Tyson Nam discusses his upset knockout win over Ali Bagautinov in the Fight Nights Global 64 main event on April 28, the fact that the bout was not only three rounds, déjà vu, his multi-fight deal with the organization, turning down a WSOF title fight in favor of the Russia bout, and more.
Tyson Nam didn’t have a good start against Ali Bagautinov at Fight Nights Global 64 on April 28, but his spectacular head-kick knockout win didn’t actually come at the very last second of the bout.
Most media outlets and fans were under the assumption the flyweight headliner was only three rounds, but it was in fact a five-round bout, according to Nam and his manager, Jason House. So even if Nam did not stop the former UFC title challenger at the end of the third round, he would have had 10 more minutes to try to earn a win.
But that doesn’t take away from his stunning stoppage, which occurred right as the bell rang to signify the end of the third round — it is still one of the most vicious knockouts all year.
Nam on Twitter made a point to let people know he still had two rounds to get the job done, but he doesn’t care that reports were inaccurate.
“I don’t mind it at all,” Nam told BloodyElbow.com’s The MMA Circus. “It doesn’t matter if you win with one second left or two rounds left; I still won, right? It doesn’t bother me at all. But when I do see information out there that’s not correct, I’ll correct people and tell people I did have two rounds to still finish the fight.”
Some spectators experienced déjà vu when Nam finished the highly-touted Bagautinov. And so did Nam. He walked into enemy territory — Russia — as a large unofficial underdog against one of the best flyweights on the planet, and scored a huge knockout win. Sound familiar (besides the weight class)? It should, if you’ve seen Nam’s 2012 win over current Bellator MMA bantamweight champ Eduardo Dantas. In that fight, the Hawaiian competed in his opponent’s homeland — Brazil — was far from favored to win, and won by knockout.
“I felt like I was in a Rocky IV movie. I was gonna go up there into hostile territory, but I think after my performance on Friday, I think we won over some of the fans,” Nam said. “It was almost like déjà vu for me. It was just like back in 2012, when I went over to Brazil and I knocked out Eduardo Dantas. And I think he was ranked No. 6 in the world at that time. It was nothing new to me. It was something that I’ve already experienced.”
Nam’s prediction was almost bang on. He called the head-kick knockout, but certainly didn’t count on landing it with one second left in a round.
“I already had it in my mind that I was going to finish the fight with a head kick. It wasn’t necessarily surprising that’s the way I finished it, but whenever you finish a fight, whether you predicted it or not, you’re excited as hell,” he said. “I feel like if I go to a decision — win, lose or draw — I lost. Even with milliseconds leading up to the end of the round, I’m always looking to put you to sleep.”
Not all fighters enjoy fighting in Russia, but Nam said he had a better experience than expected fighting in the foreign country for the first time. Lucky for him, because he’ll be back in Russia in the foreseeable future; ahead of the Bagautinov bout, he signed a multi-fight deal with Fight Nights Global.
“I’m very excited and eager to go back over and knock somebody else out,” Nam said.
“That’s what my manager told me to do,” he said when asked why he signed immediately signed a multi-fight deal with the organization. “For me as a fighter, I leave all of the stress and business up to my manager. All I do is sign my name and fight whoever they put in front of me.
“It definitely seemed like it was a very good deal. I don’t think that the fight would have happened any other way, so every thing played out, I feel, accordingly — just the way we wanted it.”
Nam looked at the Bagautinov bout as a massive opportunity and was very high on his opponent going into the fight. He even turned down a shot at WSOF gold in favor of the high-profile fight overseas.
Just hours before he was offered the Fight Nights Global 64 matchup, WSOF president Ray Sefo called Nam to offer him a bantamweight title shot. The organization’s 135-pound champ, Marlon Moraes, had just become a free agent and vacated the title. But after receiving a call from his management regarding the Russia fight, he opted to accept the Bagautinov matchup instead.
“Weighing out the options, definitely a fight with Ali, it was a no-brainer,” Nam said. “He was top 10 in the world, he fought against Demetrious Johnson, he had a long run in the UFC, and that’s the guy I wanted to fight. And 125 is actually my weight class. I’ve always fought at 135, but I’ve always had the size disadvantage.”