First of all, it should be noted that some of sportsmen began to prepare immediately when they learned that they were in the Top-8, and some, for example, Ongarbayev, began to prepare a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, everyone was ready for their performance.
Let's discuss the fight of Evgeny Prudnik and Rustam Babayev.
After we started making films about them, I began to doubt that Rustam could do something with Evgeny. Due to his parameters, Rustam cannot gain much weight. Now, in fact, the weight does not play any role. But Prudnik surpassed himself. A few months ago, he fought in the category of 95 kg, and now he weighs 108 kg, and judging by his progress, I do not think he will stop at this. For Babayev, 95 kg is all-normal. It is also worth noting that Rustam lost about 5 kg during the flight and adaptation, which affected the result. But Prudnik also flew.
What we saw during the struggle is Evgeny’s pure advantage over Rustam.
If Prudnik stops Babayev, he wins. It was always like that in the tournament grid, in one fight: if Prudnik stops Babayev, victory is his. If Rustam blows Evgeny from the start, then Evgeny has no chance. After filming with Evgeny, I realized that he had made such a breakthrough that I think that Rustam was not able to hold him.
There was only one question: could Rustam nail Evgeny's hand to the pillow from the start?
Evgeny did not let Rustam start first, but even let him go deep, giving Rustam the opportunity to fight, and pulled him even from there. Prudnik made his best form, like Rustam. But one of them has the potential already at the limit, and the other has much to develop.
With such an advantage as Prudnik’s, no Rustam strategy would have worked. I thought about it before and only convinced myself of my thoughts.
At the first stage of Top-8 Rustam wore a red T-shirt of champions, and Evgeny wore a yellow one for contenders. After the victory over Babayev, Prudnik will receive a red one, while Rustam will now have a yellow one.