You’ve never heard of the greatest heavyweight on the planet

Gareth Hunter Roar Rookie

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    Vitaly Minakov, the star of Bellator MMA By Mike Searson at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    The name is Vitaly Minakov, haven’t heard of him? That’s fine, you will soon enough.

    At 32 years of age, born in the Soviet Union, career spanning seven years with a record of 20-0. Those are the career and life stats of former Bellator heavyweight champion Vitaly Minakov.

    Commonly regarded as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, Fedor Emelianenko did not even have those stats in his long successful career. Fedor lost his fifth career fight against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka due to doctor stoppage, a loss nonetheless. After 20 career fights, Fedor was 19-1. Of those career fights, his opponents have been among the greatest of all time.

    Vitaly Minakov has finished 18 of 20 fights, seven of which by submission and 11 by TKO/KO. The coveted list of Minakov’s victims include Australian Peter Graham, one-time Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov and former UFC heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo. So Minakov hasn’t had a lot of “easy” fights in his quite short career.

    Vitaly Minakov, the star of Bellator MMA By Mike Searson at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    Vitaly Minakov, the star of Bellator MMA By Mike Searson at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0.

    Vitaly Minakov joined major American MMA promotion Bellator at the end of 2012. He compiled three wins all by stoppage in his first three Bellator fights. By his fourth fight, Minakov was fighting for the Bellator heavyweight championship against fellow Russian, Alexander Volkov. Minakov ended up winning the title in the first round by TKO. He then went on to successfully defend the title against Cheick Kongo.

    After two years of inactivity in Bellator due to fighting overseas, Minakov was stripped of his heavyweight championship. Minakov does not hold any ill feelings against the promotion or its chairman, Scott Coker. On asked why he relinquished Minakov of his title, Coker had this to say “Basically it’s a contract issue. We’re trying to work through it. It’s just something that ‘s part of this business. All sports, whether you’re a football player, basketball player or MMA fighter, it’s something we have to deal with from time to time.”

    Fast forward from Minakov’s Bellator tenure, he has had six fights all being victories. All of which have been on his home soil of Russia. It is fairly easy to say that Minakov prefers to fight in his homeland of Russia. With only six of his 20 fights being out of Russia, you cannot deny that fact.

    There may be a few reasons as to why he prefers Russia to compete in/for, but what we do know is that Minakov is far from destroying American and worldwide fighters alike.

    It is only a matter of time before Minakov returns to the octagon in the USA. Coker has never ruled out Minakov returning for Bellator, will Minakov demand his title back? Well, the title has not been active since then.

    Which tells me that they are holding out for something. A big enough fight with two draw card fighters? or is it that they are holding out for Minakov to agree to a certain fighter for a title fight?

    There’s no doubt in my mind that Coker does not think there are two suitable enough fighters with the right schedule to be able to pull off a successful and active title run. Three names come to mind when I think of Bellator heavyweights.

    Those names being Matt Mitrione, Fedor Emelianenko and Bobby Lashley. All of which are above the age of 38. Fedor and Lashley both being at the age of 40, and the latter having a full-time pro wrestling career.

    Mitrione vs Fedor was the biggest heavyweight fight in Bellator history. So why not put the title up for grabs then? That’s a question that answers itself after some thought.

    Fedor has already retired once, he is 40 and by the state of his last few fights, he hasn’t got much left in the tank. Mitrione is still hitting hard, entertaining and great PR. So I think if they find a good opponent for him, Mitrione will be fighting for the heavyweight title in the next six months.

    The prime opponent for him, in Bellator’s eyes, is Vitaly MInakov. Lashley has been in line for a while, but with pro wrestling still taking up the majority of his time he will not get a title shot. The main reasoning being Coker ad Bellator will be shying away from the heavyweight division once again being halted.

    All facts and issues aside, remember the name Minakov! He is a future UFC Champion and will go down as one of all time greats.

    The Club Roar Awards have been run and won! Olympic Gold Medallist and all-round legend Steven Bradbury has announced who's getting a share in $10,000! Check out the winners HERE!