Wrestling / Volk Han

"He may not look it, but he is the next big thing in the fighting world. Wait to see what he can do in the ring."
Akira Maeda about Volk Han

Volk Han (b. Magomedkhan Gamzatkhanov) is a Russian sambist, professional wrestler and Mixed Martial Arts fighter. Initially a freestyle wrestling star in his native Russia, he got in a whole new way when he was drafted to the Russian Army and put to work in the martial art of sambo. He won national and international tournaments, gold medals and cups, and served as a hand-to-hand trainer for both the army and the police. However, he didnít saw the spotlight until he was recruited by Akira Maeda for his professional wrestling promotion Fighting Network RINGS. Despite coming from a country with virtually no pro wrestling tradition, he soon turned out the promotionís top gaijin, stunning the Japanese crowds with his uber-excellent grappling and ability to work technical matches with everybody. When the promotion transitioned into MMA, so did Han, who showed his true fighting skills by reaching the finals of the King of Kings Tournament. He retired after the demise of RINGS, but he remained as a MMA trainer, founding the famous Russian Top Team and serving as mentor for the lauded Fedor Emelianenko.

As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki.

"The Wolf's Tropes":

  • Arch-Enemy: Akira Maeda, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, Kiyoshi Tamura and Nikolai Zouev.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: The main trainer of the RINGS Russia team and a force to reckon on the mat.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Invoked and exploited by Han during the tryouts held by Maeda to recruit sambists in Russia. When he heard the Japanese was coming, he prepared his flashiest and most complex moves, even if they were less practical, in order to show him that Han was the man he was seeking to put a show in pro wrestling.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: His ring name, "Volk Han", means "Wolf Khan" (Khan being the shortened form of his name, Magomedkhan, and not the Mongolian title).
  • Badass Boast:
    "They say I'm 'afraid' of fighting at the King of Kings tournament? They don't know what they are saying. I was in the Soviet Army's most elite parachute unit. I was tasked to defend my own city when the Chechen War reached out, and I defended it with just a machine gun. If my knee allows it, I will fight - day by day. So here you have my answer. I am going to do it."
  • Badass Grandpa: Cannot be stated enough. At his forties, with bad health and little actual MMA experience, he got funky with a young old Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the ring and led him to a decision without being put in danger in any moment. His apprentice Fedor Emelianenko sincerely believes that had Han been healthy, he would have hooked Nogueira.
  • Badass Teacher: To Fedor and Alexander Emelianenko, as well as Sergei Kharitonov, Bazigit Atajev and Mikhail Ilyukhin, not to mention he was an army and police instructor.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Always wore blue pants and boots.
  • Calling Card: He sent one to Nogueira after their match with a message of respect for his victory.
  • Captain Ersatz: Han became so popular in Japan that his semblance was featured in manga and video games. He is called "Wolf" in games like Battle K-Road and Saikyo: Takada Nobuhiko and "I. Petrov" in Funaki Masakatsu: Hybrid Wrestler, and the character Heizo Kikawa from High School Exciting Story: Tough is directly inspired from him.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: His exhibition grappling match with Yoshiaki Fujiwara, as well as his retirement match with Masakatsu Funaki. His worked matches with Andrei Kopylov.
  • Covert Pervert: He was once invited to the Japanese TV show Ring no Tamashii and thrown in as a judge in a casting for ring girls. The ever polite and formal Han was shown giggling somewhat embarrassed and stating that he couldn't decide the winner among the ladies.
  • David vs. Goliath: Every time he faced superheavyweights like Tariel Bitsadze or hulking bullies like Dick Vrij.
  • Escape Artist: Was an expert in reversing holds. During his fight with Nogueira, Han got caught a in a very tight kneebar for long minutes, but he avoided the submissions and managed to break the hold when it looked to be impossible. Antonio himself said after the bout that, even with all of his own grappling knowledge, he had no bloody clue about how had Han escaped from his hold.
  • Expy: Hideo Tokoro who is sometimes called "Little Volk Han".
  • Foil: To Andrei Kopylov. While Han was an athletic military sambist with a penchant for controlling strategies, Kopylov was an overweighted artisan specialized in short bursts of explosiveness. Their looks were also the opposite, with Volk being slender and handsome in contrast with the chubby and bald Andrei, and finally, Han was nicknamed The Wolf while Kopylov was The Bear.
  • For Want of a Nail: If Han's trainee Fedor Emelianenko is to taken seriously, if Han was not sick in his fight with Nogueira he would have hooked him.
  • Hero Killer: Defeated Akira Maeda at the finals of the Mega Battle Tournament, and later defeated Kiyoshi Tamura to win the Battle Dimensions league.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Andrei Kopylov, who faced Han in his debut, was his main training partner in RINGS Russia and Russian Top Team and made an instructional video together titled "Commando Sambo".
  • I Know Sambo: Multiple national champion and police combat instructor, as well as a former freestyle wrestling champion. He is also knowledgeable in boxing, Muay Thai, Judo and Japanese jiu-jitsu.
  • Husky Russkie: Subverted, see Mother Russia Makes You Strong.
  • Insistent Terminology: It was not sambo, but "Commando Sambo".
  • Instant Expert: He grasped pro wrestling with a minimal training and became excellent at its psychological aspect in the time in which most wrestlers are still struggling learning how to make a match. Not to mention his late adaptation to MMA.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Fast and nimble enough to nail flying entries to submissions, strong enough to toss people around with sambo throws.
  • Mad Artist: Han's matwork was both highly imaginative and truly spectacular, and yet almost everything he did was a move he could pull in a real fight.
  • Minored in Asskicking: Aside from sambo, he was also an army boxing champion.
  • Mother Russia Makes You Strong: Averted in pure strength, as he had a lean build, but straight in fighting ability and conditioning. The old guy worked one of the most demanding styles at a nearly unmatched level for nearly an entire decade and rarely got injured.
  • Nice Guy: Polite and well-humored during interviews, even a bit goofy sometimes.
  • Opposing Combat Philosophies: When asked about whether he was interested in learning Brazilian jiu-jitsu, he just said nuh and stated that BJJ was basically Judo, and added that he definitely prefered sambo's strategy.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: The normally polite Han had a rare moment of wrath when he slapped a referee of a match in which one of his trainees was competing, as his opponent (Gilbert Yvel, who else?) was grabbing the cage and even biting him while the referee did nothing.
  • Overly Long Name: Magomedkhan Amanulayevich Gamzatkhanov. No wonder he preferred to go under a simplified ring name.
  • The Paragon: Aside from probably the best fighter of RINGS Russia before the Russian Top Team, Han was their only member who was fit and athletic and not pintoresquely overweighted.
  • Real Men Love Muhammad: By all accounts, he is a Muslim.
  • Red Baron: "Russia no Ookami" ("The Russian Wolf"), "Majutsushi" ("The Wizard"), "Sen no Submission o Motsu Otoko" ("The Man of 1000 Submissions").
  • Sadist Teacher: A bit. He soundly berated Mikhail Illoukhin for taping out under Ricardo Morais's strikes.
  • Spot Monkey: Subverted. His submissions and transitions were often done in the most surprising and intricate fashion possible, but he was able to perform them in harmonious, beautiful sequences.
  • Undying Loyalty: In real life, Akira Maeda, who he followed from RINGS to HEROíS despite bigger offers by other promotions. He was quoted as "I'm a soldier for Maeda. Wherever he go, I will go with him."
  • The Worf Effect: He tended to lose his first match against every debutant sambist in RINGS, like Andrei Kopylov and Nikolai Zouev, to show how dangerous they were.
  • Worf Had the Flu: Literally - he had the flu and had to be released from the hospital before the event to fight against Nogueira.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Gave an epic one after defeating Branden Lee Hinkle in his first high level MMA match.
    "What did I think? That I was Volk Han. I didn't think 'I might lose,' 'I might be defeated.' I won the RINGS Mega Battle Tournament twice, I could absolutely not lose to a random amateur wrestler! Every time I got tempted to consider the possibility of losing, I stopped and listened to the thousands of people cheering my name. And when you hear thousands of people cheering your name, and you get to remember that you cannot let all that people down, you know you have to win no matter what."