Bekbulat Magomedov will be putting his perfect professional record on the line against fellow undefeated featherweight Wang Guan at RUFF 11 with promotional officials confirming on Friday that the fight would go ahead regardless of whether the Russian faces Will Chope at UFC Fight Night 34 in January.
In a conversation with MMAWeekly.com, RUFF CEO Joel Resnick stated that, “The bottom line is he’s fighting in RUFF. The fight is not cancelled; the fight is on. Regardless of whether he fights in the UFC or not, he has a contract with RUFF and he’s going to honor it.”
Sources within the Chope camp stated that he expected to make his UFC debut against Magomedov at the Marina Bay Sands on Jan. 4, but before the Russian can sign a contract elsewhere, he must honor his Nov. 30 commitment with RUFF.
Magomedov (11-0) will face reigning 145-pound champion Wang Guan (10-0-1) in a non-title bout, which pits two undefeated fighters who have never competed outside of their native countries together and is set to headline RUFF 11 at the Hongkou Indoor Stadium in Shanghai.
With both fighters being unbeaten, Resnick is particularly proud of this main event match-up
“We’re taking young guys who grew up in their sport (Sambo for Magomedov, Sanda for Wang Guan), transitioned into MMA, were hugely successful in their countries, and only one of them is going to remain unbeaten,” he said.
He also had some strong words for the people who had accused RUFF of somehow blocking Magomedov from signing with the UFC.
“These guys gotta learn to keep their mouth shut until they have checked their facts! Somebody brought this up to me and I called the (Magomedov) management team right away and they don’t even know anything about it; they haven’t signed a contract with the UFC.”
Wang Guan was one of the RUFF superfight winners. He received in the region of 160,000 USD in prize money for becoming the promotion’s inaugural 145-pound champion. Resnick angrily disputes the notion that his fighters could find better opportunities competing elsewhere.
“You look at how many fights we have, the contracts we gave our fighters, the superfight money we gave away. What these guys have to learn is they are professional athletes and they have responsibilities and if you sign your contract you have to honor it.”
RUFF 11 will also see the return of 155-pound champion Rodrigo Caporal (10-4), who will be taking on Iftikhor Arbobov (10-1). The former is a Hong Kong based Brazilian, while the latter is a Russian who will be making his promotional debut.
RUFF was originally only open to people who were either native to or in possession of valid work permits in China, Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan, but Resnick says the plan was always to eventually relax this admission criteria.
“I said two years ago when we started this that until the Chinese level gets up to a global level we were going to be strictly about who we opened it up to, but now the Chinese level has come up so quickly we need to start opening it up and that’s what we’ve done now,” he said.
There are no longer any geographical restrictions on who can compete for RUFF, but Resnick says he is carefully handpicking foreign opponents and looking at places like Mongolia, Kazakhstan, and Russia, where he feels he can find mixed martial artists who will match up well with the Chinese fighters on his roster.
Also in action at RUFF 11 will be 125-pound titleholder Meixuan Zhang (6-1), who is rematching Rijirigala Amu in a fight that pits the two most successful MMA camps in the country together with the champion representing Xian Sports University and the challenger fighting out of China Top Team.
According to Resnick, the RUFF 11 card, which consists of 11 fights, will be streamed live online free of charge and he says that, if the last event is anything to go by, there should be plenty of action.
“At our last event, the fights were unbelievable and these fights coming up are amazing fights. I’m really proud of these guys. They are putting on a real show and they are all getting fans, which is the important thing. I said from day one we have to grow our athletes, make them into superstars, and RUFF will grow, and that’s exactly what’s happening.”
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