Four reasons to watch UFC Fight Night: Tsarukyan vs Gamrot on BT Sport

A handful of potential stars in the making will be in action at the UFC APEX on Saturday night for UFC Fight Night: Tsarukyan vs Gamrot. Here are four reasons you don’t want to miss out.

By George Mills Published: 24 June 2022 - 10.44am

Those in the know have had this fight card circled in their calendars for a good few weeks now with a cracking UFC main event in store from Las Vegas on Saturday night.

European lightweight rivals Arman Tsarukyan and Mateusz Gamrot share top billing in a fascinating main event with a place in the 155lb top 10 at stake for the victor.

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Plus highly-rated welterweight prospect Shavkat Rakhmonov faces the toughest test of his UFC career to date when he takes on veteran gatekeeper Neil Magny in the co-main event.

With a handful of other intriguing match-ups also coming your way across the card, here are four reasons you can’t miss UFC Fight Night: Tsarukyan vs Gamrot on BT Sport.

Arman on a mission

Arman Tsarukyan has been on a hell of a run since making his UFC debut against Islam Makhachev back in 2019.

The Armenian-Russian fighter stepped up for his maiden appearance inside the Octagon against the man who looks set to challenge for the 155lb title later this year, giving Makhachev more issues than any of the five men to face him since.

That performance granted Tsarukyan, 18-2, another opportunity on the big stage which he grabbed with both hands, launching a five-fight win streak of his own heading into Saturday night’s main event debut.

Still only 25, Tsarukyan looks like one of the best prospects in the UFC at large, never mind the lightweight division, and is improving with every fight.

His previous two trips to the Octagon have been rewarded with bonuses too after TKO wins against Christos Giagos and, most recently, a gory TKO of Joel Alvarez in February.

“He's a good fighter - but he's not on my level”
- Arman Tsarukyan

The 18-2 star has proven himself a handful on the mat with relentless cardio and grappling but now beginning to develop more methods to end the fight, it seems inevitable that Tsarukyan is heading for big things in the near future.

Speaking to reporters at the UFC’s media day this week, Tsarukyan was in a confident mood, promising to expose the gulf in class between him and Polish foe Mateusz Gamrot on Saturday night.

“He is a good fighter, a tough fighter. But he’s not on my level. I’m a different level and I’m going to show that this weekend,” he said.

Tsarukyan currently sits one spot ahead of his rival on the lightweight ladder, ranked 11 to Gamrot’s 12 – but a victory for the surging prospect would more than likely see him crack the top 10 before the month is out.

Can he continue his dazzling form in the Octagon?

Don’t play with the Gamer

Mateusz Gamrot’s journey in the UFC mirrors his opponent’s in many ways having dropped to defeat on his promotional debut back in 2020.

But since that split decision loss against Guram Kutateladze, “Gamer” has been flawless, winning three from three with a trio of impressive finishes – and two performance bonuses to boot.

A crippling knee to the midsection of Diego Carlos Ferreira provided Gamrot, 20-1-1, with his most recent TKO victory as the Pole moved up to 12th in the lightweight rankings with that win at the UFC APEX in December.

And now the former two weight KSW champion has the top 10 in his sights as he takes on another impressive young contender in the form of Arman Tsarukyan.

“We are the new generation of MMA”
- Mateusz Gamrot

“I’m so happy [to fight him]. Nobody wanted to fight Arman, a lot of people are scared of him,” Gamrot said this week.

“Nobody will fight me either. We meet in the Octagon.

“He’s a great fighter, good striking, good wrestling but his weakness is jiu-jitsu. I’ve seen a lot of holes in his game.

“I’m a more experienced guy over five rounds. I’m used to pressure, I’m used to being a champion. I think it’s going to be a great show on Saturday night.”

With so many parallels between the two men, did Gamrot believe their paths were always destined to cross?

“We are the new generation of MMA,” he continued.

“We’re very close to the top 10 and I knew now or in the future we would meet, for sure.”

It’s going to be a treat this Saturday night as two in-form, talented rivals share the limelight.

Make sure you don’t miss a moment of it on BT Sport!

All aboard the Shavkat express!

Shavkat Rakhmonov, 15-0, is a man who should be familiar to fans of BT Sport’s Fight Week show having been tipped as one to watch by our very own Nick Peet before even making his UFC debut!

The UFC’s first ever Kazakh fighter has since gone on to prove Peet’s eye for talent in some style, cruising to three straight wins against a talented bunch of veterans including Alex Oliveira and Michel Prazares.

His trio of UFC victories inside the distance ensured Rakhmonov is still yet to hear the final bell in his undefeated career, winning eight by knockout and seven by submission to demonstrate the range of his fight-ending capabilities.

Just 27 years old, Rakhmonov has barely needed to break a sweat to earn his place at 15 in the welterweight rankings – but if there is one man guaranteed to take the Uzbeki-born star out of his comfort zone, it’s Neil Magny.

“I don’t fear getting labelled the ‘gatekeeper’ ”
- Neil Magny

Magny, 26-8, has forged a reputation as one of the most accomplished contenders anywhere in the promotion and has been a fixture of the 170lb landscape for almost a decade.

And the 34-year-old, who trains with Team Elevation in Denver, Colorado, is unphased by his reputation as a “gatekeeper” to the welterweight elite.

“I’ve been put in this spot time and time again,” he explained.

“I’m not that guy. If you think I’m the guy to make a name off of or leapfrog off then that is absolutely not me. But if you’re looking for a guy to go out there and give you a tough fight, give you a run for your money and bring out the best in you, that is absolutely me.

“I don’t fear getting labelled the ‘gatekeeper’ or the guy that is a stepping stone for up-and-coming guys. I know the kind of athlete I am. I know the kind of danger I pose to my opponents so it doesn’t worry me at all.”

Will Magny put the brakes on one of the UFC’s most talented hype trains – or can the young gun pick up a statement victory to continue his electrifying form?

Umar out to make his mark

Umar Nurmagomedov arrived in the UFC to much fanfare last year – although that much was inevitable as the cousin of former undisputed lightweight legend Khabib.

But the 26-year-old has not wilted under the pressure of following Khabib’s footsteps, despite the extra eyeballs on his career as a consequence of the Nurmagomedov name.

Perfect in two fights inside the Octagon – including an impressive submission win over tough veteran Brian Kelleher at UFC 272 last time out – the Russian has done everything asked of him so far and believes it is only a matter of time before he begins making noise at the summit of the 135lb division.

“I think I’m ready for these guys [in the top 10] and I want to push,” Nurmagomedov said this week.

“If they give me top 15, I’m ready. I know this. I can compete with these guys. But I don’t know where they’ll put me after this fight.”

Nurmagomedov is certainly in good hands training out of the legendary AKA gym with Khabib a fixture in his corner on fight night.

All eyes will be on the young apprentice as he continues his journey hoping to emulate his tutor’s indomitable march to UFC glory.

Can he go one better than Khabib and make it three finishes from his first three UFC bouts?