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BRAVE CF 64 results: Roman Bogatov crowned new featherweight champion with razor-thin split decision

Bogatov edges out a previously undefeated Tae Kyun Kim to take home the title in Bahrain.
roman-bogatov

BRAVE CF 64 proved why glory and honor is not easy to come by as Russia's Roman Bogatov (13-1) put on an absolute dogged performance to eventually be crowned the new BRAVE CF featherweight champion of the world. From round one, the Russian absorbed the electric power and lightning-quick transitioning from South Korea's Tae Kyun Kim (9-1) to grind out a hard-fought split-decision win at the Khalifa Sports City Arena in Isa Town, Bahrain.

Kim was the front-runner for the majority of the fight as he did his best to keep the fight standing, lighting up Bogatov with a beautifully timed jab. When the South Korean got taken down, he showed his high-level judo and overall submission skills that came so quick, it often left fans and commentators reeling two seconds behind, processing the South Korean's transitions.

It seemed to be game-over by the second round as Bogatov's body language revealed a tired, worn-out athlete. But the Russian just refused to quit and continued unleashing takedown after takedown. At one point he produced a handful of single-leg takedowns in efforts of diffusing the striking of Kim, slowly turning the tide. As the fight drew closer to the final and championship rounds, both athletes seemed to be suffering from fatigue under the bright BRAVE CF lights. However, Bogatov seemed to be handling the adversity a bit better as he dug deep and found energy to continue implementing a wrestling-strong game by getting Kim on his back before going to work with his ground-and-pound which eventually saw him get the win.

"I have waited for this moment for a very, very long time," Bogatov said. "I have faced so many issues to be here today. I had to leave my country and my family. For a long time I was without money also. I really deserve this.

"Thank you to my mom, dad, wife and kids, thank you to all who supported me, especially the people of Kyrgyzstan and Russia. To the BRAVE CF President, Mohammed 'The Hawk' Shahid, I am very grateful. Thank you. I would like to represent KHK Team Bahrain."

The previously-planned co-main event between the No. 5-ranked BRAVE CF bantamweight, South Africa's Nkosi Ndebele, and Lativa's Matiss Zaharovs was unfortunately called off due to Zaharovs being medically unfit to fight. That opened the door for the super welterweights, South Africa's Brendan Lesar (3-3) and Bahrain's Zagid Gaidarov (3-1), who were given the responsibility of warming up the cage for the BRAVE CF main event, and boy, did they deliver, producing the first and only finish of the night as Gaidarov beat Lesar via rear-naked choke in the second round.

For as long as the bout lasted, Lesar struggled to find his range as he unleashed heavy overhand rights and lefts accompanied by leg kicks that paid little dividends. Gaidarov took advantage of this and used his great timing to secure two significant takedowns. The first takedown came close to the end of the first round. Due to the little time left in the first five minutes, Gaidarov could not implement much damage as he sat in half guard while Lesar tried to escape before the buzzer went. Early in the second round, Lesar adopted an immediate aggressive approach with leg kicks and a powerful overhand right that failed to land, in that moment, Gaidarov found an opening and took Lesar down before transitioning to his back. He then locked in his hooks in before taking Lesar's neck, cranking up the pressure and forcing Lesar to tap.

The second fight of the four-fight card saw No. 5-ranked middleweight, Russia's Abusupyan Alikhanov (14-3), beat the electric South African, Mzwandile Hlongwa (6-3), via unanimous decision in a three-round grappling and wrestling clinic. It is no secret that Hlongwa's bread and butter is the stand-up game, and outside of two moments where he seemed to rock his opponent, he struggled to diffuse the wrestling prowess of his Russian opponent who reminded BRAVE Nation why he is at the top of the 185-pound division.

Alikhanov showcased his proficient mindset, waiting patiently before implementing huge takedowns over the course of three rounds before getting to work and initiating a ground-and-pound over Hlongwa. Hlongwa has shown a vast improvement in his wrestling defense as he avoided lots of damage from the bottom and even managed to transition to escape top control from Alikhanov, it was, however, not enough to win the fight.

In the opening and only amateur fight of the night, Burkina Faso's Israel Mano and France's Remy Serge put on a taekwondo-esque display as both athletes released vicious kick attacks to the bodies of their opponents during their three-round fight. It was Mano who started shifting gears, taking the lead with a high-volume attack that included effective strikes to the body and head of Serge who seemed to fatigue from round two with his mouth wide open and his hands dropped to his chest.

The fight went three rounds with Mano eventually getting his hand raised via unanimous decision, as Burkina Faso became the 80th nation to be represented in the BRAVE CF cage, yet another huge milestone for the fastest-growing MMA promotion in the world. 

Following today's event, "BRAVE CF 65: Rumble in the Kingdom" takes place this Friday, October 28, concluding the epic nine-day Kombat Kingdom festival. For more information on BRAVE CF's Kombat Kingdom series, visit BRAVECF.com.

BRAVE CF 64 results include:

  • Roman Bogatov def. Tae Kyun Kim via split decision (48-47, 46-49, 48-47) – to claim vacant featherweight title
  • Zagid Gaidarov def. Brendan Lesar via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 1:24
  • Abusupyan Alikhanov def. Mzwandile Hlongwa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Israel Mano def. Remy Serge via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)