Indian army vet Abhilash Raut hoping to put Indian MMA on the map

Abhilash Raut salutes the crowd. Credit: Fight Sports India

India’s Abhilash Raut (5-1) is a name most of the MMA community is not familiar with, in part due to his geographical location. The 5-1 flyweight sensation, who sports a 100% finishing rate, is hoping a win on October 25 will change all of that.

At just 28-years-old, Raut has compiled a respectable 5-1 record with all five victories by way of stoppage. Raut’s wins were all strung together in the span of 19-months, just before the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic derailed his momentum.

Despite the international lockdown, “The Soldier” marched on with his training by focusing on the more technical aspects of his rapidly developing game.

“During the pandemic, I worked a lot on ground control and ground defense,” Raut told MMA-Prospects. “I fixed some of my weak points, and have experimented on [elements of] my game, which will show in my upcoming fight.”

After two fights fell through for the flyweight prospect on India’s October 24 The Hero MMA event, Raut will be competing against Avinash Pandey (0-0). Pandey will be making his pro MMA debut after going undefeated as an amateur, where he compiled a 2-0 record replete with one knockout and one submission.

When asked to dissect his opponent, Ruat was complimentary of Pandey.

“He is a good opponent with a good ground game. The good thing, for me, is that the fight starts standing, not on the ground.”

Even with a tough test ahead of him in just under ten days, Raut has high expectations for his career.

“Every MMA fighter dreams to fight in a promotion like UFC or Bellator,” Raut said. “If I go to the UFC or Bellator, I don’t want to come back from there. I want to be there, stay there, and make [a] way for my fighters from my country.”

Back in 2017, India had its first-ever breakthrough into the UFC, as India’s Bharat Khandare (6-3) made an unsuccessful promotional debut against Song Yadong.

The lack of talent in the UFC from India is disheartening to Raut, but he has high hopes for what’s to come.

“I feel sad thinking that India only has one UFC fighter, but there are two or three fighters in India already better than Bharat,” said Raut. “If I work a little more on my ground game, I will be a contender in the UFC.”

With a population of 1.3 billion individuals, it’s remarkable that MMA hasn’t seen more talent from the region emerge as potential signings for the UFC.

Regardless of geographical setbacks, however, Raut has the confidence and talent to take Indian MMA to the next level, starting with a big win on October 25.

If Abhilash Raut continues his rise locally, racking up wins and finishes, it could be only a matter of time before we see his name on a UFC card.