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A post shared by Oleg Taktarov Олег Тактаров (@olegtaktarov_official) on Jul 31, 2017 at 2:57am PDT
Before there was Khabib, before there was Fedor, before there was any talk of a UFC event in Russia, there was Oleg Taktarov.
Calm, cool, and collected, Russia’s Taktarov wasn’t one to engage in any trash talk, but if you were courageous enough to step into the Octagon or ring with him, he would do whatever it took within the rules to get the victory.
A native of Siberia’s Arzamas-16 (now known as Sarov) who moved with his family to Gorky, the young Taktarov was immediately smitten by the martial arts of judo and sambo, and he became a combat sports natural. After serving as a self-defense instructor in the Russian Army, he went on to win numerous jiu-jitsu and sambo championships, and then traveled to America to chase a dream of becoming an actor.
But that dream would have to wait, as he became a professional fighter, competing in the UFC. At UFC 5 in 1995, he made his Octagon debut with a submission of Ernie Verdicia. Later that night he would lose a bloody battle to Dan Severn, but three months later he was back, and this time he ran the table, defeating Dave Beneteau, Anthony Macias, and Tank Abbott to win the UFC 6 tournament.
Following a 33-minute draw with Ken Shamrock in a UFC 7 Superfight, Taktarov returned to the Octagon one more time, in December of 1995, for the Ultimate Ultimate tournament. After two victories over Beneteau and Marco Rua, he would lose a second time to Severn in his last UFC bout.
Still competitive in MMA up until 2008, when he submitted fellow UFC vet Mark Kerr in less than two minutes, retiring with a 17-5-2 record, Taktarov finally hit the big screen as an actor. Seen in such hits as Bad Boys II, We Own The Night, Air Force One, and Predators, Taktarov’s dream may have been deferred, but he certainly had a heck of a tale to tell once he got there.
The Russian Bear’s Greatest Hits on UFC FIGHT PASS
UFC 5 – Taktarov debuts in the UFC against Ernie Verdicia (WATCH NOW)
UFC 6 – Taktarov delivers the fastest submission in UFC history, finishing Anthony Macias (WATCH NOW)
UFC 6 – Taktarov wins the UFC tournament, finishing Tank Abbott (WATCH NOW)
Ultimate Ultimate 95 – Taktarov submits Dave Beneteau (WATCH NOW)
Ultimate Ultimate 95 – A win over “The King of the Streets,” Marco Ruas (WATCH NOW)