Published on 01 December 2015
Kazakhstan National MMA Team took the second place among the teams. In the finals of the most prestigious heavyweight category 2014 World MMA Championship silver medalist from Mokhmad Sulimanov Karaganda, Kazakhstan took on an old rival in Zaur Gadzhibabaev (European and World MMA Champion) from Azerbaijan. Fans were waiting for the rematch between the two. Their first encounter took place in the finals of the last year’s World MMA Championship under the WMMAA banner in Minsk, Belarus.
Having failed in the first fight, Sulimanov was determined to revenge the loss and take gold back to Kazakhstan. During the first 5 minutes of the finals Mokhmad was dominating in the stand-up. But in the beginning of the second round he slipped, fell down and was finished almost instantly.
The heavyweight shared his thoughts on the experience and assessed his performance in the finals of the most important amateur MMA event in the world.
“Despite the outcome of the final fight the Championship itself left plenty of positive impression. Athletes from around 40 countries were present, the competition level was higher than the last year. I saw a few fighters from Europe. Also numerous new countries debutted in WMMAA which is also great”, looks back Mokhmad.
– Your fight against Zaur Gadzhibabaev was the most anticipated rematch since the last year’s World Championship. What went wrong this time?
– I followed the game plan of my coach: don’t let him come close, keep the distance since he outweighed me by almost 10 kg. I had to utilize jabs, defend the takedowns. I did just that the first 5 minutes. However, in the very beginning of the second round I slipped, got distracted, he hit my chin and I got TKO’d.
– Is your wish to revenge the losses still strong?
– Undoubtedly. I want to get the chance again because I know that I was capable of winning. I was dominating the first 5 minutes. I felt the distance very well, I was winning and outpointing him. I was that close to becoming the World Champion. Many people would say that it’s time for me to hang the gloves since I’m already 38 years old. Unlike they, others say I need to keep moving forward. I can;t say much about the future right now. I’ll need to talk to my coaches and think about it for a while.
According to Sulimanov, he’s not planning to retire that soon:
“The argument that I need a rematch does not play the main role. Thing is, I just love this sport. I love to train MMA. Yes, I absolutely need to defeat Gadzhibabaev but it’s not what keeps me awake at night. MMA keeps developing in Kazakhstan and I enjoy being part of it and represent his home-country on the highest level. I won the elimination fights pretty easily. I knocked out some of my opponents and felt really good conditioning-wise.
The championship itself was really great and my participation in it was rather successful. Of course I can find multiple excuses like jet lag or injuries. But one needs to find the real reasons and overcome the problems.”
The national MMA team of the Republic of Kazakhstan took the second place among 40 teams having conquered 5 silver and 1 bronze medal.
The first place went to Russia and the third – to Azerbaijan.
- World Championship
- Mokhmad Sulimanov
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