Yuri “The Russian Polar Bear” Panferov recently rubbed shoulders with Russian MMA royalty.
Panferov, who was born and raised in Russia, served as a translator for the team of Bellator MMA light-heavyweight world champion Vadim Nemkov for the champ at Bellator 257. One of Nemkov’s cornermen was the great Fedor Emilianenko, widely regarded as one of the best MMA fighters of all time.
“That was a really cool experience,” Panferov says. But now it’s time for the Russia-born Connecticut fighter to cut his own path in the fight game. The undefeated Ultimate MMA fighter from Connecticut makes his highly anticipated pro debut against Gregory Smith at CES 62 on April 30 in Orlando, LIVE on UFC Fight Pass.
Panferov moved to the United States at 17. Initially he tried his hand at MMA in Connecticut to learn self-defense, after wrestling in his native Russia. Seven years later, he’s at the same academy with the same coach as Day 1 — but MMA is now a very promising career for him.
“I really just try to stay focused on the task at hand, just looking at things one fight at a time, but in two or three years, we’re definitely planning on being in the UFC, fighting on a global platform and making waves there.”
First up is April 30 in Orlando.
“I can’t wait,” he says. “It’s been a hell of a camp, so I can’t wait.”
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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