MMA

Enter ‘Pantera’: Bellator’s Diana Avsaragova ready to back up beauty with MMA skills

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UNCASVILLE, Conn. – When Diana Avsaragova checks Instagram, her account is flooded with the same sort of messages.

Pressing send on “Do you have a boyfriend?” or “Will you marry me?” is apparently common practice among a portion of her followers.

“I’ve been thinking I should write in my Instagram (bio), ‘I’m married, (so) don’t (ask) questions (about) me or my personal information,’” Avsaragova joked to MMA Junkie on Wednesday, through a translator.

Avasaragova takes the messages in stride. Due to the sheer amount, she chooses not to respond to the inquiries, but they don’t bother her. If anything, she views them as complementary.

“Of course, this is very (flattering),” Avasaragova said. “I’m happy for this. But too much, it’s hard for me. I can’t text any people because it’s too much.”

Avsaragova, 22, has grown used to the frequent day-to-day notifications as her audience keeps growing. To date, she’s accumulated 150,000 followers on her account. How did she do it in such a quick period of time? She’s tapped into a crossroads of interest.

“People look at me and think, ‘Oh my God, she’s an MMA fighter and she’s beautiful. Oh wow,’ and they follow me, Avsaragova told MMA Junkie on Wednesday, using a translator.

The balance between looks and substance is a working recipe for Avsaragova (2-0 MMA, 0-0 BMMA), who will make her promotional debut Friday at Bellator 256 vs. Tara Graff (1-2 MMA, 0-1 BMMA) at bantamweight. She’s only had two professional fights, but Avsaragova caught Bellator’s eye earlier this year. Now, she’s in one of the world’s premier MMA organizations.

“(The offer) was a big surprise for me,” Avsaragova said. “I found out this news during the New Year. This is a present for the New Year for me. I’m very happy and ready for (the) fight.”

While her brand is important, Avsaragova assures her skill is what will help her stick around in an organization like Bellator. That’s why, despite her followers’ inquiries, she’s not interested in marriage. She’s interested in fighting and improvement.

In order to progress her career, Avsaragova surrounded herself with notable names. She trains alongside UFC flyweight Liana Jojua and former UFC heavyweight Dmitry Smolyakov. Already with a good foundation in wrestling, Avsaragova continues to round out her game.

“I was on the Russian team (in) wrestling,” Avsaragova said. “I’m a good freestyle wrestler. I have good skills in wrestling, and I want more wrestling in my fights. … I’m a wrestler, but I can work in striking. I’m not only a wrestler, but I can fight in striking. I can (surprise).”

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