The MMAWizzard’s Prospect of the Week: German KO Artist Khalid Taha

German MMA has come a long way in recent years, and there are now quite a few prospects ready to burst out of that nation’s regional scene and into big fights worldwide. One of those talented young German fighters is Khalid Taha, who pairs strong athleticism and scrambling instincts with some serious power for a 5’7″ bantamweight. Taha has been destroying the German regionals and at 10-0 he seems poised to take the step to elite-level MMA in the near future, so here’s your chance to get to know Taha before he hits the bigtime courtesy of the @MMAWizzard, Shawn Bitter.

Khalid Taha by the Numbers

5’7″, 135 pounds

Fighting out of Dortmund, Germany

24 years old

Fair FC and Top Ten Champions 135 pound champion

Undefeated at 10-0

6 KOs/TKOs

2 Submissions (1 RNC, 1 tap to strikes)

FIghtmatrix #129 ranked bantamweight

Twitter handle: @KhalidTahaMMA

Khalid Taha’s Career So Far

Pro debut: Muhammed Celebi, 4-5 (K-1 Germany, 4/2013): There’s no video footage available for Khalid’s debut bout but he won by TKO in the 2nd round.

2nd pro fight: John Isac, 3-4 (GMC 4, 7/2013): Taha made his debut in top German promotion GMC in his second pro fight against jiu-jitsu specialist John Isac. Both started out by trading strikes before Isac changed levels and got the takedown. Isac did well to maintain top control, but then he dropped for a heel hook that didn’t work out well. Eventually Isac transitioned to a tight armbar but Taha shook lose and wound up on top. From there Taha showed off some solid ground-and-pound, landing ferocious elbows to the ribs of Isac as he tried to isolate an arm. In the 2nd round Taha came out fast landed a big right hand and Isac went facedown on the mat for the KO win. Strong submission defense from Taha in this one, and he showed the first signs that he’s a fighter who can thrive in a war.

3rd pro fight: Florin Gardan, 13-3 (Rhein NC, 11/2013): Florin Gardan is a pretty solid European opponent, as he’s the two-time defending lightweight champion in top Romanian promotion RXF. Just like in his last fight Taha was taken down twice early but both times he scrambled back to his feet and throughout the first round he mostly defended the takedowns. In the second round Taha maintained distance until he threw a left head kick that landed flush on Florin’s jaw, causing the Romanian to say something to the ref who stepped in for the TKO stoppage with 17 seconds left in round 2.

4th pro fight: Manuel Bilic, 9-4 (Fair FC 1, 2/2014): Croatia’s Bilic is another pretty decent regional opponent who now fights out of Austria. For the first half of the round not much happened besides both men exchanging control of the clinch, but as soon as they separated Taha was throwing wild. Bilic wanted no part of that and shot in for the takedown, but Taha sprawled, got on top and then took the back and threatened the RNC for the rest of the round. In the 2nd round Taha was kept it on the feet, landing very good power strikes moving forward and also counter striking very well. Taha ended up getting the clinch and landed two solid knees that sent Bilic down to the canvas. As Bilic fell, Taha locked up the RNC without even locking in hooks and the Croatian tapped at the 4:24 mark of the second round.

5th pro fight: Ali Selcuk Ayin, 5-12 (GMC 5, 9/2014): Every time the aggressive Ayin would try to rush forward it was Taha throwing a barrage of strikes and landing flush. Ayin tried twice for the takedown but Taha countered both times. After the second takedown try Taha achieved top control, postured up and landed unanswered elbows until Ayin tapped to strikes with just one second left in the first round.

6th pro fight: Oemer Cankardesler, 5-3 (Fair FC 3): Khaild started fast by landing a big right hand and then grabbing the head of Oemer and tossing him to the mat. Taha scrambled to the back and as Oemer got back to his feet Taha was able to suplex him back to the mat. From there Taha went for the RNC, and although he lost position he locked up a triangle that had Oemer in trouble for a while. Once again Taha did a nice job of winding up on top after he bailed on the triangle attempt. At the end of the round, Taha was throwing heavy strikes and when Oemer got a takedown on of his own Taha scramble nicely once more to take top contorl. In the 2nd round, Oemer went hard for the takedown but Taha nicely floated over to the back and tried for a RNC, only to lose position and wind up with his own back taken. Oemer maintained back control for awhile and as Taha was attempting to shake him off his back he transitioned to a tight armbar, but Taha toughed it out and eventually wound up on top. As the fight got back to the feet Oemer tried hard for the takedown but it was Taha who ended up on top, landing heavy ground and pound as the round ended. The third round was more of the same as Taha started off by landing hard leg kicks before he tied up with Oemer and controlled the clinch for a while. Oemer eventually shot for a takedown only to be stuffed by Taha, with Taha showing great grappling instincts and landing on top once more. Late in the third Oemer did get a trip takedown, only for Taha to flip him over and land right in mount. This was an exciting fight and a dominant unanimous decision win for Khalid Taha in his first 15 minute fight.

7th pro fight: Daniel Makin, 1-10 (Fair FC 4, 11/2015) Taha made easy work of this low level German fighter. He started off landing big leg kicks and swinging heavy punches until he closed the distance, got the body lock, and achieved the takedown. On top Taha effortlessly passed to mount and landed huge ground and pound. Makin just turtled up, waiting for the ref to step in, and ref obliged at 2:20 of the first round.

8th pro fight: Nijat Valijez, 0-2 (Top Ten Champions, 3/2016): This was another easy fight for Khalid against the winless Valijez. No video footage but he got the TKO 2:26 into the 1st round to win the vacant Top Ten Champions bantamweight title.

9th pro fight: Michail Chrisopoulus, 3-2 (Fair FC 5, 5/2016): Again no video footage, but he won by TKO in the 1st round against a slightly better caliber of opponent who had gone 3-1 on the German regionals.

10th pro fight: Timo-Juhani Hirvikangas, 10-3 (GMC 9, 11/2016): It can be hard to find video from many German promotions, and there’s no video footage of this one either. Taha won by split decision against Timo, who is the reigning Cage Finland bantamweight champion and who came in on a fight five finishing streak against good fighters in that promotion. This was definitely the biggest win of Khalid’s career, and one that suggests that he could do well against world class fighters.

 

Overall: Khalid Taha has some things to tighten up like his takedown defense, even though his ability to get back up to his feet with pure strength or just scrambling ability is very good it’s better to not be down there in the first place. Sometimes he is a bit too wild on the feet, and if he would tighten up his offense he would land a lot more. He sometimes throws one attack at a time, and with very heavy hands and chopping kicks it would be crazy dangerous if he put all those tools together in combinations. Despite some gaps he is good, he’s got natural power, good kicks, very good scrambling, and at times good wrestling. Taha is a very able counter striker, he throws from all angles and makes it difficult for his opponents to hang out in the pocket, which causes a lot of his opponents to rush into grappling range. I think WSOF or ACB would be a good spot for Taha and I wouldn’t mind seeing Taha in Bellator at all, but UFC competition would probably be too stiff of a test too soon for the 24 year old knockout artist.

 

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