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11 Mar, 2021 19:19

‘This is the dawn of a new sport’: First Russian Bare Knuckle FC star Evgeny Kurdanov talks MMA future after transformative year

‘This is the dawn of a new sport’: First Russian Bare Knuckle FC star Evgeny Kurdanov talks MMA future after transformative year

After becoming Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship’s (BKFC) first Russian signing, rising star Evgeny Kurdanov has moved to the US and admitted that he has been stunned by the last year of his early MMA career.

A part-time philosopher who often invites his vast Instagram following to send him the proverbs and phrases he adores, Kurdanov is driven by a desire not to return home to Russia without more victories to his name.

Announcing his signing at the start of the month, BKFC certainly believe Kurdanov will become a star. David Feldman, the promotion’s president, has described himself as “very excited” about the “amazing prospect” who had a perfect four-fight record with Hardcore BK Russia.

“I, just like you, could not believe it that everything would gain momentum - for example, the fact that I will be preparing to move to the states and preparing to speak with bare fists there,” Kurdanov told his audience of more than 159,000 on Instagram, where he has separate accounts for his fighting career and his deeply-considered thoughts on life.

“Now, more and more often, we hear and see fighters on smartphones and TVs on screens fighting with bare fists.

“This is the dawn of a new sport that will take hold in our minds. We also know this story from MMA, a sport that was considered savage 25 years ago.

“In this life, a lot of interesting and unpredictable things can happen and life can change dramatically.

“I - and, indeed, no one - could have predicted that in a year I would pick up such a move.”

With his unmistakable beard and frequent use of a hat, Kurdanov’s coach, Levi, is the man he credits with keeping faith in him when he decided to pursue breaking into the bare knuckle bigtime last year.

There was another surprise and more inspiration when he recently met legendary Russian boxer Kostya Tszyu, an “uncle” who he says gave him “valuable advice” on training.

“I never thought that we would meet, although over the past year everything has changed in my life,” confessed Kurdanov.

“Training, for me, is something more than just a sport. This is my meditation. Sport gave me the opportunity to go out... so I train as if my life depended on it.

“The training process is always very exciting. You learn something new. You get experience and plots.

"You get tired physically and mentally. Most importantly, you enjoy the process.”

Although Kurdanov expects to make his debut for BKFC in the US, Feldman anticipates promoting more events in Russia, where he hopes to be able to capitalize on the appetite for the sport.

“The Russian market for BKFC continues to expand exponentially with each of our shows,” he announced at the time of Kurdanov’s signing, adding that fans in Russia and eastern Europe are watching events in “huge” numbers.

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