Former UFC flyweight title challenger Ali Bagautinov is eager to get back into the Brave Combat Federation’s cage. Paired up against fellow Octagon vet Dustin Ortiz in a quarter-final bout for the promotion’s flyweight tournament, the Russian Sambo master cannot wait to display his skills on April 1.
In an exclusive interview with Bloody Elbow, Bagautinov explains he is not too worried about his opponent’s skills and prefers to focus on himself. In fact, Ali revealed he never watches tape on the athletes he will face and just relies on feeling to find the best way to win in the cage.
“I feel good. Now there is a recovery period after the weight cut. I don’t think Ortiz has much better striking skills than me. He is a very versatile fighter. He can wrestle and has good striking. I can say that our styles are the same, but my desire to win is greater. I’m in a great mood. I’m already impatient to go out into the cage.”
“I never watch my opponents fights.” Ali continued. “I am the kind of fighter who enters the cage and adjusts to his opponent there. It’s enough for me to just look with whom (they fought) and how the fighter fought in order to already understand how to resist him.”
Bagautinov was cut by the UFC after losing three of his last four fights under the promotion’s banner, a sign that the best moment of his career was perhaps behind him. However, following his release, Ali went on to win six of his next seven outings. The Russian chalks up the new winning streak not only to his experience, but also to a newly found desire to fight.
“I have been at my peak many times in my career. After I was signed to Brave CF, my excitement and desire to fight appeared again, I really want to go into the cage and prove that I am still capable of a lot. It seems to me that I have not said everything in my career as an MMA fighter. Tomorrow we will see how ready I am for new challenges.”
“Now I am much more experienced than I was before. It doesn’t matter where I fought before, because now I am where I need to be. I am very grateful to Brave CF. They appreciated my work, my experience and invited me to fight in such a serious tournament and gave me the opportunity to win the championship belt.”
In his last outing, Bagautinov (20-7) picked up a unanimous decision over Oleg Lichkovakha in his Brave debut, back in January. Before that, the 35-year-old suffered his only loss since April 2017, when he dropped a unanimous decision to now UFC fighter Zhalgas Zhumagulov, in October 2019.
Now, Bagautinov is expected to take on Ortiz at Brave 50, on April 1, in Arad, Bahrain. The card is scheduled to be headlined by a super welterweight (175 pounds) title fight between the champion, Jarrah Hussein Al-Silawi and challenger Ismail Naurdiev. The card will be streamed for free on the promotion’s official streaming platform.