By challenging Cédric Doumbé at PFL Paris, this Thursday March 7, Baysangur Chamsoudinov has the opportunity to explode for the first time on the international scene. At only 22 years old, “Baki” is making progress to the point of being considered one of the biggest French talents of the new generation. Here are 5 things to know about the French fighter at welterweight (-77kg).

MMA is a combat sport, where fighters from certain regions of the world excel. Brazilians experienced their golden age in the UFC, American wrestlers remain among the best ranks in the world. Since the beginning of the 2010s, Chechnya and Dagestan. “Baki” is a staple of Chechen fighters.

Born in 2001 in the Russian region of Chechnya, more precisely in the town of Ourous-Martan, his family moved to Germany before settling permanently in Haguenau (Bas-Rhin), near Strasbourg. Pushed by his father – a former soldier – into sporting practice, “Baki” believes that the Chechen wars shaped his fighting style. “My father passed on to me this maturity that I have today. He lived through the war. His experience allows me to avoid making mistakes. I do all this to make him proud,” he confided on the set of Clique.

Before establishing himself in MMA, Baysangur studied judo, a sport of apprehension – often criticized by fighters – but which can prove useful once the cage is locked. “Baki” excelled in this martial art, to the point of earning his black belt at just 15 years old. “Baysangur Chamsoudinov is a very good judoka with a very good spirit,” wrote Alsace Nord Judo on its social networks in 2020.

Every MMA fighter has a nickname. Ciryl Gane chose the French surname “Bon Gamin” while Benoît Saint-Denis went international with “God of War” (God of War in French). For Baysangur Chamsoudinov, the inspiration is Japanese. “Manga is a small part of my life,” he told Clique. One manga in particular marked his childhood, to the point of becoming the reason for his nickname: Baki the Grappler.

This manga, a new version of which is available on Netflix, tells the story of a young fighter who wishes to become “the strongest being in the world”. A parallel quickly established by the coaches of the young Baysangur Chamsoudinov, who became “Baki” for the general public.

Before signing with the PFL for his long-awaited duel against Cédric Doumbe, “Baki” rode the welterweight category of the French Ares league. Pampered in the organization managed by Fernand Lopez, also coach of the MMA Factory where Baki trains, the Franco-Chechen fighter has won seven times in four years without ever experiencing a single defeat. Despite its “minor” league status, the Ares is not devoid of sporting interests either. “Baki” won, for example, against Mexican Efrain Escudero, a former UFC fighter between 2008 and 2016.

After the departure to the PFL of Abdoul Abouraguimov, who also fights in the headliner, “Baki” had the opportunity to take the Ares belt by winning his fight against the German Felix Klinkhammer. Unfortunately, the young fighter failed to drop below 77kg on weigh-in day, leading to the fight being cancelled. The Alsatian then signed with the PFL, abandoning the Ares belt to other fighters.

The Frenchman’s performances have not gone unnoticed in the microcosm of combat sports. Footage of his fights at Ares caught the eye of another Chechen fighter: UFC star Khamzat Chimaev. With “Borz”, “Baki” was able to prepare for his last fights by shaping his wrestling, an area in which the “Wolf of Chechnya” excels. “I trained with them for two full months. It allowed me to learn a lot about the wrestling part of MMA but also to shoot (train, editor’s note) with the top of the basket,” confided the Frenchman.

First announced in the French corner this Thursday March 7, Khamzat Chimaev has not officially confirmed.