Alexander ‘The Tiger’ Sarnavskiy: Russia’s lightweight beast hits Showtime

Considered as one of the most promising young fighters coming out of Russia, Alexander ‘The Tiger’ Sarnavskiy is living up to his hype; with an unblemished 12-0 record, this highly talented lightweight will look to continue his winning ways at M-1 Challenge: Damkovsky vs. Figueroa where he faces the always scrappy Josh ‘Iron Heart’ Bacallao. Fans can catch the rising phenom make his North American debut LIVE on SHOWTIME on Friday, March 25 at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

At only 22 years old, Sarnavskiy brings a veteran’s experience to his game with thanks coming from his team, RusFighters Sports Club in St. Petersburg, and his mentorship from middleweight ace Alexander Shlemenko. The ‘Tiger’ knows how to finish his fights with precision striking which has earned him five victories by TKO/KO, making this element of his game to be considered his most dangerous attribute. On the flip side of the coin, he’s also demonstrated a strong submission game, favouring the triangle and rear naked chokes, which have also earned him another five “W’s”. Having only required the judges to decide the outcome twice in his career, he holds wins over European notables Maratbek Kalabekov, Karen Grigorian and Maxim Kuptsov; Sarnavskiy is clearly establishing himself as one of the world’s great fighters in the 155lb division.

Walking away victorious in his first two bouts in the 2010 M-1 Selection – Eastern European tournament, Sarnavskiy was set to advance to the Finals but was forced to withdraw just days before the clash with current promotion champion Artiom Damkovsky due to an illness; but his potential certainly didn’t go unnoticed. ‘The Tiger’ was given an opportunity to climb the lightweight contention ladder with a bout against Victor Kuku on the larger M-1 Challenge stage.

In his bout against Kuku, the talented rising star showed why he’s considered one of Europe’s most dangerous lightweight fighters by unleashing a devastating spinning back-fist that knocked out Kuku in epic fashion, ending the anticipated bout in only 14 seconds and marking it as one of 2010’s greatest MMA knock-outs. With the victory, Sarnavskiy maintained perfection as a professional fighter and drew light to his position as one of RusFighters Sports Club’s marquee fighters alongside teammate Alexander Schlemenko.

Coming away unscathed, Sarnavskiy was quickly added to M-1’s sophomore Challenge event of 2010 and faced Arsen Ubaidulaev. Viewed as heavy favourite coming into the fight, Sarnavskiy again delivered with a glorious standing guillotine choke inside the opening minute.

Seeming to be handle the pressure of being undefeated, Sarnavskiy will be aiming to make the most of his trip across the Atlantic and deliver a jaw-dropping impression on the North American fan base that is quickly paying attention to the ‘Tiger’s’ antics and athleticism.

M-1 Challenge: Damkovsky vs. Figueroa airs LIVE on SHOWTIME on Friday, March 25 at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

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Link to Sarnavskiy vs. Kuku: