Misha Cirkunov

Latvia

Overcomes adversity for first-round sub
Light HeavyweightUFC
September 14, 2019
Cirkunov defeated Jim Crute via submission (Peruvian necktie) at 3:38 of Round 1 at UFC on ESPN+ 16 on Saturday in Vancouver.
ANALYSIS
Cirkunov executed a takedown early in this fight, where it was clear he was the physically stronger combatant due to his ability to control Brute and advance position. Brute was able to escape and eventually reverse position after a series of rapid scrambles that put Cirkunov in a tough spot. He ate a bunch of shots from Brute and the referee asked him to advance, which seemed to wake him up in a way. Cirkunov then initiated a sweep to take back a favorable position, putting his grappling wizardry on display to secure a rare type of submission. It was a back-and-forth affair that ended the unbeaten streak of a highly-regarded prospect, and should get Cirkunov a better opponent in his next fight. The effort also earned Cirkunov a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonues. He called out the No. 7-ranked Corey Anderson in his post-fight interview.
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Will face Jim Crute in September
Light HeavyweightUFC
June 17, 2019
Cirkunov will face Jim Crute in a light heavyweight bout at UFC Vancouver on September 15, Nolan King of MMAJunkie.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Cirkunov will come into the bout a few months off of a quick knockout loss to Johnny Walker. His chin has been his biggest weakness in his career, with his last three losses coming via knockout. His opponent, Jim Crute, is 2-0 in the UFC and just 23 years old. Crute will look to pressure Cirkunov and test his chin, while Cirkunov, who is 9 years older, will look to his edge in experience to his benefit.
Smashed by Johnny Walker at UFC 235
Light HeavyweightUFC
March 2, 2019
Cirkunov lost to Johnny Walker via TKO (strikes) at 0:36 of Round 1 at UFC 235 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
Cirkunov certainly wishes right now that his originally scheduled opponent, Ovince Saint Preux, wasn't forced to withdraw last month due to an undisclosed injury. Instead, he ends up facing a man who could very well be the UFC's next superstar and he barely lasts 30 seconds. While he has had some decent wins with the company, Cirkunov's chin is a major issue. His last three losses have all come via knockout and he has a tendency to struggle when the competition level rises. The 32-year-old makes for decent roster depth in an alarmingly thin division, but that's about it.
Now facing Johnny Walker at UFC 235
Light HeavyweightUFC
February 12, 2019
Cirkunov (14-4-0) is now scheduled to fight Johnny Walker (16-6-0) on March 2 at UFC 235 in Las Vegas after the latter was added to the card in place of the injured Ovince Saint Preux (undisclosed), Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
As far as a late-notice replacement goes, Walker should represent a tough test for Cirkunov, who most recently fought in late October at UFC Moncton and earned a first-round victory over Patrick Cummins via submission. Though he's only fought twice for the promotion to date, Walker has won impressively on both occasions, finishing off Khalil Rountree in less than two minutes in Argentina back in November and then needing only 15 seconds to score a TKO win over Justin Ledet last month at UFC Fortaleza.
In search of new opponent
Light HeavyweightUFC
February 10, 2019
Cirkunov will no longer face Ovince Saint Preux at UFC 235 on March 2, as OSP has withdrawn due to an undisclosed injury, MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Cirkunov is still listed on the UFC 235 card, thought his opponent says "TBD" while the promotion actively looks to find him a replacement. The current list of ranked light heavyweight prospective opponents without a scheduled fight includes: Corey Anderson, Ilir Latifi, Jimi Manuwa and Shogun Rua, in addition to Nikita Krylov, who Cirkunov has already defeated. It seems likely Cirkunov would have to venture outside the 205-pound rankings to remain on the card.
Booked for UFC 235
Light HeavyweightUFC
January 3, 2019
Cirkunov will take on Ovince Saint Preux in a light heavyweight bout at UFC 235 on March 2.
ANALYSIS
Cirkunov is coming off a dominant performance at UFC Fight Night in New Brunswick back in October, as he defeated Patrick Cummins via submission in Round 1 of the bout. It was a much-needed win for Cirkunov after he lost two straight fights, but Saint Preux, even though he has dropped two of his last three fights, will likely be Cirkunov's toughest fight to date.