The Russians are coming!

Posted: July 26, 2013 in Commentary/Opinion, Cool Stuff We Like
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Nikita-KoloffBellator’s special “Bellator MMA Unrivaled: The Russian Invasion” aired this week after the latest episode of “Fightmaster” and highlighted four Russian fighters making a name for themselves in the promotion. Two of the four are current title holders. Are these comrades really causing a revolution not seen since the Bolsheviks? Or is the Bellator hype train coming into the station?

Andrey Koreshkov. Hailing from Siberia where there is little else to do other than make snow angels and clean snotsicles out of your nose, Koreshkov had a perfect (8-0) record with each victory coming by way of submission or TKO prior to joining Bellator. The FILA Pankration champion has since improved his record to (13-0) since his debut in March of 2012.  Koreshkov is a finisher with only two decision wins on his record. He will challenge (11-0) wrestler Ben Askren for the welterweight title at Bellator 97.

Shahbulat Shamhalaev. In addition to having a name that would make you the tongue twister master if you successfully said it five times real fast, Shamhalaev is a Karate and Muay Thai champion. His two losses came at the hands of fellow Russian and Sambo champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in M-1 and his featherweight title bout against Pat Curran at Bellator 95. Impressively, eight of his twelve victories have come by way of knockout. Shahbulat will face Akop Stepanyan in September at Bellator 98.

Alexander Volkov. Volkov, a former M-1 competitor, is the current Bellator Heavyweight Champion. At an imposing 6’7” with a reach only three inches shorter than that of UFC Light Heavyweight champ Jon Jones, Alexander is probably the most intimidating Russian since Ivan Drago. In nineteen wins, only 4 of his matches have been gone to a decision. Volkov’s training partners have included legendary badasses Fedor Emelianenko and Gegard Mousasi which automatically gives him as much street cred as Putin.

Alexander Shlemenko. Another Siberian and current Bellator Middleweight Champion, the 29 year old Shlemenko has fifty four fights under his belt with fourty seven victories. The unorthodox striker is known for his excellent cardio and assists in the training of Alexander Sarnavskiy and Andrey Koreshkov. He says his goal is always to “try to knockout his opponent” and is most comfortable standing where he utilizes his ARB hand to hand combat skills. He will defend his title against Doug Marshall at Bellator 98.

Nikita Koloff. Although the “Russian Nightmare” speaks very little English, his interpreter/manager/uncle Ivan handles most of his talking. His overpowering style, which includes slams, suplexes and very heavy hands is causing all sorts of problems for everyone he faces. His signature move, the Russian Sickle, is as devastating as anything we’ve ever seen. Although his submission game is still developing, he has collected a couple tapouts from his smothering bear hug. Keep an eye on this guy. With huge victories over Dusty Rhodes, Magnum T.A., the Road Warriors, and even Ric Flair, Koloff is the real deal.

In an age where many MMA fans complain about lengthy matches ending in decisions, it’s refreshing to see a group of guys who actively seek to knock their opponent’s head.   Whatever they are putting in the water in Mother Russia, they should continue.

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