By Tudor Leonte
Tagir Machmudov was the second athlete to take home a gold medal for the Czech Republic, a few minutes after his countryman, Patrik Kutil, gained the first one in IMMAF history.
Machmudov has been living in the Czech Republic for 11 years after his family moved there from Dagestan. Eventually, the Dagestani-born athlete opted to represent his new country since he spent more than half of his life in Prague. Ahead of finals, Machmudov confessed he felt pretty relaxed.
“I was feeling great. I had a good sleep and a good breakfast, and I was making jokes with my coaches. The atmosphere was very relaxed and chilled. I did my job, and everything was good.”
The path to the finals was pretty straightforward for Machmudov, who dispatched all his opponents inside the distance. First, the Czech Republic standout submitted Ireland’s Marco Cardillo in 40 seconds before forcing Yevhenii Tsymbal to tap to a rear-naked choke and Gabriele Molinari to an arm-triangle choke.
“I wasn’t expecting to finish those three fights. I submitted my first opponent via first-round armbar, and I told my coach that I wasn’t expecting that because I don’t drill armbars. He answered that I don’t have to expect anything in the fight, so when there’s an opportunity to finish, I have to grab it. In the other two fights, I saw an opportunity and grabbed it. I think my three finishes are good. Tsymbal was the hardest fight of those three. I expected to meet him in the finals, but it didn’t go that way.”
Machmudov didn’t break a sweat in his final fight as he overcame Italian finalist Molinari in 41 seconds. The finish came after Machmudov jumped into the full-mount position after a successful takedown. Once there, it was just a matter of seconds before Molinari tapped.
“I didn’t expect that he would tap, you know? I wanted to move to another position, but then I heard him struggling to catch his breath. I pushed a little bit more, and he tapped. I was surprised.”
Before his final clash, current Ultimate Fighting Championship 205-pound titleholder Jiri Prochazka shared a few words on his social network to encourage his fellow countrymen to fare well in the finals. The message was well received by Machmudov, who wanted to thank Prochazka for the kind gesture.
“It was unexpected, but I felt really good in my heart. Yuri has many things on his plate. I appreciated that he took some of his time and sent us the message. I sparred with him once. He’s very tough. His fighting style is unique. I don’t think that his opponents can like prepare for him.”
Last but not least, Machmudov wanted to address the generous support he received from his family and friends alike.
“First of all, I want to thank God, my family, and all the friends here and those in Prague. In these three days, I felt the support from them.”
Watch the 2022 IMMAF European Championships live and exclusively from Bella Italia Efa Village in Lignano Sabbiadoro (Italy) from 27 September and 1 October 2022 at immaf.tv.