After a week without UFC fights on the docket, MMA fans will be eager for any action they can get, and it starts with LFA.
Your weekend of fights begins on Friday night as the LFA returns for the first of two consecutive weeks with an event, starting with LFA 123 from Hammond, IL, and the Horseshoe Hammond Casino.
Bantamweight Showdown in LFA 123 Co-Main Event This Friday Night
Barring any late postponements between now and Friday night, COVID-19-related or otherwise, the final version of LFA 123 will feature seven fights, co-headlined by a showdown at 135 lbs.
In the LFA 123 co-main event, Askar Askar (12-2 MMA, 3-1 LFA) will square off against 26-fight veteran Ryskullbek Ibraimov (19-6 MMA, LFA debut.) The LFA 123 co-main event on Friday will be an advertised maximum of three rounds at five minutes per round.
LFA 123 Co-Main Event Fighter Comparison
Entering the LFA 123 co-main event on Friday night, both Askar Askar and Ryskullbek Ibraimov stand level at 5-foot-7.
Additionally, Askar Askar owns a 69 1/2-inch reach, with no such information accessible for Ryskullbek Ibraimov heading into the fight.
Askar Askar Looks For More Consistency in LFA 123 Co-Main Event
Heading into the LFA 123 co-main event this Friday night, Askar Askar has posted a 3-2 record in his last five MMA appearances, most recently scoring a split decision victory back in November against Leandro Gomez in LFA 118’s headlining bout.
But a key storyline in the Askar Askar camp in the final days leading up to the card on Friday has to do with his lack of consistency in the cage of late.
Here’s a look at his recent form:
- November 12, 2021: Win (split decision) versus Leandro Gomez
- June 4, 2021: Loss (second-round knockout due to punches) versus Justin Wetzell
- October 2, 2020: Win (unanimous decision) versus Kevin Wirth
- February 7, 2020: Loss (first-round knockout due to a punch) versus Saidyokub Kakhramonov
- October 10, 2019: Win (first-round submission due to a rear-naked choke) versus Alberto Martinez Jr.
Prior to the loss against Kakhramonov in October of 2019, Askar Askar had been on a 10-fight winning streak to begin his professional MMA career, 12 wins if you count his two victories on the amateur circuit before turning pro in November of 2015.
Thus, it goes without saying that consistency in a positive way is going to be the key for him in the LFA 123 co-main event on Friday night if he looks to factor in the LFA Bantamweight Championship picture down the road against Richard Palencia. He faces a tough task in the form of his opponent, Ryskullbek Ibraimov.
Ryskullbek Ibraimov Aims to Return to the Win Column in LFA 123 Co-Main Event on Friday Night
In the other corner, Ryskullbek Ibraimov, who just turned 29 years of age back on Christmas Day, has posted a 4-1 record in his last five MMA fights, most recently seeing an eight-fight winning streak snapped via a third-round submission due to an armbar against Victor Dias in TITAN FC 72’s headlining bout last September.
Unlike his opponent, Askar Askar, Ryskullbek Ibraimov has performed consistently well of late. During his recent eight-fight winning streak, Ibraimov scored seven victories via decision, with the remaining win coming by fourth-round TKO due to a referee’s stoppage.
It’s safe to say that the LFA 123 co-main event is a battle of two fighters at a crossroad: Askar Askar is looking to break the trend of inconsistency, while Ryskullbek Ibraimov wants to bounce back after getting tapped out in his last contest.
Both men look to factor into the LFA Bantamweight Championship picture at a later date, so this co-main event could very well serve as a stepping stone toward a shot at the belt in the future.
Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction
Stylistically, the LFA 123 co-main event on Friday night looks to favor freestyle fighter Askar Askar.
Askar Askar Must Avoid Walking Into an Overhand Punch in LFA 123 Co-Main Event
Askar Askar’s training and gameplan could easily be undone in the LFA 123 co-main event if he walks into a phone booth with Ryskullbek Ibraimov and gets knocked out, as was the case in his Hoosier Fight Club bout against Kakhramonov a few years ago.
As soon as the first round of that fight began, both men turned on the pressure, exchanged punches and taunted each other.
Although Askar scored with an uppercut and attempted to apply pressure on Kakhramonov, he ended up walking right into his opponent’s trap and absorbed a vicious overhand right punch to knock him out cold inside the opening minute.
Even though Kakhramonov scored with some ground and pound shots after downing Askar, the damage was already done and the score had been settled.
The key for Askar Askar going into the LFA 123 co-main event against Ryskullbek Ibraimov is simple: Don’t get into a phone booth with him, otherwise, he might pay dearly in return.
Ryskullbek Ibraimov Can’t Get Taken Down Against Askar Askar
In the other corner, surrendering takedowns could be Ryskullbek Ibraimov’s Achilles’ heel in this fight. It directly caused his last loss.
During the third round of a scheduled five, Victor Dias built on a pair of failed guillotine choke attempts in the previous round by taking Ryskullbek Ibraimov down after scoring with a head kick that stunned him.
From there, he established top position and landed some left-handed elbow shots to try and soften Ibraimov up for a possible submission attempt, chaining submission attempts to keep him guessing, finally locking in a deep armbar submission to force him to tap out and go to sleep.
If Ryskullbek Ibraimov gets taken down in the LFA 123 co-main event, it could be fatal to his hopes for a victory.
As previously stated, the LFA 123 co-main event is a battle where the two fighters are at a crossroads, and when these two men meet on Friday, which man takes the right path on the road to a potential championship?
There’s only one way to find out, so tune in on Friday night.
Prediction: Askar Askar by Unanimous Decision.
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