Black Tiger tears Japanese rival apart
Martial arts specialist and actor Steven Seagal has witnessed Rasul Mirzaev of Russia devastating his Japanese opponent, Masanori Kanehara, for the MMA Lightweight Championship as part of the Fight Nights tournament in Moscow.
Rasul Mirzaev and Shamil Zavurov are the pride of Russia's mixed martial arts scene.
The first one into the ring was three-time world combat sambo champion Zavurov, who needed to defend another title of his – the Eurasian crown – against Zhanybek Amatov from Kyrgyzstan, the best combat sambo specialist Asia has to offer in this weight class.
And the action was watched by one of the world's most famous martial artists – Steven Seagal.
Amatov may be taller, and could boast a longer reach but that did not help him against Zavurov.
The Dagestan Lion, who is also a very strong wrestler, was quick to demonstrate his stand-up skills.
Amatov is just about surviving the first round, which was completely dominated by the Russian.
The second saw Zavurov continue the demolition job and finally take the fight to the ground.
A few seconds of ground-and-pound by Zavurov forced the exhausted Amatov to give up his resistance.
“I have been concentrating on fine-tuning my stand-up skills recently. So the plan for this fight was to spend the first round on my feet, avoid ground fighting to save energy – kick, punch and see what happens. And it worked. I hope I will still improve on my stand-up skills,” Zavurov said.
The biggest fight of the night was for the MMA Lightweight Championship title.
Rasul, the Black Tiger Mirzaev, is known as one of the most promising Russians in the weight class.
The 25-year-old who has never tasted defeat came out for his ninth professional fight against Masanori Kanehara – the 2009 Sengoku champion.
Sengoku is now the new franchise for one of the most prestigious MMA competitions – PRIDE.
The fight had a huge build-up with experts considering the Japanese one of the toughest opponents Mirzaev will ever have to face.
However, the Black Tiger, who claimed most of his victories by way of knock-out, promptly showed his appetite.
Early in the first round Mirzaev rocked the visitor with a perfect right, which was followed by an immediate takedown – the MMA classic.
Kanehara was eager to escape, but could not do so for long.
Mirzaev's perfect storm continued as his furious hunt gave his rival little chance.
Less then two minutes into the fight, the judge stopped the beating, with Kanehara not sure where he was at that stage.
Mirzaev added another stunning victory to his flawless record of nine wins out of nine professional bouts.
While the “Under Siege” star himself, Seagal, got in on the act as well, presenting the belt in the ring.
“In my preflight interviews I always emphasized that I would try to finish it as soon as possible… I didn't want to take it to a decision; I wanted a knockout to set the record straight. I'd like to give a lot of credit to Batu Hasikov who's been my sparring partner in the lead-up to the bout,” Mirzaev said.
“I have never seen Rasul so focused, so concentrated. He's the type of fighter, who has fun in the ring and sometimes does extravagant things. But tonight he was all about the job at hand and this is the outcome. That's why he was in and out so quickly,” Batu Hasikov, World Undisputed Welterweight Kickboxing Champion, commented.
Another fight night was over, just meaning it's time to prepare for the next one, which will come on the November 5.