Abdulmanap was never wrong. Kopylov is a real top, but will he become champion?

Abdulmanap was never wrong. Kopylov is a real top, but will he become champion?

September 17, 2023, 1:30 PM Moscow time Audio version: Your browser does not support the audio element.

Now it is important for Roman not to make a mistake when choosing an opponent.

In 2021, Roman Kopylov’s UFC career was in major doubt. The promotion’s first two fights ended in defeats, but the Russian fighter decided to restart and went to Dagestan, where he ended up in the Universal Fighters gym.

In 2018, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father and trainer, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, answering the question of who he would highlight among the fighters who would perform in Russian promotions, highly appreciated Roman’s potential: “Fight Night, middleweight champion of the league global, Roman Kopylov. You can do anything with this guy. This is one of the most interesting fighters. If he wants to get a good school many years from now, then welcome to us, to Dagestan.”

Since Kopylov changed his training location, the results have increased considerably. In the last four fights, the Russian has four knockouts. Roman destroys his opponents in a variety of ways, but he especially loves body shots. Punahele Soriano and Josh Fremd experienced this firsthand. In the UFC, now only one person has a longer streak of victories by knockout: Sergei Pavlovich with six such fights. After a confident victory over Fremd, it is logical to ask questions: is it time to add Kopylov to the ranking of the best middleweights in the promotion and what are his prospects?

Kopylov confidently dismantled Fremd and knocked him down with a blow to the liver:

A modest and ruthless guy. Kopylov created a new and tough knockout in the UFC

For starters, objectively speaking, not all of Roman’s recent opponents are considered the best fighters. Alessio Di Chirico, Punahele Soriano, Claudio Ribeiro and Josh Fremd are the mediocre players to go through if you have ambitions of reaching the top. Kopylov faced everyone and deserved at least one rating opponent and, at most, to be in the top 15 himself. However, it is important to understand that they will be an opponent of a completely different level and, consequently, they will have to show even more confident performances against them.

Kopylov currently has minor issues with the fact that he allows his opponents quite a bit. Last night Fremd himself landed 38 accentuated blows against the Russian’s 49. Soriano and Di Chirico scored 39 goals of this type each. In these battles, Roman had this indicator of 82 and 59, respectively. And with Ribeiro there was even parity: 32 to 32. That is, the advantage is often not very significant, but, of course, the class of our fighter is reflected and the tonnage of his blows is more impressive. The average statistics also suggest that Kopylov is one of those who gives his opponent work. On average, he lands 4.66 accentuated strikes per fight and misses 4.15. On a higher level, this could become a bigger problem for Roman.

After the fight with Fremd, journalists asked Kopylov if he would like to fight Roman Dolidze, whose opponent fell at UFC 296 in November. The Russian answered affirmatively, but this is something he should not do, he cannot rush. Dolidze can be a great leap to the top, plus he is a good wrestling man and could cause a lot of problems down there. Kopylov showed that in Dagestan they helped improve his takedown defense, and that’s great. However, in recent fights, he hasn’t had opponents who are really strong on the ground. Roman should continue to work calmly, even on his standing and ground defense, because without this there will be no chance of entering the top 5. The Russian is unlikely to be played strictly by average forwards and given an easy path to the title.

Another issue is cardio. We haven’t really seen Roman in prolonged fights yet. In the fight with Albert Duraev, due to the large number of fights, he had a very difficult time in this regard, and he remains to see how he will show himself in a five-round meeting. You definitely can’t rely on early round knockouts all the time.

Great interview with Roman: about bonuses, training in Dagestan and goals in UFC:


How was the UFC bonus “stolen” and why is it great in Dagestan? Interview with Roman Kopylov

Of course, all of the above does not put an end to Kopylov’s prospects. These are just aspects that need to be reinforced before taking a backseat. Roman is looking brilliant and will hopefully continue to progress from fight to fight. Still, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov generally did not make mistakes, and with the right work from Roman on himself, we can see another Russian UFC champion.

In any case, the Russian fighter is taking steps in that direction. His manager Alexander Skaredin has already announced that Kopylov is ready to perform again before the end of the year and expects him in the ranking of the best middleweights in the organization: “So far, of course, there are no details, but Roma has no There are injuries and he is ready to perform before the end of the year. That is, from the tournament on December 16 onwards. That is, there is the possibility of entering the pay-per-view card. And this is already very serious. And I think Kopylov deserves it. Plus, Dana White was now analyzing the Rome fight. Overall, Roman is likely to have his fourth fight in 2023, which is an excellent indicator. And I am sure that after defeating Fremd, Kopylov will be in the top 15 of the middleweight rankings. We are just waiting for the ratings to be updated. Rome is simply a beast. “He became himself and it’s wonderful.”

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