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From freakshow to the big show: How fighting a 529 pound man landed Darina Mazdyuk a Bellator contract

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Darina Mazdyuk will be stepping into the cage against a woman her own size after defeating 527 pound blogger Grigory Chistyakov a year ago.

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When video surfaced in November of 2020 of a 135 pound woman cage fighting against a 529 pound man in Russia, people didn’t really know what to think. The word ‘freakshow’ gets thrown around pretty often in mixed martial arts, but it doesn’t get much freakier than that.

Without knowing much more about how the fight was set up, it all seemed somewhat exploitative of either the woman involved, flyweight Darina Mazdyuk, the man, blogger Grigory Chistyakov, or both. But it turns out the fight was actually conceptualized by Mazdyuk herself in a bid to gain international attention and hopefully a contract with a large fight outlet ... and it worked.

One year later, and Darina Mazdyuk is making her Bellator debut on this weekend’s Bellator Russia prelims.

“It was actually me who initiated it,” Mazdyuk said in an interview with MMA Junkie. “I got the idea of fighting someone huge and with that, there’s a promotional value not just for Russia, but for the U.S. and other countries. It turns out, this way I was able to draw attention to (myself). This way, I scored a Bellator contract.”

Now Mazdyuk will have to take on someone her own size in Katarzyna Sadura, who is 4-4 to Mazdryuk’s 3-1.

“I believe that, after that fight, having new equipment, having new technique, and having just a new system of training, I believe that with all those skills I’ve acquired, I can put up even more of a ‘sticking out’ kind of a fight compared to the previous one,” she said. “Even the girl who weighs 50 kilograms can make a show.”

Bellator Russia goes down Saturday October 23rd in the afternoon, with the prelims kicking off at 12:30PM EST on Bellator’s YouTube channel. At 3pm EST the action switches over to Showtime.