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Russian WMMA fighter Aleksandra Albu was reportedly signed by the UFC, in a move that’s been met with significant controversy. According to her representatives, she currently holds a 5-0 record, and is the top female bantamweight fighter in her home country.
Officially, though, only one of her alleged five bouts can be verified. So who is “Stitch,” and how did she get signed ahead of established fighters like Holly Holm and Miriam Nakamoto?
Albu only has one verifiable professional fight, a bout against Lyubov Demidova at an event called “Octagon Fight Club” in June. The fight took place in Moscow, and saw Albu winning via TKO in the first round. To make things even more curious, this is the only fight result reported from the event, and probably only because a video of the match has made its way online.
On the bright side, that means we can take a look at how it played out.
She’s certainly no Ronda Rousey, but her game seems solid enough. It’s important to note though that her opponent officially holds a 0-1 record. As far as we can tell, this is the only MMA fight of hers available to watch.
To help us get a better idea of her overall skill set, we do have videos highlighting her stand up and grappling games.
First up, here is a video of her competing in a small Russian grappling tournament.
Again, it’s nothing too spectacular (and the event is likewise not exactly the Mundials), but her jiu-jitsu seems solid enough. The triangle finish was definitely pretty slick.
In terms of her striking, here is a video of her training Muay Thai in Phuket, Thailand. It’s obviously not a live fight, but it is a decent demonstration of her footwork and technique.
So on the strength of one professional fight, one grappling match, and one training video, how the heck did this woman get signed to the most competitive MMA promotion in the world?
The cynical answer is because she’s attractive and certainly not shy in a bikini, and probably has a decent enough skill set to survive in the lower tiers of the UFC’s growing female divisions. Perhaps the UFC is hoping she can grow into a top level fighter, and in the meantime, she’ll provide them with promotional opportunities like these.
A more optimistic answer would be that the UFC isn’t dumb, and most likely did their homework on this fighter before signing her. These three videos might be all that we can find, but perhaps UFC reps were able to get a look at her other four bouts. It’s completely possible that Albu is a brilliant untapped prospect, and that the UFC was looking to grab her contract before word got out.
The real answer probably lies somewhere in the middle, and might have a lot to do with the fact that the UFC is looking for a way to enter the Russian market. In any case, Albu is worth keeping an eye on. We’ll see what she’s really made of soon enough.