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Alibeg Rasulov Talks Long Road To Global Stage Ahead Of ONE Fight Night 23 Title Chance

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Unbeaten Russian star Alibeg Rasulov has a chance to have an impactful ONE Championship debut on Friday, July 5. At ONE Fight Night 23, Rasulov will compete for the ONE Interim Lightweight MMA World Title against Ok Rae Yoon. His journey to the global stage had its humble beginnings on the mats and fields as Rasulov grew up playing sports of all kinds.

Rasulov on OK Fight: “My goal here is to become champion”

“As a child, I chose the right way: do wrestling. I did freestyle wrestling for a long time. I also played football at school. In general, I had a sporty childhood,” Rasulov told ONE.

Although Rasulov grew up wrestling, he knew he needed to round out his skill set if he wanted to compete at a high level. Early in his training, Rasulov decided to work on his striking skills by competing in Muay Thai. The sport even had more crossover benefits due to the clinch work, allowing Rasulov to better understand and excel on the feet.

“I initially wanted to switch to MMA. But I already had wrestling skills and wanted to improve at stand-up. So I decided to enter Muay Thai. Muay Thai for me is a good sport: clinching, elbow strikes, knee strikes – everything MMA requires, so this was a good link,” the Russian remarked.

Driven by his desire to compete in MMA, Rasulov quickly made the transition to professional MMA. He did not waste time attacking his goals. After finding success in his debut, he knew he made the right decision.

“It was after school when I decided to do it professionally, after freestyle wrestling. The decision came on its own. Then I had my professional debut around 11 years ago and realized it was my way,” Rasulov stated.

But his career was not smooth sailing from the start. As an unbeaten prospect, he found it difficult to find opponents. The lull in his career led to a significant change that would set him up for future success.

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Rasulov would move to Turkey. The Russian athlete joined Hyperion Fighters, elevated his game in the gym, and started finding more matches to become active again. From there, the wins kept piling up.

“I was offered fights, I agreed, but they couldn’t find an opponent for me for two years. It was very difficult. It was hard to motivate myself, but I kept training and preparing. I continued to hope, and it has finally borne fruit,” the Turkey-based athlete said.

Now, Rasulov has joined ONE. In a bout of fate, the 31-year-old has a golden opportunity against a former World Champion to claim gold in his promotional debut. ONE Fight Night 23 gives him the chance to instantly sit on the lightweight throne and become a global superstar.

“When I was signed to ONE Championship, I was happy to know I would fight the best fighters in the world. My goal here is to become a champion and show beautiful fights. I wish for my opponent to stay in good form so that we can show a spectacular fight. Every athlete prepares for a fight for a very long time, and he wants this fight to be remembered for life,” Rasulov remarked.

ONE Fight Night 23: Ok vs. Rasulov airs live on Friday, July 5. The action begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. The event is free for all Prime Video subscribers based in the U.S. and Canada.

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Jeremy Brand is an experienced MMA writer and columnist. He is the founder of, and has represented the company with media credentials at many mixed martial arts fights. Jeremy is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, training in BC, Canada.