Zviad Lazishvili: Eyeing the UFC or Becoming A Two-Division LFA Champ

Zviad Lazishvili before his championship win at LFA 90. Photo Credit: LFA Zviad Lazishvili before his championship win at LFA 90. Photo Credit: LFA

Zviad Lazishvili grew up in a wrestling family. However, that’s not the path he took. His father was a wrestling coach but he didn’t want Zviad to get involved in it as much as he wanted him to go to school and achieve higher education. So grappling was the first sport he got involved in.

Now fighting at the age of 29, Lazishvili represents the Republic of Georgia in MMA.

Even though Lazishvili had the experience of running a business in Georgia and Russia, his real passion is MMA. He has made big sacrifices to pursue his dream, although he’s aware the fight game is short. Preparing for the future, he has finished his MBA program at Bay Atlantic University and is currently finishing up another master’s degree in computer science, data analytics/cybersecurity at the University of North America.

His first international accomplishment was in 2012 when he won the grappling World Cup in Turkey. After that, Lazishvili won the Georgian Championship in Grappling six times in three different weight divisions (61kg,66kg,77kg). He also won the Moscow Open tournament in grappling (66kg). In 2014, he took second place in the amateur World Championship (WKF) in the Czech Republic, and in 2015 he became World Champion by Kombat League version in Italy.

Lazishvili’s first 10 pro fights were relatively unknown opponents. While that is the biggest knock against him it wasn’t something he could turn down at the time. It was entirely hard for Lazishvili to get fights and as soon as a name came forward he took the fight – no questions asked. He never knew who his opponents were and never had the proper chance to prepare for his fights.

Wanting to improve, Lazishvili eventually moved to Russia. There he found the proper training and excellent coaches to help prepare him in fight camp. Unfortunately, he was never able to fight while in the region. He had four scheduled bouts and each one got canceled days among the fight. In February of 2018, Lazishvili moved to to the US and is now currently residing in Washington DC to pursue his goal of fighting in the UFC.

When Lazishvili moved to the US, he found Kaizen MMA, the gym which he currently represents. Under coaches Nima Mazhari and Toney Waldecker, he has become the fighter he is today.

Now signed to LFA, arguably the biggest promotion on the regional circuit, Lazishvili’s career has blown up. In his promotional debut, he beat veteran Josh Huber. His last showing saw him defeat “The Ultimate Fighter” and “Dana White’s Contender Series” alum Ricky Steele to become the LFA bantamweight champion.

He hasn’t fought since then and that’s because he’s been healing from injuries he suffered in camp. Now, he says he’s better and hungry to get back in the cage.

“I’ve had many obstacles in my career and with God’s help, I managed to overcome all of them. But currently, the biggest issue I have is my Visa,” Lazishvili told MMA-Prospects. “Unfortunately, my lawyers did a terrible job on my P1 visa case and it was denied just because it was presented in an inappropriate way. Basically, I lost one year of my time.

His plans right now are to not fight for the LFA and just wait for the UFC. With that being said, if he does have to fight again in LFA, he’s eyeing the 125 or the 145 belts LFA had to add to his collection.

“Currently, I am working on it and hopefully, very soon I will have good news about it and will join the UFC where I belong. I truly believe that I can get to the top and be a really big threat to anyone in my division. I have not shown even 30 percent of my abilities,” said Lazishvili.

CORRECTION 3/4/21: A previous version of the article reflected that Zviad Lazishvili had fought his first 10 pro bouts against fighters who were making their debut. This statement has been corrected to reflect that he competed against fighters who are “relatively unknown.”