By Caoilte de Barra
On Friday February 12th, two former IMMAF competitors will feature on UFC Fight Pass across two separate events. Darian Weeks (4-0) will be hoping to remain undefeated at LFA 99 while Muhammadjon Naimov (5-1) is looking to capture the featherweight title on Titan FC 67.
Muhammadjon Naimov was the sole representative for Tajikistan at the 2016 IMMAF World Championships. Naimov was unable to get past the quarter finals, losing to eventual tournament winner, Shoaib Yousaf, England. Although, he was impressive in the round of 16 when he finished Italy’s Antonio Lerose.
Following the IMMAF World Championships, Naimov went on to win five fights within a year as an amateur. In 2018 Naimov won his pro debut by way of a referee stoppage and not long after signed a contract with Titan FC, where he has fought for the majority of his pro career to date. After finishing three of his four Titan FC bouts, Naimov earned a spot on Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) with his eyes on winning a UFC contract.
Just over four years on from his IMMAF World Championship debut, Naimov was outpointed by UFC contract winner Collin Anglin on DWCS. The 26-year-old is now hoping to return to winning ways by securing the Titan FC featherweight championship against Olivier Murad.
Over in Park City, Kansas, the undefeated American, Darian Weeks will make his Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) debut against Bellator MMA veteran Craig Fairley. As an amateur, Weeks was regularly seen across IMMAF competitions between 2017 & 2018.
The exceptional rise of the Missouri fighter could see him reach new highs this coming year. Three victories in as many days saw him win the 2017 UMMAF National Championship Tournament as a middleweight, before representing the U.S. at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships.
A highly motivated Weeks returned to IMMAF competition in 2018 with a certain poise about him as he dropped down a weight class. Fighting at Welterweight, he won the IMMAF Oceania Open Championships to set him up for a spot in the World Championships.
The US representative made a statement in his opening bout of the competition by finishing Shadi Morjan in the first round. His next fight turned out to be his last as an amateur, though, as Weeks bowed out of the tournament on a loss.
Having spent most of his amateur career fighting in IMMAF competition, Weeks’ alluded to this experience being pivotal in his transition to the pro game.
“I’ll always be grateful for my time as a competitor under the IMMAF banner. Consistently competing against high-level athletes from around the world helped prepare me for when I transitioned to the pro game. A lot of my success as a professional is because I’ve always embraced the toughest challenges in the cage, and the IMMAF provided me many opportunities to test my skills against world-class competition.”
The fight IQ from competing at a high level as an amateur has been apparent from the beginning of his pro career. Mature, high-level performances have seen Weeks go 4-0 as a pro in MMA along with a sole pro boxing victory. Each display has seen Weeks improve with a new task awaiting him on LFA 99 as he looks to continue his rise.
Both fights can be watched around the world live on UFC Fight Pass.