3. Magomed Ankalaev
Magomed Ankalaev comes from the mountainous Russian fighting hotbed of Dagestan. After a sucessful combat sambo run, achieving the rank Master of Sport, Ankalaev turned his attention toward MMA.
Dominating the Russian regional scene led to Magomed. accumulating a 9-0 record and gaining the UFC's attention. Since signing, he's won 9 of his first 11 fights. His most recent battle ended in a controversial draw against Jan Blachowicz for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title. Fans, pundits, and infamously, Joe Rogan in the post fight interview all thought Ankalaev did enough to win.
Ankalaev utilizes takedowns along with heavy ground and pound. He's been known to also have a surprising striking game, knocking Dalcha Lungiambula out via vicious front kick.
Russia may soon have a light heavyweight champion in the 31-year-old Ankalaev as he has the track record to back up a claim toward the once again recently vacated title.