Heading into his main event battle at Ares FC 11, Abdoul Abdouraguimov already had the reputation for being one of MMA’s top prospects. At 27-years-old and 17 fights under his belt already, the ‘Lazy King’ made his walk to the cage on Friday, January 20th as the reigning Ares welterweight champion, with a sterling 16-1 (1 NC) record.
Coupled with a 5-fight unbeaten streak, there was a lot of serious talk that a UFC contract could be on the immediate horizon for the Russian-born Frenchman fighting out of the MMA Factory. There was just one obstacle in his way, and it was a big one.
Moving up to the middleweight division for the first time, Abdouraguimov was set to take on 6’1” Rafal Haratyk—giving up at least three inches of height, and significant reach and weight in the process. Inside the cage, the bout had more the look of a lightweight fighting at middleweight than a simple jump up one division.
Known for his relentless grappling and wrestling attack, Abdouraguimov got off to a decent enough start, winning the first round on many judges scorecards. But the change in weight was clearly draining, and it wasn’t long before he was resorting to pulling guard and throwing up loose armbar attempts off his back. By the time Haratyk found full mount in the fourth round, the referee was warning Abdouraguimov that if he didn’t find ways to improve positions, the bout would get waived off.
The fifth round started off better for Abdouraguimov, a takedown early, from which Haratyk fought his way back standing, into another guard pull, but this time with a sweep into a deep mounted guillotine that had Haratyk in all kinds of trouble. When the Polish fighter fought his way free and back to top control, it seemed Abdouraguimov’s last desperate chance had been lost.
That’s when the man pulled out a miracle.
Abdoul "The Lazy King" Abdouraguimov submits Rafał Haratyk via kneebar 4:35 R5 pic.twitter.com/BJochSmzoR— Neo Vale Tudo (@NeoValeTudo) January 20, 2023
With the victory, Abdouraguimov becomes the concurrent Ares FC welterweight and middleweight title holder—bringing his record to a stellar 16-1 (1 NC) in the process. After the bout, Ares president (and MMA Factory owner) Fernand Lopez was open with his expectations that one of his promotion’s brightest talents was likely on his way to the UFC. So it just may be that fans of the Lazy King will see him debuting in the Octagon sometime soon in 2023.
For those who wish to see all the action, the entire Ares FC 11—including the Abdouraguimov vs. Haratyk main event—is available on Fight Pass.