Wednesday September 21, 2016— Following the successful launch of the Road to Abu Dhabi and Elite Fight Night 2016 season with a revamped MMA plus format Bangkok on August 12, the road to the season end finals in Abu Dhabi and Bangkok now heads to Sofia for Road to Abu Dhabi 4/EFN-7 on September 24.
The winner of the 4-man Muaythai qualifying tournament will earn his place at the Kings Cup Final in Bangkok on December 5. The four Muaythai fighters scheduled to compete in Sofia at EFN-7 are Marcin Lepkowski of Poland, Vladimir Konsky of Slovakia, Sayfulah Hambahadov of Chechnya and Gligor Stoyanov of Switzerland.
As part of the Road to Abu Dhabi qualifiers, eight fighters will face off in four bouts. All four winners advance to the Abu Dhabi Warriors semifinal in the UAE Capital at the end of the year.
While Elite Boxing has held a number of events in Europe since launching its first event series in 2010, the Bangkok-based company has usually chosen Germany as the venue for its European events. The decision to stage one of the company’s prestigious EFN events in Bulgaria has been taken for a number of reasons.
As Elite Boxing co-founder, Toli Makris, explained, “We have a strong foundation in Bulgaria, and it’s one that we’ve been developing over the last few years. With our local partner Mr Kiril Pendzhurov, we have two gyms in Bulgaria, one on the Black Sea and one in Sofia, so it seemed a logical choice for us to stage an event here.”
Apart from EB’s connections with Sofia, the city is also set to become something of a regional sporting hub in the coming years. Makris added, “Sofia has also been chosen as the European Capital of Sport for 2018, so we are excited to increase our presence here by getting a foothold with EFN-7.”
In less than 2 years the 28-year old Umar Yankovskiy (8-0) from Kazakhstan made it to the top. He had his first professional fight in October 2014 and now he’ll be fighting his 9th professional fight in under 24 months.
He’s been stellar from the very beginning having recorded 4 early stoppages in a row in his first fights. With a perfect record and the support of his whole country, he’s coming to Sofia on September 24 to face against experienced Austrian Willi Ott (10-8).
″This bout in Bulgaria on 24 September is very important for me and for the whole Kazakhstan.”said Umar Yankovskiy. “It is a big responsibility and at the same time happiness and pride to represent my country, Kazakhstan MMA Federation and my home club Akhmat. So my family, my club, my country supporting me – we are stronger together.″
Although he’s not in this game for a very long time his actions speak otherwise. Professional record aside, he’s giving his opponent the respect he deserves and letting the expectations mess with his mind and preparation for the fight.
″I’m working hard and improving my skills. I hope by the will of God I will go into the octagon with one hundred percent readiness,″ Umar explained.
″This is a very tough sport and anything can happen during a fight. I respect my opponent, he is afull-grown man but I steeled in tough battles. Look at my fights each of the 8 of my victories wereearned due to a hard work. I never went unscathed from the bouts and every fight is a test for me. So we will see how everything will go down. Especially I do not think about it, I think about myself and my game!″
Standing on the other side of the ring will be Willi Ott who returned to the MMA this year. He’s had tough opponents and his transition was not smooth but he chose the hard path of return. Ott who was one of the greatest talents coming out of Austria is determined to join the likes of Voitov and M’Pumbu in the semis and to derail the ″Umar train″ along the way.
″I moved my camp to Germany for this fight so that I will be 100% ready for it. I am working with striking, jiu jitsu and wrestling coaches to improve my game. All is perfect and I feel excellent,″said the 34-year old Austrian.
″I don’t know what the outcome will be, maybe I will KO him, maybe he taps, who knows? But know one thing, I will give him hell from the second the bell rings and I will look for a way to destroy him.″
Road to Abu Dhabi: Bulgaria takes place at the Armeec Arena in Sofia, Bulgaria on September 24th.
The fight between Simeon Batalov and Raul Tutarauli will most likely be one of the most intense ones on the fight card. The Bulgarian Batalov will be representing his home country at the Armeec Arena in Sofia on September 24.
As the first ever Bulgarian to compete at the Road to Abu Dhabi, Batalov is making his debut at the biggest stage in AD Warriors history. With the capacity of over 15,000 spectators the grand Armeec Arena is ready for the invasion of the Warriors.
Tutarauli will try to squash the home favourite when the two meet in the ring in a couple of days. The young Georgian is a powerful machine in the battle arenas with 6 finishes in his 9 professional fights. His fists are extremely deadly as he has proven numerous times. An M-1 veteran Tutarauli is set to make his name in the AD Warriors. Does he has what it takes to be a Warrior?
The opening bout at the upcoming Road to Abu Dhabi: Bulgaria will be between Abner Lloveras (19-9) from Spain and Ukrainian Maxim Maryanchuk (6-0).
The Spaniard who is still regarded as one the Spain’s best boxers in his division nearly made it into the London 2012 Olympics. He holds a 30-1 boxing record. After he failed to make the team he put all his efforts into MMA and clinched a spot on TUF 22 where he was a part of Conor McGregor’s team. Although he wasn’t crowned as the show winner his skills and abilities caught the promotor’s eyes and he was a part of the season finale.
Lloveras, Respect FC Lightweight Champion, and The Ultimate Fighter veteran is a highly experienced mixed martial artist whose base is boxing. He will be looking to bounce back after his last two decision defeats against the upcoming and nearly a decade younger fighter from Ukraine Maxim Maryanchuk.
Maxim, who is a highly decorated martial artist in his homeland having won championships in full-contact, jiu-jitsu and pankration, will be making his first time ever appearance outside Ukraine. Having subordinated his home turf with a clean 6-0 record he’s ready for the big leagues.
″The fight is very important to me because I want to test myself against a fighter of such high level as Lloveras. If I win, I will be able to fight with the best.″ said Maxim. ″I am fighting against a serious opponent, former TUF member and jiu-jitsu practitioner among others. I will put all my spirit and strength into the fight, that’s the only way I can win it.″
Experience versus talent. What will prevail? Road to Abu Dhabi: Bulgaria takes place at the Armeec Arena in Sofia, Bulgaria on September 24th.
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