Mixed martial arts fans have always been infatuated with familial pairings within the sport: from Stockton’s infamous Nick (26-9, 2 NC) and Nate Diaz (20-12) and the weight class-spanning Pettis brothers, to the legendary Nogueria’s and the clinical Shevchenko sisters. In short, MMA fans love a family bond within their sport.
Russian promotion Absolute Championship Ahkmat (ACA) — recently sanctioned by the United States federal government — holds perhaps one of the most understated pairs, the Tumenov cousins. There’s UFC veteran Albert “Einstein” Tumenov (21-4), who with his keen eye for body shots and the left high kick holds the welterweight title, and his homegrown younger cousin, Bibert Tumenov (9-1), who looks to fight his way up the featherweight rankings, facing the sixth-ranked Alexy Polpudnikov (29-7-1) for a top 5 spot at ACA 115.
The elder Tumenov deserves MMA fans’ attention as is, he’s shown himself to be a brilliant forward-moving boxer and tends to always bring the entertainment factor whenever he fights. However, the younger cousin brings with him a strong amateur pedigree and a very, very bright future.
Boxing and young eagles
Before even touching mixed martial arts, Tumenov started in boxing. He debuted in 2013 fought until 2016, amassing an impressive 14-2 record with 3 KOs. Tumenov’s most important boxing run would see him fighting at 64 kg in 2014, where he won the world youth championships in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Bibert Tumenov’s boxing style was not all too dissimilar to his mixed martial arts striking game, preferring to pressure his opponent and strike to the body from the inside. He also displayed an aptitude for finding the counter, being able to feint his opponent into throwing exactly what he wanted before firing back with a blow of his own.
His real combat sports success started in 2017, where he debuted in Plazza FC with two main card bouts at featherweight and lightweight, respectively. Both ended with a finish in round one brought on by his punches. He stopped Artur Mamuev (0-0) in 4:58, and his win over Sergey Saschenko (0-0) only took 12 seconds.
This aptitude for quick finished clearly caught the eye of Russian promotion Fight Nights Global, who placed Tumenov on the main card against fellow undefeated prospect Muratbek Kasymbay (5-0). Tumenov showed himself to be a far more competent striker in open space, outstriking Kasymbay at every turn and dropping him. His only real issues came in two places: against the fence and on the ground. Tumenov would often stuff a takedown only to be driven to the cage wall and, eventually, taken to the mat. In the end, Tumenov cruised to a unanimous decision, cleanly winning over three rounds.
The hot prospect’s next move was to sign with ACA’s (at the time ACB) talent development wing, Berkut Young Eagles. Tumeov joined at the start of a Grand Prix, fighting his way to the finals with two first-round KO’s over Andranik Hovsepian (4-0) and Zygiamantas Ramaska (5-0) respectively. He took another unanimous decision win over Bakvergen Usenov (2-0), continuing his run of taking fellow undefeated prospects’ 0’s to build a solid 5 fight win streak.
However, when he reached the final stage, he failed. In his first title bout for the Young Eagles featherweight belt, Bibert Tumenov would take his first loss to Timur Khizriev (7-0), moving his record to 6-1. Tumenov faced many of the same issues he had in prior performances; he proved himself to be a better striker in the open once again, taking the centre of the cage to great effect and even incorporating some leg kicks into his game. However, Tumenov simply could not handle the chain wrestling of Khrizev. He was repeatedly taken to the ground and held there.
This loss didn’t derail him too much though, as a round two KO win over Amirbek Ulu Kushtarbek (7-2-1) in his very next fight would see Tumenov climb to 7-1.
Absolute Championship Ahkmat run
This win ensured that Tumenov was called up to the main ACA promotion, where he would dispatch Kyle Reyes (15-6) with ease at ACA 104. The 22-year-old made his mark in the promotion with that easy second round KO, already drawing outside attention.
From there he would go on to secure a place in the rankings with a decision over Alexander Matmuratov (9-4) that would propel him into his current match up with the sixth-ranked Alexy Polpudnikov, a fight which may see the winner in line for a title eliminator.
Bibert Tumenov has repeatedly shown himself to be a key fighter to keep an eye on in Eastern Europe: he can fight efficiently out of both stances, has an excellent jab, and a lead hook that works to disprove his “Headhunter” nickname and work the body of his opponents. He also has strong takedown defense on open shots, only struggling when he is pushed to the cage or forced to defend in a chain.
Tumenov is young though, and at 23-years-old and with only three years of pro experience, he looks primed to go on a championship run. Perhaps he will follow in his elder cousin’s footsteps and go into the UFC off of the strength of another few wins.
Either way, Bibert Tumenov is worth your attention.