ACB: Rumoured Championship Fight, Along With Balaev vs. Raisov Unification Set to Top Stadium Card
As always Absolute Championship Berkut looks to impress, when they deliver a massive stadium card on May 5, at Moscow’s 30,000 capacity Olympic Stadium. The yet to be numbered ACB card already has one title fight scheduled between current featherweight champion, Marat Balaev, and his would be usurper and current interim featherweight champion, Yusuf Raisov. The fight between the two would be a rematch of their well contested 2016 bout, which Balaev took the honours in. This time it would be to unify the belts, and potentially usher in a new era in the featherweight division.
ACB will hold an event at the famous Olympic Stadium in Moscow, an arena holding 30,000 people! May 5th… stay tuned
— #ACB88 🇦🇺 (@ACB_League) February 7, 2018
Yusuf Raisov (12-1) enters the bout on the strength of a three-fight win streak, where the 22-year-old impressed in wins over Valdines Silva, Luis Palomino and Alexander Peduson. The latter being where he won the interim featherweight championship.
Marat Balaev (8-0), who is 20 years Raisov’s senior, only debuted in MMA when he turned 38, after an arduous life journey involving Olympic dreams, despair, prison time, inspiration and redemption. If you haven’t read about Balaev’s journey then you really should do that now. Balaev has racked up an impressive 8-0 record despite his age, and he has looked every bit as game in the cage as his younger counterparts.
The first fight between the two was a fight of the year material. Expect this one to be pushing for honours once again.
Per ACB’s vk page:
It’s not long to wait! Revenge Balaev – Raisov will take place at the tournament on May 5 in the Olympic (Stadium).
Very soon the sole champion in featherweight will be determined. We are waiting for a real battle for the unification of belts between Marat “Motivator” Balaev and Yusuf “Borz” Raisov. In the first battle, the experience took its own and Balaev celebrated the victory, simultaneously depriving his opponent of zero in the defeat graph.
But not for nothing many fighters argue that defeats are more often more useful than victories. This is exactly what happened with Raisov, who made the right conclusions and ridden through his three following opponents. And now he is ready to avenge his first and only defeat.
Balaev will defend his legacy, after all, most likely this battle will be his last in his career. And what could be better than how to escape undefeated, finally beating the main challenger, who is almost 20 years younger than you.
At least two title defences are planed for ACB's Olympic stadium event: Balaev vs Raisov 2 and Abdul Aziz Abdulvakhabov vs Ustarmagomev Gadzhidaudov https://t.co/CYSzWzvMBt
— Denis Geyko (@DenisGeykoRT) February 10, 2018
Along with the scheduled featherweight unification fight, another rumoured title fight between current lightweight champ Abdul-Aziz Abdulvakhabov and would-be challenger Ustarmagomed Gadzhidaudov, is also being targeted for the bumper card, per MMA Today‘s Denis Geyko.
Gadzhidaudov (11-3) has won three consecutive fights, stopping two opponents, including former Bellator standout Alexander Sarnavskiy. He’s sports a 6-2 ACB record, avenging one of those losses in his most recent fight.
Abdul-Aziz Abdulvakhabov (15-1) recently defended his belt in a war of attrition with rival Eduard Vartanyan. A third bout between the two is rumoured for later in the year, but first, Gadzhidaudov is being targeted for Abdulvakhabov’s fourth defence. The Grozny native is currently enjoying an unbeaten run that dates back to 2011, going 15-0 after initially losing his debut.
If the lightweight strap is on the line at ACB’s stadium offering then it will only bolster what promises to be a mega fight card.