Bellator 277 Winner Dovletzhan Yagshimuradov Thanks Those Who Helped Family Flee Ukraine

San Jose, CA — Dovletzhan Yagshimuradov was one of the big winners on the Bellator 277 preliminary card in San Jose.

Coming into the fight, however, there were concerns far greater than fighting weighing on Yagshimuradov, a light heavyweight from Turkmenistan who had been living and fighting out of Ukraine.

“The last two fights haven’t went too well for me, but again, I had a lot of emotions going into this fight,” Yagshimuradov (19-7-1) told media outlets including Cageside Press following a TKO win over Rafael Carvalho at the SAP Center on Friday. “As you guys know, I live in Ukraine. I’m not a citizen of Ukraine, but I have a lot of ties to it. We all know what’s going on; I can’t really speak about it publicly, but there was a lot of emotions going into this fight.”

Ukraine was invaded by Russian forces over a month ago, with war continuing to ravage the European nation. Millions of Ukrainians have been displaced, Yagshimuradov’s family among them.

“I had to tune out all the emotions and just strictly focus on this fight. My family isn’t there, I want to thank everybody who helped me get my family out there to Turkey, they’re watching over them, and I’m very thankful for everything.”

In terms of the stoppage, which came with a smashing elbow on the ground in the second round, Yagshimuradov said that the plan had been to go longer — but his mother had other ideas. “That was the game plan. My coaches, my sparring partners also told me to do it,” he said of the elbow. “We wanted to go to the third round, but fortunately we finished the fight early. My mom said not to go past the second round.”

Having secured his first win in Bellator, the 32-year old is now looking ahead, and aims to stay busy.

“Going forward, there’s a lot of good names, a lot of [big] names in the light heavyweight division. [Anthony] Johnson, Yoel Romero is definitely one of the big names. First of all, for my [next] fight in Bellator, I want to come back to my rematch with Karl Albrektsson. But moving forward, there’s a lot of [big] names that I want to get into. And if I can get fights more than once [every] half a year, I don’t know what the reason is for that, hopefully Bellator will give me more fights moving forward.”

Watch the full Bellator 277 post-fight press scrum with Dovletzhan Yagshimuradov above.