By Jake Smith
Four Kazakhstan IMMAF Alumni feature on tonight’s Octagon 21 card; including a former Asian open champion.
As Zhan Kenzhebayev showed throughout his amateur tenure, Kenzhebayev is not afraid of facing vastly more experienced opponents. This form appears to be continuing in his professional journey, as in only his second professional bout, he faces 5-1-0 Kodirhon Ganiev.
Kenzhebayev was a regular feature at IMMAF competitions from 2017-2019, competing in 4 tournaments. His primary IMMAF outing would prove to be his most successful, when he walked away with the 2017 IMMAF Asian Open Welterweight Championship title. He had an extremely difficult introduction to the amateur scene, facing the experienced Jace Law in the opening round of the tournament. Kenzhebayev grinded out a well-deserved, unanimous decision victory and proceeded to the next day of the tournament. Two more impressive victories against Radek Dusil and Axel Karlsson, Kenzhebayev had made the finals at the first time of asking.
In the final, he faced fellow IMMAF debutant, Alex Sadovski. Kenzhebayev navigated his way through the first round and won the gold medal with a second round stoppage.
Kenzhebayev next appeared on the IMMAF platform at the 2017 World Championships, making it all the way to the quarter-finals before Issa Isakov served him his first loss as an amateur. Looking to return to winning ways, Kenzhebayev returned to the cage at the 2019 IMMAF WMMAA Asian Open. Unfortunately for him, he crashed out of the competition on the opening day, losing to Talor Wetere by way of split decision. His final IMMAF appearance came at the 2019 Amateur World Championships, where he was beaten by tournament bronze medalist Islam Bagomedov on the second day of the tournament.
Submission specialist Gani Adilserik will be looking to continue his perfect run in the professional ranks with a victory over Sultanbek Orozmamat Uulu.
In his first tournament, 2018 IMMAF Junior World Championships, Adilserik came up short against Shamil Bakhachaliev and exited the tournament on the first day of competition. After almost a year to the day away from competing, Adilserik was back at the IMMAF-WMMAA: Amateur World Championships 2019. In his first bout, the Kazakhstan native pulled off one of the shocks of the tournament when he defeated, then 9-1, Flyweight Muhidin Abubakar by unanimous decision. The second bout was a much quicker affair for Adilserik, dispatching of Irishman Gary Rooney in just 50 seconds. His third bout, which proved to be his last of the tournament, Adilserik handed Murat Ibrahimov his first defeat as an amateur, securing a round 2 submission.
Adilserik turned pro in October 2020, simultaneously making his first appearance under the Octagon banner when he faced Dinmukhamed Turakov at Octagon 14. Showing his slick ground work, Adilserik made his professional debut a short one, submitting Turakov in the first round.
He etched himself another mark in the win column at Octagon 17; where he caught the second armbar victory of his professional career against Bakhodir Askerov. Keen to continue his prolific form, Adilserik returned to the cage only 2 months later. He faced Shakhzod Dzhurakulov. And continuing his prolific form, he did; ending the bout via rear naked choke in the first round.
Majit Sardarov is another that will be keen to add to his perfect start to professional life against Amantur Jenishbekov.
Saradarov’s game appears much more suited to the professional game, having finished both of his opponents by Dulat Seydakbar and Uais Merey by way of Gulliotine choke and punches, respectively.
His IMMAF tenure was somewhat disjointed. He featured at both the 2019 World Championships and 2019 Asian Open, but failed to get past the second day in both competitions.
Makhir Aliev faces Muhriddin Alimov in a Welterweight clash, in what will be Aliev’s promotional debut. Having amassed a 2-1 record, Alimov will be hoping that a victory can add some constant form to his professional run.
Aliev’s sole appearance at an IMMAF show was at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships, after a comfortable second round KO over Nikolay Nikolov, Aliev was beaten by IMMAF veteran and 2017 World silver medalist, Sola Axel on the second day.