From now on, we'll be bringing interviews with some of the top up-and-coming MMA fighters from all around the globe, as part of LowKick.com Top Talent Spotlight project. Here's the first interview in the series - Alexander "The Tiger" Sarnavskiy.
At the age of 22, Alexander “The Tiger” Sarnavskiy is one of the most promising fighters in the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Holding a professional record of 15-0 with 5 KO/TKO and 8 Submission victories, Sarnavskiy, who is considered by many as the best Lightweight in Europe, is well-known for his well-rounded game and a style that leaves his opponent no room for mistakes inside the ring or cage.
The Tiger started his career three years ago (on December 12th), defeating Rishat Gilmitdinov via Triangle Choke in Round 1. The Tiger fought four times the following year, as part of what was slowly becoming a professional fighting career.
“Psychologically, I think my first fight was the toughest,” revealed Alexander Sarnavskiy. “It’s when you really understand what professional MMA is all about, and how hard it is to get a victory. I was lucky to have my coach around during that fight. He really motivated me, which eventually helped to overcome this obstacle.”
Sarnavskiy trains alongside the two-time Bellator Middleweight Tournament Winner Alexander “Storm” Shlemenko, in a camp that already produced a solid number of top tier talent. Shlemenko plays a very important role in Sarnavskiy’s career, both as a friend and a training partner. The Tiger considers "Storm" a mentor, claiming that he is the one who helps his career to move in the right direction.
”I’m involved in martial arts since the age of 12,” said Sarnavskiy. “My first coach was Vladimir Sborovskiy. After he passed away, I started to train with Alexander Shlemenko, who is now my coach to everything related to MMA. He shares his experience, so we would not make the mistakes he did in his early career.”
When talking about the future of his MMA career, Alexander Sarnavskiy has a very clear vision – to become the best Lightweight on the planet. “I think I have every chance to become the best Lightweight on the planet,” he said. “I have the perfect conditions to be a successful fighter; with great training partners, camp and management. Each fight I’m trying to prove I’m the best at what I do.”
Still, Sarnavskiy considers the reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar as “currently the best”, labeling his well-roundness and the ability to move unlike any other fighter inside the Octagon. Also, despite his ambitions, Sarnavskiy is under no illusion regarding what he has to do in order to achieve his goals.
Russian fighters are often struggling to conquer the hearts of U.S. audience, but for Sarnavskiy, it’s all about working hard day by day. “I have the strength to become a popular fighter,” stated Sarnavskiy, “It all depends on me. I’m still a young fighter and there’s still a plenty of room for improvement.”
Just one week after Fedor Emelianenko’s victory over Jeff Monson, it’s hard not to think about the future of Mixed Martial Arts in Russia. Sarnavskiy can be easily related to the new breed of Russian MMA fighters, a second generation after the likes of Oleg Taktarov, Igor Vovchanchyn and Fedor Emelianenko. Sarnavskiy still has a long way to go before he reaches the legendary status of the mentioned above fighters. But one thing is true "The Tiger" shows all the signs of developing into a top-tier fighter.