Nastyukhin finding his way to top of ONE Championship featherweight division

Nastyukhin finding his way to top of ONE Championship featherweight division
PHOTO: Cheryl Tay

After finding out the night before ONE: WARRIOR'S QUEST that he wasn't going to compete, Timofey Nastyukhin didn't pout.

Instead, the proud half-Russian, half-Kazakh regrouped and returned recently at ONE: DYNASTY OF CHAMPIONS to earn a TKO victory over Yusuke Kawanago in the main event.

The victory improved the 25-year-old's career record to 9-1, with all of his nine wins coming via finish. He has won each of his nine since a 2010 loss to Magomedsaigi Guseinov - his only loss.

Nastyukhin was forced to resort to protecting himself at an early age after being bullied because he wasn't "100% Russian" after his family moved to Siberia. That led him to find home at a Pankration club his sister enrolled him in.

It clicked for Nastyukhin, as he took part in his first major competition at just 10 years of age.

He quickly became a four-time national champion in the sport, adding two European championships and a world title to his resume while balancing work and "play."

The success he found in Pankration didn't immediately carry over to mixed martial arts for Nastyukhin, as he suffered defeat in that initial appearance five years ago to Guseinov.

But after that sole defeat, he took a hiatus to change his training methods and upon his return, never lost again. In fact, he built up a winning streak that still runs today - all nine wins were secured in the first round.

Nastyukhin has added training at Tiger Muay Thai to his skill set too, working in Phuket ahead of his ONE debut.

The decision to seek out help at Tiger Muay Thai has now become a staple in his pre-fight training.

While featherweight is home for the Russia Top Team fighter, he elected to move up to 155 pounds in 2014 for his first action with ONE, taking on top contender Eduard Folayang.

In the first round, Nastyukhin connected with a flying knee and finished the fight in just over three minutes, serving notice on the biggest stage of his career that he was a threat to the title.

Along with the pair of ONE wins via finish already, Nastyukhin owns a 20-second knockout vs. Mairbek Makhanov to his credit, with three other victories coming inside of the first minute.

Fighting isn't the only skill for Nastyukhin, who finished college at 22 years of age with a degree in physical education.

He is happily married to his college sweetheart, who he proposed to while snowboarding.

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