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Igor Zinoviev (born 1967) is a former Russian mixed martial arts fighter. He competed in the Extreme Fighting organization, holding the middleweight title until their demise, then moved to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Most recently, he coached the Chicago Red Bears in the International Fight League.[1]

Early life and trainingEdit

Zinoviev grew up in St. Petersburg, Russia. Sickly and weak as a youth due to meningitis, he was unable to walk until the age of four.[1] To overcome this handicap, he swam for exercise, becoming skilled enough that he entered a Russian sports academy. There, he trained in boxing, judo, and Combat sambo. When he came of age, he enlisted in the Soviet army, spending two years in an elite special forces squad, followed by four years on a municipal police force after his discharge from the army.[1] Like many Russian mixed martial artists, he received further training while serving in the Russian military and police forces.

Mixed martial arts careerEdit

A chance meeting with an American businessman in a Turkish bath convinced Zinoviev to become a professional fighter, as the businessman told Zinoviev that he could arrange fights for Zinoviev in America.[1] After he arrived in New York, the promised opportunities did not materialize, so Zinoviev made his own way, participating in "about ten" underground fights held clandestinely in warehouses in Brooklyn and Queens.[1]

Zinoviev's first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight was at the inaugural World Extreme Fighting event in 1995 in Wilmington, North Carolina, where he defeated Mario Sperry via cut stoppage to claim the organization's middleweight title, a title he held until the organization's dissolution in 1998.[1] He also fought in Vale Tudo Japan, defeating Enson Inoue. Zinoviev's final mixed martial arts bout (to date) was against Frank Shamrock at UFC 16. 22 seconds into the match, Shamrock took Zinoviev down with a powerful slam that knocked him unconscious and broke his collarbone, finishing his fighting career. Since that time, he has worked as a personal trainer and bodyguard.[1]

In November 2006, the International Fight League announced that Zinoviev would coach the new IFL team the Chicago Red Bears, which would consist primarily of Russian fighters.

MMA recordEdit

Result Opponent Method Event Title Date Round Time Notes
Loss United States flagFrank Shamrock KO (Slam) UFC 16 1998-03-13 1 0:22 For UFC Middleweight (205) Title
Draw Japan flagOsami Shibuya Draw Pancrase – Alive 11 1997-12-20 2 3:00
Draw United States flagJohn Lober Draw EF 3 – Extreme Fighting 3 1996-10-18 3 5:00
Win United States flagEnson Inoue TKO (Punches) VTJ 1996-Vale Tudo Japan 1996 1996-07-07 1 0:44
Win United States flagSteve Faulkner Submission (Choke) EF 2-Extreme Fighting 2 1996-04-26 1 0:44
Win Brazil flagMario Sperry TKO EF-Extreme Fighting 1 1995-11-18 1 11:39
Win United States flagHarold German Submission EF 1 – Extreme Fighting 1 1995-11-18 1 0:40

Personal lifeEdit

Igor Zinoviev has a 15 year old son, Daniel and a wife Tetyana .[2]. Currently they are living in New Jersey. They live in a small town a few minutes from the ocean. His son is the beaming image of a younger Igor, taking a liking in martial arts and swimming, just like his father. He has participated in the junior olympics, finishing at the top of his class. He clocked one of the fastest times in the Junior Olympics.


External linksEdit

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