Former Bellator prospect Rasul Mirzaev returned to combat SAMBO competition last week for the first time since being released from prison. The talented fighter had been out of all competition since surrendering to authorities in 2011 after the death of Russian student Ivan Agafonov. Russian news outlet R-Sport first reported his return while a Dagestani news site (RIA) followed up on the news.
Mirzaev won two combat SAMBO fights over the weekend but dropped a third to prevent him medalling in the Russian regional in Gubkin, near the Ukranian border, last week. His coach reported the fighter looked fighter was not in full competition form yet but the head of his coaching staff said this is all a way of working him back into MMA competition again.
Said coach Kamil Gadzhiev:
“He may continue his career in Combat Sambo. Why did Mirzayev participate in the Russian Sambo championship? The amateur tournament format allows holding a lot of fights within one day. This is exactly what he needs now. The main objective for Rasul was to feel himself in a fighting form. I think he’ll easily overcome” – the head of coaching staff told.
The fighter still has to abide by the terms of his probation at this time, but can travel to smaller events like this in order to compete. Mirzaev was given two years in prison last November for the 2011 death of Agafonov, but was released on a suspended sentence for spending over a year in pre-trial confinement.
The decision sparked outrage amongst the victim’s family and the Ultranationalist party in Russia. A court upheld the decision however, feeling there was no intent to kill the student and noting Mizaev’s assistance. Agafonov died four days later in a Russian hospital after falling and hitting his head after a short punch from the featherweight felled the bigger man.