Azat Maksum vs Charles Johnson prediction | UFC Fight Night 235 1

Azat Maksum returns to the Octagon after a successful debut over Tyson Nam last July. The 28-year-old earned his MMA stripes in the promotions OCTAGON and BRAVE CF. Overall, he has amassed a perfect pro record of 17-0.

His next opponent, Charles Johnson was brought into the UFC in 2022, testing another young prospect in Muhammad Mokaev. Although unsuccessful, Johnson proved himself to be a difficult task for anyone with his world-class background as an endurance athlete and professional boxer. Johnson has picked up wins over Zhalgas Zhumagulov and Jimmy Flick but dropped his last three to Ode Osbourne, Cody Durden and Rafael Estevam. He will look to get back on track this Saturday.

Betting Odds

Azat Maksum will enter his second UFC fight as a heavy favorite over the American.

Fight Breakdown

Azat Maksum is yet another major prospect coming from Kazakhstan. Pre-UFC, he was a good striker but only entertained the exchanges for the purpose of getting to the takedown at some point. Maksum utilizes pendulum boxing footwork, bouncing forwards and back, popping his sharp jab out and sliding away from counters. Traditionally he will use this to then follow up in a flurry to raise the guard of his opponents and expose their hips for his level change.

Maksum has had only one UFC fight so far, but in it we got to see him prove his striking much more than he had before. While his jab and pendulum style was as effective as ever, he did struggle with the low kicks of his opponent while he tried to enter in combination. Maksum must be disciplined with his feints to make it as difficult as possible for Johnson to time counter low kicks.

Johnson does, in fact, attack the legs well; his kicking game is primarily focused on the body and legs, and he lets his boxing do most of the work upstairs. Johnson utilizes a stabbing front kick as well, but his bread and butter is his boxing. Johnson keeps a low guard blocking the body and depends heavily on awkward and rhythmic he’s movement, giving shades of the style Bobby Green has made popular. 

However, the biggest weakness in Johnson’s game has been his grappling. He has a very wide base and explosive sprawls, making it extremely difficult for Maksum to secure takedowns in the open. Maksum has to get a hold of Johnson and drive him to the cage or shoot on the fence and raise into a clinch situation. From here, he has a much better chance of securing bodylock throws or trips, or even better getting to Johnson’s back, where Maksum is especially good at riding position.

The greatest asset to Johnson’s style is his cardio and endurance. Even in his last loss, he was able to come on strong in the final round looking just as fresh as the first. For Maksum this fight will be about looking to bank the first two rounds at least as efficiently as possible so as not to fade to Johnson’s pressure late, which is the biggest threat in any Charles Johnson fight.


Ultimately, Maksum is coming into the bout with both the momentum and the style that has already been proven effective opposite Johnson. Maksum’s fight IQ and discipline will be tested, as will his cardio. He needs to go back to his roots as a grappler, and he needs to make sure not to get drawn into a striking match if his early takedowns do fail, he has to adjust and get to clinch if the level changes aren’t effective from the outside.

However, on a technical level, he should be able to do this and, at the least, win out the majority of the fight. Charles Johnson maintains his pace easily over the distance so at any point if Maksum becomes complacent got tired there is always a threat there, however Maksum should win.

Pick: Azat Maksum to win (-220 at MyBookie)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *