With so many fighters making such significant advances in the art of cutting weight, it’s somewhat commonplace now to hear about a fighter moving down a weight class. It makes a lot of sense. Provided the fighter can make a healthy cut, he or she would be at a size advantage against his or her opponent, and as a result could have the upper hand in a lot of situations.

It’s not too often that the reverse happens, however. But Chris “Igor” Lokteff is one of those fighters that has opted to move up, rather than going down a weight class.

Putting together an impressive record of 8-1 at light heavyweight, Lokteff recently took the plunge into the heavyweight division. He did so with success, defeating Peter Kennedy in the very first round of their April 6 clash at Roshambo MMA 1.

Lokteff (Facebook)

“I was cutting a lot of weight to get to light heavyweight,” Lokteff revealed in an exclusive interview with The MMA Corner. “My coach had said that when I sparred and wrestled at my natural weight that I looked a lot better and I was a lot stronger, so it made sense to change. In my first fight [at heavyweight], I felt a lot better.”

After testing the waters in the heavyweight division, Lokteff finds himself facing a tough opponent in Andrew “The Toecutter” Machin at BRACE 20 on May 25. Machin has a reputation for having a solid chin. A lot of fighters will spend the weeks leading into a fight studying their opponent’s previous bouts, but Lokteff keeps things a little more simple.

“I try not to look at my opponent’s fights,” he admitted. “I go into every fight knowing what I am capable of doing and train in all aspects [of MMA] before a fight, no matter who I am facing.”

Something to which Lokteff attributes his success is the gym at which he trains. Integrated MMA in Brisbane is often classed as one of the top gyms in the country, with some of the best fighters across multiple weight divisions calling it home. There is an adage that is so often used in combat sports: “To be the best, you have to beat the best.” There is a lot of truth behind that statement, but another school of thought is that you must also train with the best.

“It’s an honor to train [at Integrated MMA],” Lokteff exclaimed. “I feel that guys like Dan Higgins, Sean Hannam, Adrian Pang and Steve Compton get the best out of me. It’s great to be a part of such a good gym.”

Lokteff (upright) (Nitro MMA)

All nine of Lokteff’s victories have come by way of knockout or TKO and all but one have been in the very first round. The combination of Lokteff’s explosive style and Machin’s willingness to take a punch certainly promises to give the fans of Brisbane a show to remember. A highlight-reel finish is always good to add to the resume, but Lokteff emphasizes that winning is the main focus.

“I never go into the fight with the only intention of finishing,” he explained. “The finish is the bonus, and I never take anybody lightly in a fight. It could go anywhere, and I am prepared for it to go anywhere. If it grinds out to a decision, I am ready, and I am ready if the finish comes up.”

When a fighter enters a new weight division, there are many question marks over whether it is the best idea for their career. Having overcome his first obstacle, Lokteff now has come to the next big hurdle. It’s time to see if he can clear it.

Chris would like to thank his sponsors: Australian Sports Nutrition, Fairtex, Unrivaled MMA, All Type Cabinets and MMA Sports Magazine. He would also like to thank Integrated MMA, Dan Higgins, Sean Hannam, Steve Compton, Tony Green, Adrian Pang and God. Keep up to date on Lokteff through Facebook and follow BRACE MMA on Twitter: @BRACEMMA.

Top Photo: Chris Lokteff (center) (Facebook)

About The Author

Staff Writer, Australia

Located in Queanbeyan, New South Wales, Neil Rooke has been writing about the sport of MMA since 2011. In the past, Neil has written for Cage Junkies and has written for Fight! Magazine as well as Fist! Fight Magazine. Neil is also a regular contributor to Fight! Magazine Australia and Yahoo! Sports Singapore.