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Oleg Taktarov Coach, Sambo World Champion Nikolai Baranov Dies

Nikolai Baranov

It's been reported that Nikolai Baranov, one of the last great sambo champions of the old Soviet Union where the sport was founded, passed away last week. Baranov, a two-time world champion, had been variously reported as being 70 or 71-years-old.

From Nizhny Novgorod in Western Russia, Baranov began training in sambo as a teenager. Known for his groundwork, particularly his leg locks which earned him the nickname "Mr. Painful," Baranov won the world championships at 74 kg in 1979 and 1983. He also won the World Cup in 1980, as well European and Soviet national championships.

Baranov would go on to become a successful coach counting among his students three world champions along with UFC 6 tournament winner Oleg Taktarov.

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