Srinagar: A young Kashmiri Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter has created history by becoming the first Indian athlete to receive training from renowned world champions, Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Twenty-five-year-old Yaqoob Owais Yaqoob, a resident of Murran, Pulwama, is the first MMA fighter from Kashmir to qualify for the Matrix Fight Night (MFN) championship.
Owais, who has set his sights on entering the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has enrolled himself in the Nurmegomadov School in Russia, where he is receiving training from Makhachev and Khabib.
“It is a fight camp. Islam Makhachev will be my coach. He will train me for the next two months,” he told Kashmir Monitor.
In October, Owais will be competing in the Matrix Fight Night. “I am preparing for the MFN championship. MMA fighters in Russia are renowned for their style and professionalism. I am hopeful to learn a lot from these world champions,” he said.
Terming his entry into Nurmegomadov School as a great opportunity, Owais said this experience would help him in the long run to achieve his goal.
“I can’t explain how lucky I am to be enrolled in Nurmegomadov School. I will learn valuable lessons from the champions, which I can utilize while dealing with opponents throughout my career,” he said.
Islam and Khabib are revered in UFC. Both MMA fighters from Dagestan, Russia, are known for their technique, skill, and power. Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov rely on their elite grappling prowess backed by their combat sambo background inside the UFC Octagon.
Soon after meeting Islam, Owais posted a picture and video of him on social media, which received a lot of love and praise from MMA fans across the world.
In the video, Islam is seen interacting and shaking hands with Owais. “Well done brother. Keep focusing and never forget your roots and the place you come from. Much more to come,” commented an Instagram user Uzaie Sajad.
Until 2018, Owais was a professional Taekwondo athlete. After watching a fight with Khabib, he decided to switch to MMA.
Owais has won 17 gold medals in martial arts and is a three-time MMA national champion.
He has also established Lion’s Den Martial Arts Academy in Pulwama, where 40 youth receive training for MMA.
Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a full-contact combat sport that allows a wide range of fighting techniques from various martial arts and combat sports. It is often referred to as “cage fighting” due to its popular association with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), which uses an octagon-shaped cage as the fighting area.
In MMA, fighters use a combination of striking techniques (punches, kicks, knees, and elbows) and grappling techniques (wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, judo, etc.) to engage their opponents. The sport emphasizes the idea of versatility, where competitors are encouraged to be proficient in multiple disciplines to be successful.
The rules of MMA can vary depending on the promotion or organization, but certain techniques are generally prohibited to ensure the safety of the fighters. Examples of prohibited moves include eye-gouging, strikes to the back of the head, biting, groin strikes, and strikes to the throat. There are also specific rules for ground fighting, such as no striking to the head of a grounded opponent.
MMA competitions are typically organized in rounds, with each round lasting a set amount of time (usually 3 to 5 minutes). Fights can be won via knockout (when an opponent is unable to continue due to strikes), submission (when an opponent taps out in response to a joint lock or choke), or judges’ decision based on scoring rounds.
Over the years, MMA has grown in popularity and evolved into a well-regulated professional sport. Many fighters come from diverse martial arts backgrounds, and the sport continues to attract athletes from various disciplines, making it a dynamic and compelling form of combat sports entertainment.