Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"
With local events starting to pick back up in the New England area, lest we forget about our fighters taking pilgrimage in the Las Vegas desert this summer on Season 29 of The Ultimate Fighter. While New England's Bantamweight hopeful and Team (Alexander "The Great") Volkanovski first overall pick Mitch Raposo (5-0) suffered an upsetting Unanimous Decision loss to Liudvik Sholinian (9-1-1) in the opening bout of Season 29, New England still has Kemran Lachinov (10-3) to hang their hopes on. The last pick by Team (Brian "T-City") Ortega, Springfield, Massachusetts' Lachinov (Team Link), has something to prove to the entire world when he puts it all on the line this week (Tuesday 9pm Eastern on ESPN+) against South Carolina's Bryan "Pooh Bear" Battle (5-1).
Competing for most of his professional career as a Welterweight most predominately under the Ballator MMA banner (5-1, Bellator), what Kemran Lachinov will give up in size he will make up in his willingness to die in defense of his craft. Lachinov has made it well known to the media that he is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in his push for greatness, perhaps no one truly loves the fight quite the way Lachinov does. Lachinov showed his level of intensity most notably in his fight with Kyle Crutchmer (6-0) at Bellator 249, dropping his hands and eating some power shots to the chin from Crutchmer and walking right through them on his way to a Unanimous Decision victory over the formally undefeated prospect. If nothing else Kemran Lachinov deserves his shot on The Ultimate Fighter just based on his his approach to the fight game, and his 10-3 record probably didn't hurt his case either.
His opponent this Tuesday night will be the lengthy 6'2" natural Middleweight Bryan Battle (5-1), who has amassed five wins, four by stoppage, in just over 2 years as a professional. However, as a professional, Battle hasn't faced anyone close to Lachinov's level of experience, some of his Amateur wins DO appear notable; A decision win over Impa Kasanganay and a Split-Decision over Cody Brundage. Both Kasanganay and Brundage would go on to fight on Dana White's Contender Series during their careers, with Kasanganay going on to amass a 2-1 record with the UFC. There is no doubt that this is a tough matchup for the 5'9" Lachinov based on size alone, Battle is a big Middleweight, and Lachinov is better positioned at Welterweight, but if anyone can stare adversity straight in the eye without blinking its "The Turkish Zombie" Kemran Lachinov.
New England MMA fans and MMA fans across the globe can watch Kemran Lachinov represent New England MMA tonight at 9pm Eastern on ESPN+ streaming on your favorite smart device.