Bellator has just announced an addition of the Ukrainian resident Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov to the Bellator 277 card. He will be going up against Tony Johnson in a light heavyweight bout.
Born in Turkmenistan, the 32-year old Yagshimuradov has spent a long time making a fortune for his family in Ukraine and called it home.
While living in Ukraine, he earned three degrees, including a bachelor’s degree in law and economics from the Kharkiv National University of Economics.
As the head of the family, he provided for them as an athlete and businessman running two businesses at the same time. But with the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, it’s all gone.
“Neither of the businesses are there now,” said Yagshimuradov in an interview translated from Russian. “There has been a lot of stress. It’s hurt me financially, but right now, it’s most important that everyone stays alive and well.”
He’s now living and training at the American Top Team gym in Coconut Creek, Florida. Far away from the conflict.
“There is nothing left at home,” Yagshimuradov said. “As a man, it’s time for me to fight for my family. In this fight, you will see a whole different man.”
Prior to his Bellator campaign, Yagshimuradov was a decorated MMA fighter winning the light heavyweight championship in Absolute Championship Berkut and Absolute Championship Akhmat.
Although currently on a two-fight losing streak since signing with Bellator, Yagshimuradov has shown significant improvement each time, especially after training at American Top Team.
Yagshimuradov was welcomed by the UFC veteran Corey Anderson on his Bellator debut last year and suffered a ground and pound TKO loss in the second round.
Against Karl Albrektsson, he showed significant improvement yet still fell short as he suffered a close decision loss.
Since then, Yagshimuradov has spent months improving his wrestling in ATT, with fighting will serve as his distraction from the ongoing crisis back home.
“I have nothing to lose,” Yagshimuradov said. “People are going to see that hunger and dominance in my fight.”
Bellator 277 will feature a rematch between the undefeated featherweight champion A.J. McKee against Patricio Pitbull.
While the co-main spot will feature the final of the Bellator Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix Tournament between the champion Vadim Nemkov against Corey Anderson.