In a recent interview with theScoreMMA, Alijamain Sterling said that he was KO’ed by Zabit in training back in 2017, with a “360 round kick”. Given this, and Zabit’s many spectacular performances inside the octagon, we thought it would be right to look at his career thus far.
Born in Khasavyurt, at the age of 12, Zabit joined a boarding school hidden in the mountains of Dagestan called “Pyat Storon Sveta”, (translation, five directions of the world). Which alongside being one of the nations best academic institutes, it also specialises in eastern fighting styles and techniques. the students there live, study and train 3 times a day. Pretty intense for young teenagers, but this explains his remarkable skill set.
Before the UFC
Zabit made the swap from Wushu-Sanda to MMA in 2012. Making his debut that same year, winning with a TKO (punches) of his opponent. Zabit then trail blazed his way through opponent after opponent. Accumulating a 12-1 record, and winning a featherweight strap in the Russian promotion, ACB. Before being picked up by the UFC in 2017.
UFC debut and subsequent bouts
Zabit introduced himself to the UFC with a bang, In his matchup against, Mike Santiago. At times his performance was Anthony Pettis-Esque, jumping off the cage throwing kicks. He showed slick transitions to get the submission victory in the second round. Zabit has been equally as impressive in the rest of his appearances. What he sometimes lacks in knockout power, he makes up for in sheer variety and accuracy of strikes. However, it does not end there, he also has exceptional grappling, which was on show in his submission victory against, Brandon Davis at UFC 228, pulling off a Suloev stretch. For which, Ariel Helwani awarded him submission of the year.
The 29-year-old is currently ranked #3 in the UFC’s featherweight division. Currently on a 6 fight win streak within the UFC, with several fight and performance of the night awards. With the UFC now well underway during this pandemic, there are many very exciting matchups for Zabit. It seems as though Brian Ortega maybe his next bout as Dana has made it clear that that’s the fight to make. Although this is a fight that would undoubtedly be entertaining, I would prefer to see him against Max Holloway. Brian Ortega has been away from the sport for some time since his brutal defeat at the hands of, Holloway, and, Zabit, I believe, would not be a good matchup for him after such a long lay off. However, a possible chink in Zabit’s armour has been his apparent deterioration in the later rounds. Which was evident in his victory over Jeremy Stevens. This is something that, Holloway would be all to able to expose, especially over 5 rounds. Holloway would, without doubt, Zabit’s toughest test yet. One that I believe will make for one of the most exciting featherweight bouts of all time.