Brian Kelleher vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov: UFC fight breakdown, prediction, betting odds 1

Crafty veteran, Brian Kelleher, holding a professional record of 23-12, will look to secure a victory over the 9-2 talented prospect, Saidyokub Kakhramonov at UFC Fight Night 200. Each fighter maintains an affinity for violence on the feet while having a sneaky and effective submission attack, making for an electrifying matchup that has the potential to secure the first fight of the night for the 2022 season.

Kelleher vs. Kakhramonov betting odds

The implied win probability of 60% for the -150 on Kakhramonov over Kelleher is inherently indicative of this matchup being quite close.

Kelleher vs. Kakhramonov breakdown

Kakhramonov is young, talented, and a widely entertaining fighter when his opponent is willing to go toe-to-toe against him on the feet. In his most recent bout which was his first fight in the UFC, Kakhramonov fought well against Trevin Jones, particularly under the conditions of taking the fight on short notice. Within this bout, Kakhramonov routinely showcased his fast and powerful hands when the fight was standing. Moreover, he displayed mean aggression with a propensity to land damaging blows, both with his hands and kicks. The problem for Kakhramonov in his this fight was his willingness to remain in the clinch from a defensive perspective, having fought much of every round with his back against the cage. Although he did show well in this position, Jones eventually landed a takedown, and once there, Kakhramonov wore heavy ground and pound. Although there is a clear need for improvement with regard to his willingness to remain in the position most favorable to his opponent and/or an ability to get off the cage, the other areas of fighting for Kakhramonov looked to be quite skillful and threatening. Notably, his aggressive striking parlayed with an ability to finish the fight via submission – 4 of his 9 wins have come by submission – results in being an underrated prospect with potential top 20 skills as he begins his climb within the tough bantamweight division.

Kelleher is perhaps the poster child of what makes a “solid UFC pro”, whereby he possesses finishing ability wherever the fight takes place accompanied by having intangibles befitting that of someone who has fought 35 times as a professional – good fight IQ, tough, and shows a lot of heart. Although these attributes are all extreme positives, the issue for Kelleher stems from having a notable ceiling as a fighter, as he has a track record of losing to top 20 caliber fighters while beating his lesser opponents. The explanatory analysis is far easier for the latter compared to the former, as Kelleher has routinely shown the ability to bait lesser fighters into positions that are simultaneously most beneficial for him while being the most compromising for them, hence having finished 5 of his 7 UFC wins. Of these 5 finishes, 2 have come via his powerful striking and 2 coming from his extremely dangerous guillotine choke. The way in which he fights is extremely similar to that of Kakhramonov, whereby he has an aggressive mindset on the feet knowing the submission game will always be present if he needs it to be. The separating factor for Kelleher is his experience, as he has shown the willingness and ability to fight in the position that is most advantageous to secure the victory. The deciding factor for this bout is if Kelleher’s savviness can negate the potential high-ceiling of his opponent.

Kelleher vs. Kakhramonov prediction

Both Kakhramonov and Kelleher can win this fight via KO, submission, or decision. The factor that sways the needle for picking the winner stems from a simple question: does Kakhramonov have an arsenal of skills befitting that of a legitimate prospect and/or has top 20 potential in the relatively near future? Although cognitively simple, the difficulty in answering the question lies in the small sample size of Kakhramonov as a UFC fighter, having only fought once on short notice. This difficulty warrants caution, however, Kakhramonov was able to showcase a plethora of skills in his sole bout accompanied by clear natural talent, and this talent creates the belief that he has the necessary edge to secure a victory over the ever-difficult veteran in Kelleher.

Pick: Kakhramonov

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