Umar Nurmagomedov’s coach: Bekzat Almakhan ‘more dangerous than the vast majority of the UFC fighters’

Javier Mendez is not taking Bekzat Almakhan lightly ahead of UFC Fight Night 238.

After struggling to net an opponent, Umar Nurmagomedov (16-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) drew newcomer Almakhan (17-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in Saturday’s main card (ESPN+) at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

For Nurmagomedov’s head coach Mendez, Almakhan presents more problems than most bantamweights on the roster do.

“He’s a dangerous guy. He is more dangerous than the vast majority of the UFC fighters,” Mendez said on his YouTube channel. “I’m telling you – this guy’s no joke. He’s one of those phenom-type guys that’s coming into the game, and you’re going, ‘Oh, he’s never been in the UFC.’

“Yeah, OK – keep thinking that way. You better look at him like a serious, serious opponent, and I don’t care about the rankings. I care about 17-1 and 85 percent knockout ratio. That’s something to be concerned about. If you’re not concerned about that, you’re an idiot.”

Kazakhstan’s Almakhan is on a nine-fight winning streak, seven by way of finish. Mendez sees him as a complete fighter.

“He comes in, good body clinch, control, takedowns, he’s got good ground game,” Mendez said of Almakhan. “He’s a well-rounded fighter – good boxing, good everything. He’s good everywhere. For me, it’s unfortunate for him that he’s fighting, to me, the future champion.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC Fight Night 238.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie