Magomedkhan Amanulayevich Gamzatkhanov (Russian: Магомедха́н Аманула́евич Гамзатха́нов; born April 15, 1961 in Anchih, Dagestan), better known by his alias Volk Han (Волк-хан), is a Russian professional wrestler and mixed martial artist of Avar descent renowned for his technical mastery of sambo. Gamzatkhanov represented Russia on the Russian Fighting Network RINGS team with Fedor Emelianenko, Andrei Kopylov, Nikolai Zuyev and Mikhail Ilyukhin. In the early 1990s Han opened his own martial arts academy, which taught combat sambo with special emphasis on flying and spinning joint locks and compression locks applied to upper and lower extremities.
|Magomedkhan Gamzatkhanov |
|Born||April 15, 1961|
Anchih, Dagestan ASSR, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (now Russia)
|Other names||Volk Han, "The Russian Wolf", "The Wizard"|
|Height||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight||235 lb (107 kg; 16.8 st)|
|Style||Sambo, Shoot wrestling, Catch Wrestling, BJJ, Muay Thai,|
|Fighting out of||Tula, Russia|
|Team||Russian Top Team|
RusFighters Sport Club
|Years active||1991–2001, 2012|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Gamzatkhanov started training freestyle wrestling while at college. After learning in several teams, his friend Ahmed Sharipov introduced him to the five-time world champion Ali Aliyev, who accepted to train him. Under his tutelage, Gamzatkhanov won the Nalchik regional championship in 1979. He also won the USSR junior championship two years back to back, and placed fourth in the international Aliyev Cup. In 1981, upon beginning his two-year service in the USSR military, Han decided to leave wrestling for sambo, and was immediately scouted by Viktor Lysenko for his team in Tula.
In 1984, Gamzatkhanov attended the Police Academy in Moscow. A year later, he competed in the USSR sambo championship and placed second after losing in the finals to the legendary Alexander Pushnitsa. However, he bounced back by winning the gold medal at the openweight division in 1985, as well as the first place in the USSR championships of 1987 and 1988. He also won the Kalinin international tournament, reserved to the highest practitioners of the sport. In 1991, Gamzatkhanov returned to the USSR championship, but he was again eliminated from the finals, this time by Murat Khasanov.
The same year, he was scouted by Akira Maeda for his professional wrestling promotion Fighting Network RINGS, where he was given the ring name of Volk Han ("Volk" meaning "wolf" and "Han" being short for Magomedkhan).
Professional wrestling careerEdit
In 1992, Han participated in RINGS's Mega Battle Tournament, but he was eliminated on the first round by Akira Maeda. Despite his loss, the match turned him into an instant fan favourite thanks to his spectacular grappling techniques and merry charisma, which saw him becoming one of RINGS's main players. The next year, after several wins against names like Chris Dolman, Mitsuya Nagai and Willie Williams, Han took part in the next edition, eliminating Masayuki Naruse in the opening round before falling to teammate Nikolai Zouev in the second. Han and Zouev started a heated feud focused around their sambo backgrounds, and it saw Zouev besting Han again in a special sambo jacket match. 1994 was Han's breakout year, as he won the next edition of the Mega Battle Tournament by submitting Williams, Maeda and Hans Nijman, as well as getting his revenge against Zouev in a singles match.
After a lesser but notable participation in the 1995 tournament, in which he was eliminated by Maeda in the semifinals, Han won the 1996 iteration by defeating Naruse, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, Tariel Bitsadze and Kiyoshi Tamura. Following an elimination from the 1996 to hands of his own apprentice, Mikhail Illyukhin, Han gave his last great tournament participation in the 1999 edition, which was fought in team format. His team, composed by RINGS Russia members Illyukhin, Sergei Sousserov and Han himself, was pitted against RINGS Holland, formed by Joop Kasteel, Hans Nijman and Dick Vrij. Despite their effort, RINGS Russia was eliminated. Han's last professional wrestling match in RINGS was in 2001, facing legendary catch wrestling expert Yoshiaki Fujiwara in a special match that ended in a draw.
Mixed martial arts careerEdit
After years competing in professional wrestling, Han switched to mixed martial arts when RINGS adopted this format in 2000. This decision was very anticipated, despite Han's advanced age, due to his world class sambo skills. Following a winning debut against RINGS rookie Yasuhito Namekawa, Volk's skills were proven further against American wrestler and Mark Coleman's teammate Branden Lee Hinkle, 12 years his junior. Although Hinkle was able to take Han down and control him, the Russian grappler locked a tight triangle armbar at the end of the first round and made him tap out. Han got a matchup closer in age and experience against Olympic freestyle alumni Zaza Tkeshelashvili in a special Russia vs Georgia fight, but again Han won by submission with a guillotine choke.
In December, Han took part in the King of Kings tournament, where he was pitted in the first round against RINGS England leader Lee Hasdell. The Russian took him down and landed effective strikes before securing position, and also attempted triangle chokes and armbars, but Hasdell's defense was strong. Han resumed using unorthodox ground and pound from the knee-on-stomach position every time the fight hit the ground, but it was in a standing segment where he got the finish, overpowering the British kickboxer with combinations and injuring Hasdell's eye for a TKO victory. In the second round, Volk fought Bobby Hoffman, who came to the bout with a 23–4 record. Hoffman controlled Han for the majority of the fight and tried to perform ground and pound, while Han worked in avoiding damage from the bottom. However, once in overtime, Han took Hoffman down in the corner and stood over him landing punches until the end of the time, winning the decision.
During the semifinals, Han met young star Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, expert in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and almost half of Volk's age. Despite his disadvantages, the Russian grappler was successful in stopping Nogueira from attempting submissions, even although Nogueira passed his guard and took his back at the end of the first round. When the second round arrived, Han sprawled a takedown and gained his signature knee-on-stomach control, with the Brazilian coming back with a kneebar; the hold was completely extended, but Volk shockingly escaped. After a restart, Han came attacking with a flying Kimura lock which Nogueira answered with an omoplata/ankle hold combination, but he was unable to submit Volk, and the match ended shortly after. Nogueira was given the unanimous decision, eliminating Han from the tournament.
Championships and accomplishmentsEdit
Mixed martial arts recordEdit
|Professional record breakdown|
|30 matches||21 wins||8 losses|
|Draw||21–8–1||Masakatsu Funaki||Draw (majority)||Rings/The Outsider: Volk Han Retirement Match||December 16, 2012||1||15:00||Tokyo, Japan||Retirement match.|
|Win||21–8||Zaza Tkeshelashvili||Submission (armlock)||Rings Lithuania: Bushido Rings 2||May 8, 2001||1||N/A||Vilnius, Lithuania|
|Win||20–8||Andrei Kopylov||Decision (unanimous)||Rings Russia: Russia vs. Bulgaria||April 6, 2001||2||5:00||Ekaterinburg, Russia|
|Loss||19–8||Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira||Decision (unanimous)||Rings: King of Kings 2000 Final||February 24, 2001||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||19–7||Bobby Hoffman||Decision (unanimous)||Rings: King of Kings 2000 Block B||December 22, 2000||3||5:00||Osaka, Japan|
|Win||18–7||Lee Hasdell||TKO (punches)||Rings: King of Kings 2000 Block B||December 22, 2000||2||0:08||Osaka, Japan|
|Win||17–7||Zaza Tkeshelashvili||Submission (guillotine choke)||Rings: Russia vs. Georgia||August 16, 2000||1||15:46||Tula, Russia|
|Win||16–7||Branden Lee Hinkle||Submission (triangle armbar)||Rings: Millennium Combine 2||June 15, 2000||1||8:11||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||15–7||Cvetko Cvetkov||Submission (achilles lock)||Rings Russia: Russia vs. Bulgaria||May 21, 2000||1||N/A||Tula, Russia|
|Win||14–7||Yasuhito Namekawa||Decision (unanimous)||Rings Russia: Russia vs. The World||May 21, 2000||3||5:00||Yekaterinburg, Russia|
|Loss||13–7||Zaza Tkeshelashvili||KO||Rings: Rings Georgia||October 8, 1999||1||7:08||Georgia (country)|
|Loss||13–6||Zaza Tkeshelashvili||Decision (unanimous)||Rings: Rise 4th||June 24, 1999||3||10:00||Japan|
|Win||13–5||Masayuki Naruse||Submission (armbar)||Rings: Rise 3rd||May 22, 1999||1||4:26||Japan|
|Win||12–5||Nikolai Zuyev||Submission (arm-triangle choke)||Rings: Final Capture||February 21, 1999||1||4:49||Japan|
|Loss||11–5||Tsuyoshi Kohsaka||Submission (injury)||Rings: Third Fighting Integration||May 29, 1998||1||10:10||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||11–4||Akira Maeda||Submission (verbal)||Rings: Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997 Final||January 21, 1998||1||4:24||N/A|
|Loss||11–3||Mikhail Ilyukhin||N/A||Rings: Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997 Final||January 21, 1998||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Win||11–2||Dick Vrij||N/A||Rings: Battle Dimensions Tournament 1997 Final||January 21, 1998||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Win||10–2||Andrei Kopylov||Submission (armlock)||Rings – Mega Battle Tournament 1997 Semifinal 1||October 25, 1997||1||10:52||Japan|
|Loss||9–2||Kiyoshi Tamura||Submission (armbar)||Rings – Extension Fighting 7||September 26, 1997||1||12:48||Japan|
|Win||9–1||Akira Maeda||Submission (kneebar)||Rings – Extension Fighting 2||April 22, 1997||1||8:47||Japan|
|Win||8–1||Kiyoshi Tamura||N/A||Rings – Budokan Hall 1997||January 22, 1997||N/A||N/A||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||7–1||Kiyoshi Tamura||N/A||Rings – Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Final||January 1, 1997||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Win||6–1||Tariel Bitsadze||N/A||Rings – Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Final||January 1, 1997||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Win||5–1||Tsuyoshi Kohsaka||N/A||Rings – Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Final||January 1, 1997||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Win||4–1||Masayuki Naruse||N/A||Rings – Battle Dimensions Tournament 1996 Opening Round||October 25, 1996||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Win||3–1||Tsuyoshi Kohsaka||Submission (armbar)||Rings – Maelstrom 6||August 24, 1996||1||13:52||Japan|
|Loss||2–1||Hans Nijman||TKO||Rings – Budokan Hall 1996||January 24, 1996||N/A||N/A||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||2–0||Peter Ura||Submission (kneebar)||Rings – Battle Dimensions Tournament 1995 Opening Round||October 21, 1995||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Win||1–0||Akira Maeda||Submission||Rings – Budokan Hall 1995||January 25, 1995||N/A||N/A||Tokyo, Japan|
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-08-26. Retrieved 2010-04-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "2014 Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame candidate profile: Volk Han". 12 September 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-09-12.
- "Profile at Oocities". Oocities.org. Retrieved 2014-09-21.
- "Pro Wrestling History". Prowrestlinghistory.com. Retrieved 2017-06-30.