Oldschool MMA fight: David (207 lbs) vs Goliath (330 lbs)

The wrestler didn’t seem to know where he was!

 One of the most popular MMA fighters from Ukraine, Igor Vovchanchyn earned an impressive record of 55-10-1 (31-0 as an amateur). His pro career started in mid-nineties and lasted about a decade. It was the year of 1996 when his name became known to MMA fans and experts outside the former Soviet Union. The reason was his extraordinary performance at the International Fighting Championship 1 in Kiev, where he completed a three-win streak, all of his opponents being much bigger than Igor.

This video here shows his second fight in that tournament. In the heavyweight semifinals Vovchanchyn was set to face Alaska native Paul “The Polar Bear” Varelans who defeated Ukrainian Valery Nikulin by TKO (towel) on his way to the semis. Compared by height and weight, Vovchanchyn was much smaller – 5’9” vs 6’8” and 207 lbs. vs 330 lbs. But as we all know from myths and fairy tales, size doesn’t necessarily matter.

With Goliath as a rival, Vovchanchyn’s fight plan was obvious and simple – keep the distance and punch. It did work in the previous bout at IFC 1, where he defeated Fred Floyd by submission (strikes). Mind that Floyd was even bigger than Varelans weighing 380 lbs. Besides, Igor started to train wrestling only a year before IFC 1, so he realized that to let a skilled wrestler come close enough and bring the fight to the ground would be deadly dangerous. As for Varelans, he wasn’t likely to waste time on strikes and waited patiently for the lucky chance to takedown. So it was a classic striker-vs-wrestler fight with the only question on the agenda – which tactics is going to come in handy.

Igor’s very first right hook found its target and seemed to shock Varelans a bit. The course of the bout didn’t change further on – Varelans just couldn’t get to the wrestling distance, he kept suffering from vicious punches and was obviously getting more and more exhausted and stunned. When he dropped to the mat after another right punch, it already was no surprise to anyone.

Igor Vovhanchyn was victorious in the finals as well – John Dixson lost the bout by submission (exhaustion). After such a great start of the international career Vovchanchyn headed to Pride in 1998 where he had quite a handful of bouts (19-8) in seven years or so. Mark Coleman, Mirco “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Alistair Overeem were among those few who defeated him in the Pride’s ring.