Throughout his 12-year professional career, Ali “The Puncher” Bagautinov has been revered by pundits and peers alike as a one-of-a-kind competitor, winning championship belts in the regional circuit of mixed martial arts (MMA) as well as copping gold medals in different combat disciplines such as sambo, pankration and wrestling.
But the only accolade missing in his trophy room is a world title in MMA. The 35-year-old native of Dagestan, Russia will have the opportunity to inch him closer to his goal of adding the words “World Champion” to his curriculum vitae on Thursday, April 1.
Bagautinov is slated to square off with fellow veteran Dustin Ortiz in the quarter-final round of the prestigious BRAVE CF Flyweight World Title Tournament, which will be part of the much-awaited BRAVE CF 50 held at the iconic Arad Fort in Bahrain.
“The Puncher” booked his spot for the tourney after beating compatriot Oleg Lichkovakha via unanimous decision in his promotional debut at BRAVE CF 46 in Sochi, Russia this past January.
The man standing in his way to advance to the semi-finals is the debuting Ortiz, who has made a name for himself in the United States with his impressive victories over the likes of Ray Borg, Justin Scoggins and Zach Makovsky.
Winning against Ortiz will definitely put Bagautinov within reach of joining Fedor Emelianenko and Khabib Nurmagomedov in the elite cast of Russian MMA world champions.