“Russian Ronda” Irina Alekseeva is among the few women from her country leading the way for fellow aspiring mixed martial artists.
The 31-year old has already accrued plenty of combat sports experience in Judo and Sambo ahead of her current 3-1 run in MMA. Making her debut in 2019, all four of Alekseeva’s career bouts came in that year — the last being her lone defeat.
“Like everywhere, it was lockdown here in Russia,” Alekseeva told MyMMANews regarding her absence from competition. “Before mid-Summer, I wasn’t able to have enough training because gyms were closed. But since then I’ve been able to start training again and now I’m waiting for new shows, new fights.
“So there were three issues [in my loss]. The first issue was weight reduction, it was a big deal at the moment before the fight. The second issue was that my opponent was changed just before the fight. I wasn’t ready for such a switch. The new opponent was more experienced and all these issues, they were a good experience. Because next time I’ll be ready to take on such unpredictable changes and issues.”
The Ekaterinburg resident began her career in the 145-pound featherweight division. Typically, you don’t often see fighters jumping over entire weight classes to make a transition — yet Alekseeva embraced the challenge which led her to 125-pounds at flyweight.
“The main reason was to get more experience because when you try different weights, you can see the advantages and disadvantages of every class,” Alekseeva said of her drop in weight. “So the main reason is to get more experience for the future and to make the right decisions for further development.
“At the moment of my contract, I’m going to stay at 125-pounds. But if I got an opportunity for a good amount of money to fight at 145-pounds, why not? (laughs)”
Alekseeva has already begun seeing her hard work pay off despite still being relatively new in MMA. To close out 2020, she received one hell of a Christmas present in the form of a Bellator contract.
With the promotion just recently announcing their debut in Russia—headlined by the iconic Fedor Emelianenko—the stage has been set for Alekseeva to shine.
“I was very excited,” Alekseeva recalled her reaction. “Especially taking into account this last fight. It was unexpected that I would sign this contract and at the moment I am waiting for my first fight. That is expected to be in October in Moscow. I’m training to participate in that event.
“This is not the main thing I think about. My main goal is my sport results. I’m also waiting for new experiences because every next fight will be such an experience, for sure. Of course, I will be happy to bring some glory to Russian sports. But mostly I’m concentrated on my results and development as a sportswoman. There are other Russian girls also participating in MMA in different leagues. There are a lot of competitors in this field so it requires attention.”
Alekseeva isn’t the only Russian flyweight Bellator has since brought in. Alongside her in the promotion, as well as the gym, is the unbeaten 3-0 Diana Avsaragova who made her debut in April. Avsaragova now has her sophomore appearance booked for July 16 at Bellator 262 — win or lose, competing in Russia with her teammate wouldn’t be a surprise.
“Russian Ronda” sees the championship potential in her comrade and knows they’ll both be happy achieving their dreams. If there is one thing Alekseeva isn’t happy with, however, it’s her nickname — an apt comparison to legendary Judoka, Ronda Rousey.
“It wasn’t my decision to take this nickname,” Alekseeva laughed. “I got this from my fans. I’m not very happy with this nickname but it is better to be ‘Russian Ronda’ than to have some different nickname so I’m not very happy with it but I accept it.”
Drake is an MMA writer based out of Brush Prairie, Washington, USA who specializes in feature pieces, the women’s fight scene, lists, news coverage, and rankings. He has been a passionate fan of MMA ever since 2009. Drake has most notably written for BJPenn.com, FanSided, The Body Lock, South China Morning Post, MyMMANews, WhatCulture, Cageside Press, Sherdog, The Scrap, and MMA Today. He has also written for and created video content for RT Sport. As for other sports, Drake is a longtime fan of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @DrakeRiggs_ . Also check out all of his video content on YouTube at YouTube.com/DrakeRiggs where he uploads fighter interviews, podshows, and various other types of content.