That will change on Friday, 15 October, when Allazov battles the French-Algerian star in the quarterfinals at ONE: FIRST STRIKE. However, the 28-year-old believes his participation in the world’s greatest kickboxing tournament is more important than the man he faces first.
“ONE Championship has organized a huge tournament and gathered the best fighters in the weight category. It’s really cool to be a part of this tournament. I’m focused on it,” the Azerbaijani warrior says.
“[It] makes no difference to me who my opponent is, I’m coming to win. Strong and competitive fighters will participate in this tournament, and every fighter is unique.”
Sana will certainly present a distinct set of challenges – one of which is height. At 190 centimeters, he’s the tallest entrant in the Grand Prix and will own a 9-centimeter height advantage over Allazov.
Moreover, “AK47” is dangerous in two sports: kickboxing and Muay Thai. He’s currently the #5-ranked featherweight Muay Thai contender in ONE Super Series, and his style is a hybrid of the two great striking arts.
Those skills took Sana to the 2019 ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix Championship Final, where he succumbed to the legendary Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan. This time, he’s hoping to reach the final once again and then capture the prestigious silver belt.
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With that in mind, Allazov knows he is facing a difficult test in the quarterfinals. And while the former K-1 Kickboxing Champion won’t reveal the game plan he’s put together for Sana, he’s ready to be flexible inside the Circle.
“We’ve prepared several tactics for this fight, but we can’t use just one element,” the Azerbaijan native says. “Any fighter can impose an uncomfortable fight for you, and you’ll be forced to change your plans and strategy.”
“Chinga” has already experienced that type of bout in ONE.
That tied their head-to-head series at one victory apiece, and the longtime rivals might get the chance to settle that score if they both advance in the tournament.
But for now, Allazov isn’t looking past Sana. He’s entirely focused on the French-Algerian, and if he emerges victorious on 15 October, he’ll be confident facing any other man in the bracket.
“I can sit here and think a lot about [my previous fight with Kehl], but it just wasn’t my day. I couldn’t show even 20 percent to 30 percent of what I could do. I wasn’t focused, and it felt like it was the first fight of my professional career,” Allazov says.
“Now, I’m concentrated on the next fight with Samy Sana. And it doesn’t matter who my next opponent is after that.”
One thing’s for certain – if Allazov gets past Sana, he won’t have an easy ride through the rest of the ONE Featherweight Kickboxing World Grand Prix.
With participants like pound-for-pound great Marat Grigorian and Thai star Sitthichai “Killer Kid” Sitsongpeenong – both of whom he’s lost against in the past – “Chinga” will have little margin for error inside the Circle.
But if you ask him, he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“ONE Championship has put together the strongest tournament in the last 10 years. To go and beat the other [seven] fighters is a strong motivator. Some of them we’ve already met in the ring, some of them we’ve already defeated and lost to,” Allazov adds.
“So, the important moment for my legacy and my team will be to win and prove to myself that I’m the best. That’s my legacy. Our team has won tournaments a lot of times, but now it’s all the strongest fighters in one tournament.”