The finals of the Student MMA League came to an end in St. Petersburg [MMA – mixed martial arts –Ed.]. Some 12 sportsmen from eight universities of St. Petersburg competed for the MMA Belt in the Nova Arena sports center. 

When entering one of sports halls of the Nova Arena where the competition took part, the visitors could see three zones – a boxing ring which was waiting for competitors, a scene for special guests who presented their performances and an area for the GTO [“Gotov k Trudu i Oborone” – Ready for Labour and Defence is a health and strength training program aiming at popularizing sports activities –Ed.], which attracted many visitors. Both experienced sportsmen and those who never did any sports tried themselves in pull-ups, long-jumps, push-ups, squatting, bending and kettlebell exercises. 

 Nova Arena sports center

The opening ceremony started with greetings by Vyacheslav Kiselev, Vice President of the MMA Federation of St. Petersburg and Igor Popov, Vice Rector of the State University of Aerospace Instrumentation, which was one of organizers of the competition. Then the visitors enjoyed cheerleading shows by student teams of several universities of St. Petersburg and a performance by D.masta rap singer.

It was decided that ITMO sportsmen would compete in the red corner – Shakhruramzan Galipov was the first participant of ITMO team who competed that day. He competed in the featherweight class (65.8 kg). Having defeated Igor Ilyin, a representative of St. Petersburg Mining University, Shakhruramzan Galipov placed 3rd.

Several famous sportsmen and public persons participated in the award ceremony – Mikhail Mokhnatkin, champion in combat sambo, Natalia Vorobiova, Olympiс champion in freestyle wrestling, Vladimir Semenov, Olympiс champion in mixed martial arts and other famous representatives of martial arts gave medals and congratulated the winners. Murad Khaibulaev became the second ITMO sportsmen who gain a medal – he placed 1st in the bantamweight division (61,2 kg). Artur Aliev also took the first prize; his weight class is 70.3 kg. Professional boxer Rostislav Plechko gave Mr. Aliev the award.

Ibragim Ibragimov, ITMO sportsman and Master’s student at the Department of Computer System Design and Security, took part in one of the longest and hardest fights – he competed in the middleweight (84 kg) – his competition had taken two rounds before he won. Mr. Ibragimov talked about how to combine sport and studies.

“Studying and sport don’t hinder each other – they both help me, as at university I train my brain and then go to the gym to train my body. I have sport trainings twice a day – one in the morning, another in the evening. It is not a problem for me to study and be a sportsman at the same time. This victory made ITMO sports team the best in St. Petersburg. Now we have been given the belt and then we will compete with sportsmen from Moscow,” says Ibragim Ibragimov.

When Ibragim Ibragimov, the captain of the team, won , it became clear that ITMO sportsmen would become the first. According to Mr. Ibragimov, individual points of all the members of a team contribute to the total score. After the third fight, ITMO team had as many points as they needed to become champions. The last fight wasn’t successful for ITMO – Emil Gasanov, who competed with a representative of the Military Academy for Logistics in the light heavyweight division, didn’t manage to win.

The sports team of ITMO Univeristy 

Greeted by fans, ITMO sportsmen were awarded with the MMA Belt given by Andrey Semenov, European and World champion in MMA as well as Sport and Youth Policy Advisor to the Governor of St. Petersburg. The winners also received special prizes by partnering organizations and gave interviews to sport journalists.