ABU DHABI // For a man who became Dh1 million richer for just 116 seconds of work, Shamil Abdurahimov did not look like a fighter transformed by a giant payday or his first mixed martial arts title belt.
The Russian needed less than two minutes to defeat Marcos Oliveira, the locally based Brazilian fighter, by technical knockout in the Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship (ADFC) final.
The referee stopped the fight in the first round as Abdurahimov hovered above his opponent, raining down unanswered blows. He was crowned the first ADFC champion at Zayed Sports City on Friday at ADFC 3.
He had gone into the ring for the final, which had come after he and Oliveira had won quarter-final and semi-final bouts at AFDC 1 and ADFC 2 last year, with a small grin on his face, confident in his ability, and he left with much the same expression.
He said that money had not been his primary motivation.
“You do not think about the money when you are preparing and when you are fighting, but now that I have it I am sure I will find some way to use it,” he said through a translator.
The five-time Russian champion in the martial art of Wushu-Sanda, will be back to defend his title, said Randall Yogachandra, the chief executive of I SEE Entertainment, who are the promoters of ADFC.
Yogachandra said he does not know who the new champion will face in his first title defence, at ADFC 4, but claimed there was no shortage of takers to face the 28-year-old Russian.
“Shamil will be back to defend the title, that is for sure,” he said. “I can’t tell you right now [who he will be facing]. We have got a lot of hopeful fighters knocking on my door, even before the fight had ended, wanting to fight this guy.
“But I want Shamil to enjoy, take it in for now and be ready to defend it.”
A visibly distraught Oliveira was given the consolation by Yogachandra that he will fight again on ADFC cards, but the 32-year-old Abu Dhabi resident said he was unsure of what he would do next and whom he would fight.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I want to go home. Rethink everything. I have never picked an opponent, I just want to go home, sit with my girl and think about everything.”
It was not all bad news for the UAE as Ali Mohammed Ahli, the Abu Dhabi fighter, won his welterweight undercard bout against Malik Omarov. The referee stopped the fight in the second round to make it two wins from two fights in Ahli’s fledgling career. Ahli, 20, hopes to keep progressing, and said: “It is up to ADFC if they want me again, but I want to fight again.”