In a highly anticipated mixed martial arts debut, former GLORY Kickboxing light heavyweight champion Artem Vakhitov faced an unfortunate turn of events. Known as the last man to defeat ex-UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira in kickboxing, Vakhitov stepped into the cage for a main event clash with Ashraf Bashandy at Open FC 31 in Shergesh, Russia. However, his debut did not go according to plan.
Just one minute into the matchup, Bashandy had Vakhitov pressed against the cage wall and executed a guard pull, bringing Vakhitov down on top of him. Unfortunately, during the impact, Vakhitov appeared to injure his elbow, prompting him to call for the referee’s attention and ultimately resulting in the fight being stopped at the 55-second mark.
The MMA debut of the former GLORY Light Heavyweight champion was cut short due to an unexpected elbow injury, leaving fans and Vakhitov disappointed. However, it’s worth noting that even the renowned Alex Pereira, who defeated Vakhitov in kickboxing, experienced a loss in his own MMA debut, succumbing to a RNC in the third round.
Artem Vakhitov’s career in GLORY Kickboxing showcased his exceptional skills, with an impressive record of 5-1 and a reign as the light heavyweight champion. He defended his title five times before relinquishing it to Alex Pereira in 2021. However, Vakhitov sought redemption and regained the title eight months later in a closely contested majority decision victory over Pereira.
Following this loss, Vakhitov made the bold decision to transition to mixed martial arts, venturing into a new chapter of his combat sports journey. Despite the setback in his debut, Vakhitov remains determined to make a mark in the MMA world, drawing inspiration from the fact that even his rival Alex Pereira faced defeat in his own first MMA fight.
As Vakhitov looks ahead to the future, he aims to generate similar success in MMA as he did in kickboxing. While his debut may not have gone as planned, Vakhitov’s talent and determination suggest that he has the potential to bounce back and make his mark in the world of mixed martial arts. Fans eagerly await his next appearance in the cage, anticipating his display of skill and resilience.