Adlan Amagov Finds a New Home at Welterweight

"It will be an exciting fight. When you’ve got two strikers, it will be fireworks." - Adlan Amagov
UFC welterweight Adlan AmagovAfter surviving a harrowing childhood in war-torn Chechnya, Adlan Amagov is at a point in his life where a loss in a sanctioned mixed martial arts match won’t define him or send him on a downward spiral emotionally. So after losing a 2012 Strikeforce bout to Robbie Lawler, his first defeat in nearly five years, Amagov simply shook off the disappointment of the result, went back to the gym, and when paired with Keith Berry last August, it was business as usual heading into the bout.

“It was just like any other fight,” Amagov said through manager / translator Sam Kardan. “I was 100% in the kill mode.”

The ensuing bout lasted just 48 seconds, with Amagov dispatching of Berry for his seventh knockout and 11th overall win, against just two losses and a draw.

“Every fight is important,” he said, “but it was important to clear the loss (to Lawler) and get
back on a winning streak.”

Leading up to the Lawler fight, Amagov was unbeaten in his previous 11 fights, with a hard-fought decision win over Ronald Stallings and a blistering knockout of Anthony Smith in Strikeforce garnering the middleweight rave reviews as part of the new wave of fighters (along with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Rustam Khabilov) from the former Soviet Union invading the big MMA shows. Then came the Lawler fight, which stopped his momentum by way of a first round TKO.

“I landed an illegal knee strike and that got me off my game,” explained Amagov when asked what went wrong that night. “I felt guilty and it messed up my strategy.”

The win over Berry got him back on track, though the closing of Strikeforce left him and his peers in momentary limbo. Amagov went back to Russia and stayed in the gym, waiting for a call from his manager to let him know what his immediate future held.

“He (Kardan) assured me that I would be transitioning to the UFC once the opportunity presents itself,” said the 26-year-old. “But it was definitely an uncertain time, as different Russian sites and reporters were asking me to comment on the situation.”

Eventually, the call came, with Amagov getting matched up with another Strikeforce alumnus, Chris Spang, this Saturday in Sweden. Describing his opponent as a “Good striker with heart; he will try to bang,” Amagov will be in enemy territory against the 5-1 native of Vaxjo, but for his first fight outside of the United States since 2010, he will have plenty of support in the stands in the form of his wife, her family, brothers Musa and Bislan, as well as friends from Moscow and Chechnya.

He will also be making his welterweight debut, a move he has been contemplating for a while now.

“The moment came to us about two and a half years ago,” said Amagov. “I was told I should be fighting at 170, but at that time I did not see it feasible, as I was fighting at 205 and sometimes heavyweight in Russia. I spoke with Sam and we decided to move down to 170 in UFC, and my coaches Greg (Jackson) and Wink (Mike Winkeljohn) approved the move. My Red Fury teammate Khabib Nurmagomedov also cuts about 20 pounds before his fights and that gave me confidence as well.”

Now all that’s left is to put his foot in the treacherous welterweight waters, something he’s looking forward to, even though he admits that at 170 there is “a lot of talent and a lot of tough guys.” Then again, Adlan Amagov is pretty talented and tough in his own right, and he’s ready to show both traits off this weekend.

“It will be an exciting fight,” he said. “When you’ve got two strikers, it will be fireworks.”

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