New Challenges Await for Omari Akhmedov

"The welterweight division is full of great, dangerous fighters. I’m working really hard to became one of them and get to the top." - Omari Akhmedov
UFC welterweight Omari AkhmedovAfter walking away from his UFC debut against Thiago Perpetuo not just with a win in his opponent’s backyard of Brazil, but a knockout and a Fight of the Night bonus as well, you could excuse Omari Akhmedov for being a little cocky, proclaiming that everything went precisely according to plan. But the Dagestan native is as honest as he was impressive in his first Octagon bout.

“I was nervous,” he said through manager / translator Rizvan Magomedov. “That was my debut in the UFC, and my first time in such a high-level promotion. Fighting in front of thousands of people and the cameras scared me a little, but I went through it. I'm happy it ended up this way; I got a knockout victory and extra money in my pocket.”

He also made the type of impression that was impossible to ignore. The latest in the run of Russian fighters taking over the UFC, Akhmedov showed that he had skill, grit, and power in the fight with Perpetuo, shaking off some rough moments to roar back and stop the Brazilian. It was his 11th finish out of 13 wins (against only one loss), a run of destruction that he humbly describes as such: “I just walk into the Octagon to fight and I take it as it comes.”

And even though his ability to knock out and submit opponents served him well at 185 pounds, for his return this Saturday against Iceland’s Gunnar Nelson, he will be doing so as a welterweight.

“I was too small for the middleweights,” said the 26-year-old. “My natural weight is 86kg (189 pounds). High-level fighters cut too much weight, so at the fight day, after weigh in, they became way bigger and heavier than me. That's why I decided to move down.”

Even before the opening bell against Nelson, Akhmedov already notices the difference, saying, “I got faster and it’s easier to move. I’m feeling much better.”

Probably not what Nelson or the welterweights want to hear, but again, Akhmedov is honest in the lead-up to the bout, as he is taking the grappling wizard very seriously.

“Gunnar is world-class grappler, so it's dangerous to play with him on the ground, and he has that unorthodox karate style, so that could be confusing as well,” he said.

Yet if anyone can figure it out, you guess it’s Akhmedov, a Master of Sports in hand-to-hand combat and combat sambo who has five wins by submission to go with his six by knockout. It’s a resume similar to those of his Russia peers, and he’s probably not the last to emerge from the nation.

“Every day MMA is becoming more and more popular in Russia, so that's the logical consequence,” he said. “As the challenges get harder, fighters come out stronger.”

There will be plenty of challenges ahead for Akhmedov at 170 pounds, but he’s ready and waiting for them.

“The welterweight division is full of great, dangerous fighters,” he said. “I’m working really hard to became one of them and get to the top.”

To watch UFC Fight Night: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa exclusively on UFC Fight Pass on Saturday, March 8, sign up here


Watch Past Fights

토요일, 11월 5
Mexico City, Mexico


UFC Minute 진행자 리사 포일스가 UFC 205 대회 공동메인이벤트 타이런 우들리 vs. 스티븐 톰슨 경기에 대해 소개한다. 웰터급의 양 선수는 훈련캠프에서 소소한 즐거움을 맛보고 있다.
2016. 10. 21
UFC Minute 진행자 리사 포일스가 불꽃튀는 경쟁이 펼쳐지는 미들급 현황에 대해 소개한다. 게가드 무사시가 현 챔피언 마이클 비스핑에게 도전장을 내민다. 양 선수는 설전에 돌입했다.
2016. 10. 20
UFC Minute 진행자 리사 포일스가 제공하는 뉴욕시 개최 UFC 205 대회 관련 이벤트 정보.
한 주 쉬어가는 UFC 랭킹 발표. UFC 랭킹 보고서에서 미처 방영하지 못했던 장면들 중 가장 웃긴 부분을 선별해 공개한다. 포레스트 그리핀과 맷 파리노의 입담을 확인해볼 수 있는 드문 기회다.
2016. 10. 19