The Unparalleled Tenacity of Mirafzal Akhtamov

By Danny Jones, @Tidy_MMA


When Mirafzal Akhtamov ruthlessly dispatched Keyth Dawson at LFA 172, he became the third Uzbek athlete to compete at LFA.


Hailing from Shofirkon in the Bukhara Region of south-west Uzbekistan, Mirafzal emulated fellow countrymen Anvar Boynazarov and Bakhromjon Mashrapov by debuting – and winning – on the main-card.


Unlike Boynazarov and Mashrapov, however, Mirafzal’s LFA debut was also his first professional bout on American soil – a feat preceded by an indefatigable five-year visa pursuit successful only upon the eighth attempt.


As a coach, I was thinking maybe he will never [get] the visa, because [he was unsuccessful the] first time, second time, third time… he didn’t stop because he really wants to be in the top promotion – in UFC” Mirafzal’s coach Khusan Majlimov says. “He tried in Abu Dhabi, he tried in Indonesia, and finally he got the visa”.


One cannot overstate the unwavering dedication Mirafzal devotes to mixed martial arts. An expatriate in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Mirafzal currently trains at TKMMAFIT in Dubai Media City’s Shatha Tower, with his coach Khusan Majlimov. The motivation behind the move away from Uzbekistan was the desire to escape the distractions of home in order to focus solely on his professional career. Paying dividends, this commitment kept Mirafzal active, and in a position to replace Ray Waters on short notice for his LFA debut.


He was staying always ready for any fight” Khusan says, translating on behalf of Mirafzal. “LFA promotion is [a] huge promotion… He already [had] a visa, and he just [said] yes… It doesn’t matter who he’s gonna fight”.


99 days after his sensational debut at LFA 172, the undefeated Mirafzal returns to LFA on February 23rd 2024 at LFA 177 in Niagara Falls, New York. Victory would make Mirafzal the first Uzbek to win a sophomore LFA bout, and ultimately the most successful Uzbek in LFA history to date.


Make no mistake, Mirafzal faces a formidable opponent in promotional debutant Diego Bianchini, who notably holds a submission victory over former LFA athlete Kevem Felipe.


His opponent is good on striking” Khusan says, translating on behalf of Mirafzal. “[His] wrestling [is] not too good, but [his] jiu-jitsu is good. [Mirafzal] knows that, and he’s prepared for that. He’s ready now, and you will see [that] in the fight”.


Currently riding back-to-back knockout victories, a stellar performance from Mirafzal at LFA 177 will certainly whet the audience’s palate for a future championship opportunity. Intriguingly, however, Mirafzal would seek such an opportunity away from welterweight.


Normally he is fighting in 70kg [lightweight], not 77kg [welterweight], because 77kg is not his division” Khusan reveals, translating on Mirafzal’s behalf. “Because they give [Keyth Dawson] in short notice, he said yes. Second fight also was same – he accepted the fight at 77kg. But if there is some fight on 70kg – a real fight, like five rounds for the title – he’s ready for that, on 70kg”.


As Mirafzal approaches arguably his biggest bout to date, two integral individuals in company are deserving of high praise and recognition.


Khusan Majlimov, Mirafzal’s coach in Dubai, whom – reflecting his character – extends his own gratitude to the coaches of Kill Cliff FC for their help with Mirafzal’s preparations ahead of LFA 177.


Also, Ed Barnette of ECB Management. Ed was essential in Mirafzal’s successful visa application. He aided Mirafzal with his US-based training camp at Kill Cliff FC, and helped Mirafzal with accommodation in the US. For Ed, Mirafzal’s gratitude is absolute.


The author extends his utmost gratitude to Mirafzal Akhtamov, Khusan Majlimov, and Ed Barnette for making this article possible.


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