100 kg of charm. A Russian woman was on fire in Japanese MMA long before Fedor. Video

Evgeny Narizhny

Evgeny Narizhny

How Irina Rodina won in MMA

Irina Rodina has always won in one proven way.

August 2000 – Fedor Emelianenko made his debut in mixed martial arts. At that time, MMA for the Russian audience was as understandable a sport as conditional baseball is now. It is all the more surprising that the Last Emperor is not just not the first Russian who competed in the new discipline. Exactly four years before Fedor’s debut, according to the rules of mixed martial arts, the Russian woman Irina Rodina, a future titled sambist and judoka, fought for the first time.

If today many athletes move to MMA after a successful career in amateur sports, then Rodina turned out, rather, on the contrary. At the time of the first fight in mixed martial arts, she was already performing with might and main in judo and sambo, but had not yet achieved outstanding results. Her best achievement was the bronze of the European Championship, which is also worthy, but the athlete was clearly striving for more.

In sambo, the Russian woman competed in the category of over 80 kilograms, but in mixed martial arts at that time there were no strict divisions into divisions, so the real weight of Irina before the fights is still unknown. The Sherdog website lists 103 kilos with a height of 160 centimeters, and the Olympedia portal estimates the athlete’s parameters as 108 kg and 178 cm.

In the summer of 1996, Irina took part in a two-day tournament organized by All Japan Women’s Professional Wrestling. In the debut duel, Rodina met with the Japanese Yoko Takahashi. The fight ended in the seventh minute, when the Russian athlete went to the elbow lever. The victory allowed the Motherland to get into the final part, which took place the next day.

The opponent in the semi-finals was the American Reggie Bennett, a girl who at that time was popular due to her wrestling career. It took Irina a little more time, but the outcome of the fight was the same – Reggie knocked after the armbar. In the final, Rodina fought Yumiko Hotta, another wrestling representative. It took Irina only three minutes for the Japanese – and again she won with an armbar. The rivals probably knew that the Russian woman was so strong in painful holds, but because of the gap in the class, they could not do anything.

After winning an unusual women’s tournament, Rodina left MMA and concentrated on sambo and judo, and in 2000 she returned to mixed martial arts for one fight. At the ReMix promotion tournament, she unexpectedly lost to American Erin Tufhill by a split decision. After that, Irina finally left MMA and concentrated on sambo and judo. She became an 11-time world champion and a three-time European champion in sambo, stood on the podium of the European judo championships eight times, and also took seventh place at the Olympic Games in Sydney.

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