The Middle East is a very attractive destination for MMA promoters with both the UFC and ONE Championship putting on events there. The region has also become popular with fighters and two of them are going to open a gym in Dubai.

Roman Kryklia and Chingiz Allazov have joined forces to open a gym which is called Champ Belts. The name is fitting as both men currently hold kickboxing titles with ONE Championship.

The Russian is the reigning light heavyweight and heavyweight kickboxing champion and has won five fights out of five for the promotion. Allazov holds the kickboxing title in the stacked featherweight division.

Kryklia is set to challenge Alex Roberts for the newly minted heavyweight Muay Thai strap this Saturday. The gym only opened its doors a week ago but according to the Russian the project has been in the works for a long time,

“My team and I have been planning to do this for a long time. A year ago, our friend and now a business partner said that he had the same dream to open a fight gym. We started working on it a year ago, and it’s been six months since the project started to take shape. We have opened it, and everything is ready.”

Prestigious destination

ONE 162 is set for Qatar on March 1st. UFC 294 took place in Abu Dhabi in October and the region is well established as a destination for some of the biggest fight cards.

There isn’t such a tradition of elite fighters heading to the Middle East to train although Khamzat Chimaev spends a lot of time there and recently switched nationality from Sweden to the UAE. Kryklia is hoping to change that and says he will be based permanently in Dubai,

“Dubai is now a very promising city, a center where everyone is flocking to. It offers a great deal of opportunities for developing in all areas of business. Now, we will be based mostly here. It will be our training base for future fights.”


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While the gym will offer classes in Muay Thai, MMA and boxing the focus will be firmly on kickboxing. Kryklia and Allazov have established themselves as two of the best pound for pound fighters in this sport.

Kryklia might be competing under Muay Thai rules this weekend but says his new camp in Dubai will primarily be focused on kickboxing,

“The emphasis is on kickboxing, Thai boxing, and classic boxing, but we also want to promote grappling. It’s gaining momentum now, and we will have some awesome grappling coaches.”

Busy period

It must have been a busy period for Kryklia. As well as training to compete under Muay Thai rules for the first time in a decade he has been opening a brand new business in a foreign country.

Kryklia will also be fighting with the MMA style gloves at ONE Fight Night 17. He has been wearing traditional boxing gloves in all his recent fights so that is another adjustment the Ukrainian will need to make.

Having earned $50,000 USD bonuses after his last three fights the Ukrainian is enjoying financial success as well as being at the pinnacle of the sport. Kryklia does not plan to slow down and hopes that Champ Belts will expand and open locations all over the world,

“We have big plans to make a worldwide network of combat gyms, to create a brand. I will not talk much about it now. Once this new project starts to take shape, we will come back to this topic, and I will reveal more details. We plan to make a bigger, better global network of combat gyms.”