On the way to returning to its status as one of the hottest weight classes in the sport, the light heavyweight division has been getting a steady influx of talent as of late, and Gamzatov looks to join the collection of new names to track in the 205-pound ranks as he makes his first foray into the Octagon in a showdown with Klidson Abreu.
A National Master of Sport in Sambo, Gamzatov started his career with nine consecutive victories fighting in Russia and Ukraine before making the shift to North America four fights back. The 29-year-old added four more victories during that span, submitting former World Series of Fighting title challenger Teddy Holder, UFC vets Rodney Wallace and Eddie Gordon, and regional truth machine Rex Harris to push his record to 13-0.
Like many of his countrymen from Dagestan, Gamzatov has made a nomadic journey through some of the biggest gyms in the United States along the way to finally making the walk to the Octagon for the first time, including spending a bunch of time at American Top Team. He’s been out of action since last August, but there are more and more athletes every month giving credence to Dominick Cruz’s theory about “ring rust” not being a real thing, so it will be interesting to see if the lengthy layoff has any impact on his performance.
Abreu is a solid initial test for the newcomer — he’s coming off a decision win over Sam Alvey and has won seven of his last eight. If Gamzatov can make it through his Moscow debut with his perfect record intact, he’ll establish himself as someone to keep an eye on in 2020.