Even before his main event fight at Ares FC 11, Abdoul Abdouraguimov already had a reputation as one of the top contenders in MMA. At 27 and 17 fights under his belt, the “Lazy King” entered the cage on Friday, January 20 as the reigning Ares Welterweight Champion of the World with a 16-1 (1 NC) record.
Coupled with a streak of 5 fights unbeaten, there has been plenty of serious talk that a UFC contract could be close at hand for the Russian-born Frenchman, who is fighting out of the MMA Factory. There was only one obstacle in his way, and it was a big one.
Abdouraguimov moved up to middleweight for the first time and was expected to take on the 6ft 1in tall Rafal Haratyk – giving up at least three inches in height and significant reach and weight. Inside the cage, the fight looked more like a lightweight middleweight bout than a simple jump of a division.
Known for his relentless grappling and wrestling attacks, Abdouraguimov got off to a solid start, winning the first round on many judges’ scorecards. But the weight change was clearly tiring, and it wasn’t long before he transitioned to pulling the guard and throwing slack armbar attempts off his back. When Haratyk found the full mount in the fourth round, referee Abdouraguimov warned that the fight would be abandoned unless he found ways to improve positions.
The fifth round started better for Abdouraguimov, an early takedown from which Haratyk fought his way back standing, into another guard pull, but this time with a swing into a low mounted guillotine that got Haratyk in all sorts of trouble. As the Polish fighter fought his way free and back to the top, it seemed like Abdouraguimov’s last desperate chance had been missed.
Then the man performed a miracle.
With the win, Abdouraguimov becomes Ares FC’s simultaneous welterweight and middleweight title holder – bringing his record to a stellar 16-1 (1 NC) in the process. After the fight, Ares president (and owner of MMA Factory), Fernand Lopez, was forthright with his expectation that one of the brightest talents of his promotion was likely headed to the UFC. So it may be that fans of the Lazy King will soon see him debut in the Octagon in 2023.
For those who want to see all the action, all of Ares FC 11 – including the main event between Abdouraguimov and Haratyk – is available in Fight Pass.