10 Best MMA Featherweight Prospects of 2014
#6: Rasul Mirzaev
Rasul Mirzaev is a fighter that I thought I would never see inside the cage again. Mirzaev landed himself in jail after being convicted of negligent manslaughter in his native Russia. He has now served his time and has already fought twice since being released, winning back-to-back decisions. Mirzaev trains out of the highly-respected Fight Nights Team, which is also home to big show veterans Vitaly Minakov, Ali Bagautinov, and Gasan Umalatov. Mirzaev has excellent striking with big KO power. He moves like a seasoned pro, has a great chin, and is tough as nails. His wrestling and submissions are above average as well. Mirzaev was once signed to Bellator before the incident took place. There is no question that Mirzaev has the skills to compete in the UFC or Bellator, but the likelihood is that neither promotion will give him that opportunity, and my guess is he would have a difficult time being granted a visa should that slim opportunity ever come to fruition. Yet, this could all change now that RFA has signed Mirzaev to an 8-fight contract. I was surprised as any to read that news, but if it ends up being true, RFA is known to have an excellent working relationship with the UFC. Should Mirzaev find success in RFA, and eventually lessen the magnitude of his past incident with the MMA media, a mid-tier promotion may end up giving him a shot. I just don’t see that being the UFC due to their penchant from distancing themselves from potential negative media.