow unbeaten prospect Bryce Mitchell.
‘Thug Nasty’ broke into the featherweight top ten in his own right this past March by outpointing Edson Barboza. While his finishing rate isn’t all that great, he is clearly a very dangerous grappler, as he showed when he pulled off a rare twister to submit Matt Sayles in 2019.
Thus far, nobody has really been able to test Evloev on the ground, nor have they really been able to stop his takedown or put him into a bad spot. However, that could change in this prospective fight.
The promotion’s matchmakers may well want to avoid making this bout purely to make sure that two unbeaten prospects stay apart for the time being. However, it might also make sense to pit them against one another to see who can move up the ladder first.
Overall, this would likely prove to be an exciting fight. It could well prove to be a major test of Evloev’s ground skills, particularly as Mitchell would theoretically be capable of both taking him down and submitting him.
#4. Movsar Evloev vs. Calvin Kattar or Josh Emmett
June 18th’s UFC Fight Night show is set to be headlined by an exciting-sounding featherweight bout between strikers Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett. With both men entrenched in the top ten, the winner is likely to find themselves in title contention.
Regardless of the winner, this would be an interesting fight for the Russian, as either Emmett or Kattar would definitely represent his toughest test to date. Both men have more octagon experience, have fought tougher foes, and carry brutal knockout power.
More to the point, both Kattar and Emmett have shown solid takedown defense in the past. This means that there’d be a chance that a fight with Evloev could take place on the feet – giving the Russian a very tricky test of his striking skills.
Overall, this would be the perfect step up that Evloev is looking for right now. Given that Emmett and Kattar meet in a couple of weeks, the timing could well be correct to match them too.
#3. Movsar Evloev vs. Giga Chikadze
Prior to his loss to Calvin Kattar in January, it’s probably arguable that Giga Chikadze was the UFC featherweight division’s hottest prospect. ‘Gladiator’ was on a run of nine straight wins and had stopped Edson Barboza and Cub Swanson with brutal strikes in the octagon.
Sure, his loss to Kattar was enough to take some of the shine off him, but he’s still 14-3 overall and remains ranked as part of the 145lbs division’s top ten right now.
So could the Georgian be a good match for the surging Movsar Evloev? Despite the promotion tending to avoid fights pitting a winner of their last bout against a loser of theirs, this one might sense.
It’d offer Chikadze a chance to bounce back and reaffirm himself as the top prospect in the division. It would also offer Evloev a chance to steal that spot and climb into title contention in his own right.
Add in the fact that it could prove to be a very exciting fight thanks to the hyperactive styles of both men, and this one could prove to be a great addition to a pay-per-view or Fight Night card in late 2022.
#2. Movsar Evloev vs. Chan Sung Jung
If Movsar Evloev is looking for a huge step up in competition, then he could do much worse than to call out former UFC featherweight title challenger Chan Sung Jung. ‘The Korean Zombie’ was last seen in a losing effort to current champ Alexander Volkanovski, but he’s still ranked at No.5 in the division.
Sure, there have been a number of rumors that ‘The Korean Zombie’ could be considering hanging his gloves up following his loss to Volkanovski. For now, nothing has been confirmed – suggesting that he’s sticking around.
Therefore, if Evloev were to secure a bout with him and find a way to beat him, it’d elevate him directly into title contention, essentially allowing him to skip the queue for the most part.
Of course, this would be a hugely tricky bout for the Russian. Not only does Jung possess brutal knockout power and excellent technical striking, he’s also one of the more underrated grapplers in the division. He’d be more than capable of catching Evloev in a submission.
Despite this risk, though, the reward for beating ‘The Korean Zombie’ would be massive for a prospect like Evloev. If the UFC wants to give the Russian a step up, they ought to consider this fight for late 2022.
#1. Movsar Evloev vs. Arnold Allen
If the UFC is willing to sacrifice one of their hottest featherweight prospects in the name of producing an excellent fight, they could match Movsar Evloev with surging British contender Arnold Allen in the near future.
Like Evloev, Allen is unbeaten in the octagon. His most recent win came in impressive fashion over Dan Hooker in March. Prior to that, ‘Almighty’ had defeated opponents such as Gilbert Melendez, Sodiq Yusuff and Nik Lentz.
What would make this such a fascinating bout is the style clash between the two men. Evloev is an all-action type, particularly on the feet, focusing largely on volume strikes in order to set up his takedowns and ground control.
Allen, on the other hand, is much more of a technician. He fights behind his jab and looks to use that to set up his bigger combinations, such as the one he used to put Hooker away in their clash in London.
Right now, Allen is the higher ranked of the two, sitting at No.6 in the featherweight division. This means he might be more focused on an opponent ranked above him for his next bout. However, if the UFC could persuade him to take this bout with Evloev, perhaps in a Fight Night headliner, the fans could be treated to something special.