Saygid Izagakhmaev certainly lived up to the hype in his stunning ONE Championship debut.
The Dagestani grappler put the entire lightweight division on notice by submitting former ONE World Title challenger James Nakashima in their mixed martial arts clash at ONE: HEAVY HITTERS on Friday, 14 January.
The 27-year-old protege of MMA legend Khabib Nurmagomedov got the head and arm triangle choke at 2:17 of round two, thrilling fans inside the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
It wasn’t an easy victory, though, as Nakashima turned the bout into a virtual striking contest for most of the first round. The American casually came forward, leading in with his jab-hook combinations while occasionally throwing leg kicks as Izagakhmaev looked to counter.
Nakashima continued to pressure midway through the round, occasionally landing big shots, including a big overhand left hand. The Russian fired back with a head kick and a solid jab, before ducking under Nakashima’s left hand and landing a double-leg takedown with less than a minute to go.
Izagakhmaev put that time to good use, as he rained down short punches from the top position but then lost a choke attempt as the bell rang.
However, the Academy MMA star looked just as strong in the second stanza. With Nakashima once again aggressively coming forward, Izagakhmaev timed a double-leg takedown and confidently took his man’s back.
Not even Nakashima’s United States collegiate wrestling experience could save him, as the Dagestani star slammed him to the mat, secured his legs around the hips, and got to full mount.
From there, Izagakhmaev picked his shots, landing three solid punches before mixing his attack by going to the body and dropping an elbow. The finish came as he wrapped his arms around Nakashima’s neck and then turned into side control to fully execute the choke.
Nakashima had no choice but to tap, as Izagakhmaev improved to 20-2 in his MMA career and nabbed his 13th submission victory.
After the match, Izagakhmaev wasted no time in asking for another fight while casually calling out former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki and MMA legend Eddie “The Underground King” Alvarez.