Bozigit Ataev notched a big win to kick off his 2019 season at PFL 3. Afterward, he explained what makes the PFL such a special place to fight.
Uniondale, NY – Bozigit Ataev opened up PFL 3 2019 in a big way with a first-round knockout against Dan Spohn. It earned the Russian veteran six valuable points in the light heavyweight standings and avenged a 2018 loss as well.
“I’m really happy to get the six points. If you guys remember last season, my fight was first in the season, same as this time. I was fighting the same guy and winning the whole fight, then in the third round, I lost control for a second and he connected with a punch and I was out for a second. So I lost to that guy and I was craving for revenge and I’m glad it happened. I got this guy in the first five, finished him in the first round, and got six points.”
Ataev is part of a slew of Dagestani fighters on the PFL roster. The country breeds a special type of mixed martial artist, and Ataev proudly represents his nation when stepping in the cage.
“I’m very proud to be a Dagestani. To represent Dagestan in an international arena, I’m very glad that PFL gave this opportunity for me, for other guys, the young guys. In Russia, in Dagestan, we don’t have the top-level organizations and the guys cannot introduce themselves to the world. I’m very happy, I’m very glad, and very grateful to PFL that they sign our guys, our young guys, and me as well because I am 39-years-old and very blessed to get this opportunity to represent my country, my republic, my school, my teachers, my coaches. I am very happy.”
The 2018 season was all about shaking out the cobwebs for Ataev. He was coming off an 11-year layoff prior to last season, which would make it tough for anyone to succeed. He still was a force to be reckoned with last season, but not to the degree he will be this year.
“I think I am the one who will win the belt this year. I am feeling confident, same as last year. But before last year, I hadn’t fought for 11 years in top organizations. I had a lack of experience, so I made a couple of minor mistakes and I lost that opportunity. But this time I am confident and I will win this belt because I am hungry for it.”
Bozigit Ataev has been around MMA for a long time and has seen it all. PFL, though, in his mind, is a special organization.
“The biggest difference from PFL to RINGS, PRIDE, whatever was back in the days, the biggest difference is that the fighters now have the biggest motivation in their life: to get the million dollars. Because all the time you’re fighting for a couple grand, and it’s not enough for a living. And the professionalization. You have the scores and you have to finish every fight in the first round so that you get more points and get to the playoffs and finals as soon as possible. That is the biggest difference. Along with the motivation to get a million dollars.”