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BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 03: Ali Bagautinov weighs in during the UFC weigh-in event at Mineirinho Arena on September 3, 2013 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
TRAINING: All my training sessions are going great. The first session was in Slovakia in the mountains, the second session was in Moscow and the third session is in Thailand now. I feel good about myself. I'm looking forward to meet my present opponent; I've got itchy fists.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I was wrestling on an amateur level until I was 19 years of age, and quite frankly was in the top echelon of wrestlers in Russia but had no support to pick it up professionally. I then had to stop for two years due to family circumstances. I lost my father and had to support my family by myself for two years. I then picked up combat sambo at the age of 22 and didn’t even think of a career in martial arts, but here I am.
What ranks and titles have you held? Master of Sports on International level (Russian honor awarded to top sportsmen) - Combat Sambo, Pankration, Freestyle Wrestling, Greco-Roman Wrestling, hand-to-hand combat, Grappling. Champion of Dagestan Republic in Combat Sambo and Freestyle Wrestling. Prize winner in Russian Championship in Greco-Roman Wrestling. Three-time Moscow Champion in Combat Sambo and Pankration. One-time Moscow Champion in Pankration and Grappling. Four-time Russian Champion in Combat Sambo. One-time Russian Champion in Pankration and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Two-time World Champion in Combat Sambo. Europe Champion in Combat Sambo. World Champion in Pankration. Euroasia champion in MMA. Europe champion in MMA. Russian champion in MMA.
Do you have any heroes? No
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? When I heard the news it was most certainly one of the happiest and most notable moments in my life. The Fight Nights Team, which I am a part of, approached me not long ago to say that it’s time to promote me to the UFC. Coincidently, the UFC contacted me shortly after and invited me to fight in their promotion. Everything I have done in my career thus far was for this; it’s an amazing opportunity and for which I am very grateful and will not let myself down.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? I did indeed. Belgorod Economics University. I finished a financial crediting course.
What was your job before you started fighting? I worked for two years for a financial firm in Makchachkala, Dagestan. I was an accountant and did quite well actually.
Favorite grappling technique: Painful hold to end the fight quicker, but now I prefer striking hard.
Favorite striking technique: I don’t differentiate. I love them all.