The Severe Spotlight: Ikram Aliskerov

Much could be said for the night that Islam Makhachev had, he grabbed the headlines in his second home with his destructive performance over 145lb champion Alex Volkanovski. But nestled into the main card opening pages was a performance that lasted 127 seconds but will write the name of Ikram Aliskerov into the future of the 185lb division as someone who we must take notice of, and likely remember.

A relaxed Aliskerov sludges over to gracefully embrace the hand of Alves, the storied UFC veteran. The teep of Aliskerov the main stabbing lance into the gut of Alves in the first thirty seconds. The pressure footwork of Aliskerov keeps him in the pocket, asking questions of his opponents as to whether they wish to enter the pocket and meet the jab, or whether they want to lead into the dance more cautiously, and be met with the lancing teep.

Three more jabs bring us to the minute point, and whilst in some of the exchanges, Aliskerov has found himself slightly off balance when taking shots from Alves, he is measured and assured in his distance management and has the two primary weapons of teep and jab to keep Alves at bay.

His cadence and rhythm switches often between small, plodding steps to a conventional bounce. This to an opposing fighter is confusing and takes study to make the reads as to which specific elements of the arsenal these footwork patterns pertain too. Are the bouncing attacks going to be originating from dynamic angle changes or spatial changes? Are the slower more methodical steps into range due to Aliskerov waiting to wind up power through his core and unleash power shots? Alves is yet to offer inside this first minute of the fight enough to pull the reactions from Aliskerov.

A defensive jab to an onwards moving Alves prompts a smart footwork reset and the pawing of a left hook right hand out into the general direction of the Brazilian. The intention here is not to land, but to allow Aliskerov to circle back into the centre of the cage and maintain the distance of the cage behind him he is most comfortable with.

Alves recognises the pressure is mounting and he is yet to really be able to gain the respect of Aliskerov inside these opening 90 seconds, so moves through a teep and a jab to attempt to land some meaningful offence of his own. Aliskerov reads the movement and strafes to his right and launches a clean right hand down the pipe to meet Alves.

This is smart as it’s a methodical answer to the questions of Alves, it is always staying one step ahead, without an upping in pace, in facial expression or in cadence of movement. This is unnerving for an opponent, when you up your pace, and your opponent can manoeuvre through your more aggressive offence with the same cadence, you begin to question what its going to take to gain respect in the contest.

Aliskerov backed Alves up with a teep, and pushed into a jab, right hand. Alves caught him slightly off balance with a counter left hand, which forced Aliskerov to dart out of the pocket to reset. Upon that reset, Alves did not keep himself to a safe range and gets dropped by a stiff jab, bouncing back to his feet, he retreats both back toward the cage, but also to the conclusion of the fight.

Aliskerov saunters forward and throws a left high kick that is blocked. Alves now is acutely aware of the potential weapons that could be thrown at him, and Aliskerov sells him a right teep. The right teep had only been thrown twice in the fight previously, but Alves was tuned enough to understand the damage of those teeps and so reacts by bringing his hands down to swipe the shot away. The right teep was never thrown, and instead Aliskerov landed a blistering switch jump knee that sends his eyes rolling back into his head. The Russian swarms with hooks, A right hook catching Alves clean and al eft dropping him to a seated position. The referee gracefully steps between the men and saves Alves from any more damage.

Three fights under the Endeavour banner, and three first round finishes, amassing a total of 6:26 of fight time. An interesting prospect that we must keep a hold of in this 185lb division.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.