ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – It was a day of bittersweet emotions on Saturday for two Kurdish Mixed Martial Arts fighters at an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event in Stockholm, Sweden.
Makwan Amirkhani (15-3-0) defeated opponent Chris Fishgold (18-3-1) in round two of his Featherweight bout on the main card of UFC Fight Night 153.
The Kurdish fighter secured the win with an anaconda choke in the second round after defending a submission attempt himself from Fishgold.
Amirkhani, who fights out of Turku, Finland, was born in the Iranian Kurdistan (Rojhilat) city of Kermanshah.
“I’m ready to fight anybody from my division,” he said after his fight. “Mr. Finland is always ready! I’m here; this is my time!”
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Another Kurdish fighter, Rostem Akman (6-1-0) from Mardin in the Kurdistan of Turkey, made his UFC debut against Russian Sergey Khandozhko (26-5-1) on the event’s preliminary card earlier in the day.
Akman, who was fighting in front of his home crowd in Stockholm, lost via a controversial unanimous decision after three rounds.
With just seven days notice, Akman had signed a UFC contract to compete in his first fight, filling in for Bartosz Fabinski (14-3-0) who pulled out of his Welterweight bout against Khandozhko.
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The June 1 showpiece was set to be the first time in UFC history that three Kurdish fighters competed at the same event, but Light Heavyweight Volkan Oezdemir’s (15-4-0) fight against Ilir Latifi (14-6-0, 1NC) in the co-main event matchup was canceled after Latifi pulled out with a back injury.
Oezdemir was born in Fribourg, Switzerland. His father is a Kurd from Erzincan province (Erzingan in Kurdish) in northeastern Turkey who married a Swiss woman.