Ismail “The Austrian Wonderboy” Naurdiev, 25, of Salzburg, Austria is ready for his first BRAVE Combat Federation victory. The Chechen-Austrian mixed martial arts veteran will fight Olli “The Amazing” Santalahti, 27, of Turku, Finland at “BRAVE CF 45.”
In association with Galana Exclusive Championship (GEC), BRAVE CF will hold “BRAVE CF 54” in Konin, Poland on September 25, 2021. There are nine bouts on the card including a welterweight bout between Naurdiev and Santalahti.
“What do you think is Santalahti’s weakness as a fighter?” I asked Naurdiev before fight night. The Chechen-Austrian MMA fighter replied, “I don’t really care what his weaknesses and strengths are. I focus on things where I’m good at.”
Currently, Naurdiev holds a professional MMA record of 20 wins and 5 losses. Out of his 20 wins, 11 are via knockout.
The last time Naurdiev won via knockout was on February 2, 2019 when he knocked out Paulistenio Rocha, 39, of Brazil via punches at “XFN 16.” After the victory, the Chechen-Austrian fighter made his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut on February 23, 2019 at “UFC Fight Night 145” where he defeated Michel “Trator” Prazeres, 40, of Brazil via unanimous decision.
After leaving the UFC, Naurdiev defeated Tymoteusz “Honey Badger” Lopaczyk, 25, of Poland via unanimous decision at “EMX 5.” After this, the former made his BRAVE CF debut at “BRAVE CF 50” where he was knocked out by Jarrah “The Jordanian Lion” Al-Silawi, 29, of Jordan.
“BRAVE CF 54” marks Naurdiev’s second BRAVE CF outing and it gives him another opportunity to win again via knockout. When I asked him to compare his fighting skills now to his fighting skills when he was still in the UFC, he said, “I’m more experienced now, smarter and grown as a fighter and a man.”
Naurdiev was born in Grozny, Chechnya, Russia. In 2004, he and his family left the city because of the war and moved to Austria.
“My family is my everything and they support me well,” Naurdiev told me. He added that when it comes to his MMA career, his family’s only worry is his safety.
Santalahti holds a professional MMA record of 12 wins and 3 losses. Five of those wins are via submission.
The Finnish MMA fighter is coming out of his successful BRAVE CF debut. On March 18, 2021, he defeated Georges Eid via split decision at “BRAVE CF 48.”