(Rad might lose but he’ll win your heart!)

Shamhalaev (11-1-1) and Martinez (14-2) meet tomorrow to vie for the Season 7 Featherweight tournament title in Rad’s backyard of Salt Lake City, and don’t expect a grueling battle.  Both “Sha” and Martinez had two first round knockouts last year and are both coming off good win streaks – 9 for Sha and 5 for Martinez.  Don’t know where to lay your money?  Let’s see who’s got the better Lifetime made-for-tv movie background!

On one hand you have Sha “The Assassin,” hailing from Makhachkala (really), Dagestan, which borders Chechnya, and even if you’re a huge xenophobe you know that’s no good.  And by no good, I mean street warfare which Shamhalaev casually brushes off:

It’s normal; one can live there. Generation after generation, there are set rules. Everybody knows what the rules are and what happens if you don’t follow them. But if you’re doing things you’re not supposed to, they will kill you.

That quote was through a translator, by the way.  Sha’s only been in the US for six months training with the BombSquad in Ithaca.  But don’t worry, he’s been learning English by going to the movies when he’s not training.

I haven’t liked anything so far, he said. I don’t know what the movies are called, so I just say ‘can I get a ticket for the next movie?’ I haven’t been lucky yet.

He doesn’t like anything.  Dude’s SO RUSSIAN.  And he’s been learning English by stumbling into Here Comes the Boom and Katherine Heigl films… eeexcellent.

On the other hand you have Rad Martinez, who will definitely be played by C-Tates in Warrior 2: The Radley Martinez story.  He wrestled at Clarion University where some paesan named Frankie Edgar first talked him into trying out mixed martial arts. Martinez now trains at The Pit Elevated along with Ramsey Nijem, and if you see him shedding a tear after his hand is raised tomorrow, cut him a little slack, you hard-hearted sons of bitches.  He’s got good reason to cry:

My job is to inflict pain.  And I’m pretty good at it.  Some people tell me I could be really good, especially if I had more time to train.  They’re right.  The problem is… I don’t.

Because he’s full time caregiver to his father, who was severely brain damaged in a car accident.  Not enough for you?  His mother was already dead, and Rad’s grandmother, who helped care for his father, passed away from cancer.  Now Martinez spends his off-time “putting [his father] through a living hell” of physical therapy because in the end “family’s all you’ve got.”  Rad Martinez: Part time fighter, full-time motherfucking HERO.

Everything else, as Goldie would say, is virtually identical.

If you need to lock yourself in a closet and have a good cry, after the jump is a video on Rad’s story:

[youtube s8LNk4JCBq0]