Sherdog Prospect Watch: Viacheslav Borshchev

Viacheslav Borshchev belongs to a long list of talented mixed martial artists from the Russian Federation, and the soon-to-be 30-year-old lightweight will make his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut against Dakota Bush as part of the UFC on ESPN 32 undercard on Jan. 15 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.

Borshchev has compiled a 5-1 record against opponents who sport a .634 winning percentage (26-15). While the Dana White’s Contender Series graduate’s two-year journey may not say much about him, he boasts plenty of combat sports experience. Borshchev took his first steps in kickboxing. After an impressive amateur career that saw him capture a number of national and international championships under the tutelage of Volgograd-based coach Dmitry Solomin, Borshchev made the decision to turn pro. He closed out his kickboxing career with an 18-2 record and four knockouts, and in 2017, he moved to the United States to train under former World Extreme Cagefighting champion Urijah Faber at Team Alpha Male. Before he transitioned to mixed martial arts, the Russian fighter picked up a couple of victories in boxing, one of them by knockout.

“Slava” made his first MMA appearance at the expense of David Marquez, stopping him with punches just 55 seconds into their clash under the Gladiator Challenge banner on June 1, 2019. The sub-minute victory caught the attention of the Legacy Fighting Alliance, which matched Borshchev with Ali Zebian some 16 months later at LFA 92. The Russian showed off a polished striking game but struggled with Zebian’s takedowns. In response, Borshchev looked comfortable on his back and returned to his feet several times after being taken down. Once upright, he scored with front kicks, calf kicks and some nasty punching combinations. Zebian turned to his wrestling advantage throughout the fight but did not inflict nearly as much damage as his Russian counterpart. Ultimately, the cageside judges rewarded Borshchev with 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 scores, allowing him to leave with another victory and celebrate with the Barynya, a traditional Russian dance.

Borshchev’s suspect takedown defense caught up to him at LFA 96, where he faced Will Starks in December 2020. The two men put together some back-and-forth action, as Borshchev scored freely in the first round before Starks took him to the mat in the second, piling up points with ground-and-pound and racking up control time. The match felt relatively even entering Round 3, but Starks executed an inside trip that allowed him to close the fight in top position. Two of the three judges sided with Starks, awarding him a split decision.

The resilient Borshchev bounced back from his first defeat and kicked off his 2021 campaign with back-to-back finishes of Corey Dulaney and Kendly St. Louis inside the Titan Fighting Championship organization. His effort against St. Louis on July 2 was particularly callous, as the Russian survived being knocked down and nearly submitted in the first round. Borshchev maintained his composure and withstood his opponent’s attacks into Round 2, where he started to pick apart St. Louis with vicious punches to the liver. His strategy paid dividends and ultimately forced the referee to save St. Louis from further damage 4:41 into the second round.

In his most recent appearance, Borshchev separated Bellator MMA veteran Chris Duncan from his senses with a left hook during Week 7 of Dana White’s Contender Series. He took the Oct. 12 fight on short notice and proved right out of the gate that he was ready for the step up in competition. Borshchev’s heavy punches left their mark on Duncan’s face in the first round before the undefeated Scotsman attempted to move the action to the mat. While “Slava” conceded a couple of takedowns, he had no difficulty getting back to his feet and retaliating with more punches. The final blow landed 28 seconds into Round 2, the finish earning Borshchev a contract with the UFC.



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