Diana Avsaragova has quickly become one of the most notable names to watch among Bellator’s young rising talents.
The 23-year-old Flyweight prospect burst onto the scene in Apr. 2021 with a blistering 29-second knockout of Tara Graff in what was also her divisional debut (watch highlights). Following up the stellar performance later that summer, Avsaragova earned a split decision against Gabriella Gulfin to get herself into the Bellator rankings at No. 9.
This past Sat. night (March 12, 2022) at Bellator 276, “Pantera” made her third walk to the Bellator cage. However, the Russian wrestling sensation was faced with a mid-fight week change up as her original opponent, Ashley Deen, was replaced by Combate Global veteran, Kyra Batara.
Regardless of the switch, Avsaragova weathered a round-by-round tornado-like Batara to sweep the judges’ scorecards with 30-27s across the board. Thus making her 5-0 in her career.
“Not really because we watched a couple of her fights,” Avsaragova responded to MMAMania.com when asked if Batara’s ultra-aggressive approach surprised her. “We saw that she always starts aggressively, so I was prepared for that. To be honest, I expected it from her as a wrestler. Very often they like to start aggressively.”
As alluded to, Avsaragova is quite a talented wrestler herself although you’d never know it from watching her first three Bellator outings. Against Batara, she was forced to utilize her grappling skills more defensively than offensively and as a result, a shoulder injury was sustained. Avsaragova recalls feeling a pop at the end of the fight.
Once back home, she’ll undergo an MRI and if all is fine will aim to get back in action as soon as possible.
“Even though I’ve been wrestling for eight years and I’m very confident in my wrestling skills, I want to showcase my striking,” Avsaragova said. “I’m working a lot on my striking and I’m very confident in my wrestling skills so I know it will be there when I need it.
“Of course, every fighter wants to have as much knockouts as they can but it doesn’t always work on that. So we’ll work on that.”
Alongside Avsaragova in the Flyweight prospect pool is American Top Team (ATT) product Valerie Loureda (4-1). Due to both being as talented as they are at age 23, many comparisons have been drawn and speculation has built toward whether or not Bellator will match the two sooner rather than later.
Often asked about each other in interviews, there’s never been any real animosity. That didn’t stop the No. 10-ranked Loureda from taking to Twitter during Avsaragova vs. Batara to mock the fight and indicate that she’ll knock out her Russian counterpart.
“A lot of people were sending me those messages, screenshots, and stuff,” Avsaragova said. “I just don’t get it because we offered her the fight. I was looking for a fight and I’m sure my managers offered her the fight. I posted on IG, she could have had a full camp to prepare to fight me but she was quiet and now all of a sudden she starts mentioning my name. So I’m ready anytime.
“To be honest, my goal is the belt so I want to get to the belt and she’s not ranked but I was ready for her, I was ready for her even in my debut fight in Bellator but it never got offered to me. So yeah, I want to get to the belt, obviously, to fight tougher opponents, but just to have a big name fight, I can fight her. That is all.”
Of course, the ultimate goal for any fighter is to become the champion. With so much time left to build and grow their skill sets, it could just be a matter of when the opportunity arises... and who will have to be fought on the path to get there.
“Obviously, I want to get there as soon as possible,” Avsaragova said of a title shot. “Maybe two years but I think we’re gonna get there quicker. Because I’m positive that if I’m working hard and I want something, if I work hard I’m gonna get there.”
Is Diana Avsaragova vs. Valerie Loureda the fight to make?
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