Shavkat Rakhmonov has fought — and won — 14 times as a pro. He has not gone the distance in his eight-year MMA career. He’s been to the second round five times. Only once has he fought into the third round. On Saturday, Rakhmonov faces Carlston Harris in a welterweight contest on the main card of UFC Vegas 47. With the strength of this card wanting, the event could serve as a breakthrough moment for the rising welterweight.
Rakhmonov was the M-1 Global welterweight champion — with one title defense to his name — when he joined the UFC in 2020. His signing to the UFC gave him the distinction of being the first fighter from Kazakhstan to sign with the promotion.
The now 27-year-old defeated Alex Oliveira in his UFC debut via a first-round guillotine choke submission.
Rakhmonov, who celebrated his 26th birthday the day before he made his UFC debut at UFC 254, hurt Oliveira at distance with his striking. From there, the UFC veteran decided it would be wiser for him to work in close against his debuting opponent. It wasn’t.
Eight months after his UFC debut, Rakhmonov faced another UFC veteran from Brazil when he met Michel Prazeres at UFC Vegas 30.
Before the fight, UFC commentator Paul Felder sang the praises of the up-and-coming fighter.
“This man can fight you anywhere you want it to be,” said Felder. “You want to wrestle with him? You want to stand up? You want to get choked out with guillotines? It doesn’t matter. This guy is a true martial artist.”
Felder’s partner that night, former two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier, said Rakhmonov, “Has the potential to be something very special in the welterweight division.”
Rakhmonov demonstrated good awareness of time and space in his fight with Prazeres. He also showcased a delightful mix of striking techniques and targets and the ability to transition to ground strikes and submissions when the fight hit the mat.
The Rakhmonov vs. Prazeres bout ended via a rear-naked choke submission in the second stanza.
On Saturday, Rakhmonov faces Carlston Harris. Like Rakhmonov, Harris is 2-0 in the UFC with both his wins coming via submission. A former Brave CF champion, the 34-year-old Harris sports a 17-4 career record.
Rakhmonov has potential to climb the welterweight rankings. Right now he seems content to take a slow and steady approach to moving up the division. An impressive win on a card like UFC Vegas 47 could help to put him in the spotlight and speed up his rise at 170 pounds.
UFC Vegas 47 takes place on Saturday, February 5 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. A middleweight bout between Sean Strickland and Jack Hermansson headlines the card. The event streams on ESPN+.
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