By Jake Smith
2020 saw many mixed martial artists, from amateur through to elite professional, struggle to stay active. Muhammad Mokaev may have been the exception to this, enjoying a productive 12 months which saw the former two-time IMMAF Jr World Champion take his career to the next level.
After developing his skill set against athletes from all over the globe on the IMMAF scene and becoming one of the biggest prospects in world MMA, Mokaev made the decision to turn professional. Following discussions with many leading global promotions, including Bellator MMA and One Championship, the 20-year-old opted to sign with Brave Combat Federation.
Throughout his tenure competing across several different IMMAF competitions, Mokaev became the #1 ranked Junior in the world & claimed the Oceania Gold prior to turning professional, amongst several other accolades. His success led to him being invited to train with KHK MMA under HH Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa. After clinching his 2nd Jr IMMAF world title in November 2019, the refugee reflected on his humble beginnings, stating: ”five years ago I was cleaning mats to get free membership. Now I’m here, second time world champion.”
11 of 13 of Mokaev’s victories during his time competing in IMMAF competitions came by way of unanimous decision so it came as no surprise when the bantamweight secured his first professional victory with a dominant unanimous decision over fellow debuting pro Glenn McVeigh. Mokaev put any questions firmly to bed regarding how the young prospect’s skills would carry over to the pro leagues.
Over the next four months, Mokaev entered the cage three times; facing Hayden Sherriff, Jamie Kelly & Dave Jones. A sub-minute TKO stoppage against Sherriff, 3rd round rear-naked choke against Kelly; and Jones tapping to strikes, Mokaev continued to silence any doubters while securing a healthy 4-0-0 record to see out the year.
This led to ‘The Punisher’ having his hand raised for the sixth time – His fourth time as a professional plus his previous two at ameatuer – in 2020.
Although only four fights into his professional career, comparisons between Mokaev and UFC lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov are already being made.
Mokaev is the latest to add his name to the long list of top professional talents who spent their development years on the IMMAF platform. We are very much looking forward to seeing how the former IMMAF stand-out flourishes.
By Jake Smith