- Aviv Gozali is the 18-year-old Israeli who broke a Bellator MMA record Saturday.
- Gozali finished his opponent in 11 seconds at the Bellator 225 show in Bridgeport, Connecticut — the fastest submission in the mixed martial arts firm’s history.
- The teenager’s heel hook went viral, and he told Business Insider that it was something he had been practising all week.
- He said he asked MMA manager Mike Kogan what the Bellator record for fastest submission was before the bout, then used his answer as motivation in the fight itself.
- Gozali said he later saw his opponent in a wheelchair and thinks he broke his foot.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Backstage before a big fight, athletes do a variety of things to get ready for competition.
Some lie down, put massive headphones over their ears, and visualize the fight they want to fight. Others experience a full range of emotions, as the former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson who famously cried before walking to the ring and knocking an opponent out, will testify.
18-year-old Israeli Aviv Gozali is different.
Gozali told Business Insider that when he was in the locker room beforehis fight on Saturday, he asked MMA manager Mike Kogan what the record for the fastest submission in Bellator history was. He was told it was 15 seconds.
Gozali told Kogan he was going to break the record. He then walked to the Bellator 225 cage at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Connecticut, stood across from his opponent Eduard Muravitskiy, then when the fight began he slid an Imanari roll into a single-leg takedown andsubmitted Muravitskiy with a heel hook.
Read more:Watch an 18-year-old jiu jitsu specialist score the fastest submission in Bellator MMA history, finishing his opponent in 11 seconds with a heel hook
It was over after 11 seconds. The move went viral. Gozali rewrote the history books.
“I feel amazing,” Gozali told Business Insider this week. “It’s an unbelievable feeling, what I feel right now. It’s crazy.”
There is a lot of work that goes into becoming an overnight success. Gozali told Business Insider he had practised the heel hook 50 times a day on the week of the fight. And even with all that training, he still had to improvise, because he missed the leg he was aiming for.
“So I go to the other leg. As soon as I miss the leg, I knew I had to go to the other leg.
“This heel hook … the pain is in the knee, but I think I broke his foot. I saw him in a wheelchair [after the fight].”
Read more:The 18-year-old Israeli’s 11 second submission win was completely rehearsed, just like Jorge Masvidal’s 5 second flying knee knockout last month
Gozali’s finishing move didn’t come without criticism. Reader comments on Business Insider’s social media pages questioned Gozali’s sportsmanship, as he ignored Muravitskiy’s attempt to touch gloves at the start of the fight.
Gozali told Business Insider he did touch gloves, but he did so as soon as he was in the cage rather than the start of the fight. Had he touched gloves at the start, it would have wasted the seconds he needed to break the Bellator record, he said.
“I went into the ring and touched the gloves before the fight because I knew what I’m going to do, I knew that I’m not going to touch his glove at the start because I want to break the record,” he said.
Gozali’s heel hook.Bellator MMA
After the bout, he said: “Everybody was choked backstage. It took a couple of minutes for everyone to realize I had won in 11 seconds.”
Gozali has fighting in his blood as his father, the 46-year-old fourth degree Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, is also an active competitor in Bellator, and both will be fighting on the same card together on November 14 in Israel.
“My next fight is going to be November 14 on the main card in Tel Aviv, Israel,” he said.
“Bellator does an event every year, and me and my father fight, both of us, in the same card, again. It’s going to be amazing over there.”
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