Russian mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Vladimir Mineev held three rounds in the ring with compatriot Ivan Shtyrkov: it was not possible to secure an early victory, but the fight according to kickboxing rules still went to the favorite.
Sports sums up the high-profile confrontation in Sochi.
Despite the fact that Mineev remains one of the most recognizable fighters within Russian MMA for many years, lately we have not seen any new stars… Who, staying at home, would have reached Volzhanin’s media level. So the top middleweight has to make a choice in favor of middle-aged but proven fighters: after the spectacular knockout of the eminent Brazilian Rafael Carvalho, the famous Ivan Shtyrkov became Vladimir’s opponent. The tournament organizers decided to hold the fight according to kickboxing rules, which, obviously, seriously affected the intrigue. After all, this is Volzhanin’s “native” sport.
There was some trash talk. True, the exchange of pleasantries was rather friendly: Shtyrkov, when asked about superheroes, replied that he sees Mineev… as Wonder Woman! Volzhanin was not embarrassed and suggested that the Ural Hulk (Ivan’s nickname – editor’s note) changed his green color to blue.
There was no time for jokes at the “RED ARENA” stadium in Krasnaya Polyana. Main event participants began kicking each other's legs, connecting spinners and charging flying knees. And if we saw a close fight on our hands, then in footwork Volzhanin’s class was an order of magnitude higher. Mineev’s enormous experience played in favor of Mineev, who was pressing but not rushing to finish. Still, before Saturday’s fight, Shtyrkov fought as a kickboxer only one (!) time – only lucky punch could give us a sensation, but we didn’t see it. Therefore, 30-29 and twice 30-27 on the judges’ cards and Volzhanin’s success by unanimous decision.
At the same time, Shtyrkov, who pleasantly surprised him, will have a chance to get even with the offender. Promoter Kamil Gadzhiev confirmed after the main event of the evening that in 2024 the athletes will have a rematch according to MMA rules. And then, as the functionary suggests, it may come to a trilogy with the final chapter in boxing.
For now, Mineev should concentrate on another, more resonant story. There is less and less time left until the third meeting with eternal rival Magomed Ismailov. Previously, Russian stars fought twice in fights according to MMA rules (a draw and an early victory for Volzhanin) – now the bet is on boxing, where the Bald Predator has great success and where, despite the absence of Magi’s signature fight, Mineev is definitely not in for an easy walk.
The confrontation is planned for March, location – Moscow. And the promotion has already begun.