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Ali Bagautinov’s simple goal in the UFC: Win the belt

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Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil -- Ali Bagautinov had a lot of hype behind him before his UFC debut, and proved he deserved the attention.

A decorated wrestler and sambo fighter, the Russian flyweight increased his win streak to nine with a third-round TKO victory over TUF Brazil 1 alum Marcos Vinicius at UFC Fight Night 28 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, last Wednesday.

Happy with his performance, Bagautinov feels he's just getting started.

"I don’t care who I’m fighting, I don’t care where I’m fighting," Bagautinov told after the fight. "I just have one goal in the UFC, and that is winning the championship belt. It’s pretty simple."

A former flyweight champion at Fight Nights in his native Russia, Bagautinov took a little longer than he expected to finish the fight.

"Initial plans were to finish him off in the first round," he said. "It didn’t go according to plans because I only started warming out in the second round and what I originally planned for the first round only started in the second one. But overall I’m happy, of course. It’s my UFC debut and I won by knockout, that’s as good as it gets."

The Mineirinho Arena wasn’t completely full, and Bagautinov didn’t feel pressured after heaving the famous "you’re gonna die" chants from the Brazilians.

"Being a guest here and fighting against a Brazilian in his home ground was a motivating factor, actually," he said. "It really helped me in a way. I came here for the victory."