Russian UFC featherweight Khusein Askhabov has reportedly been arrested in Thailand after being connected to the kidnap and torture of an Italian man in Phuket.
Askhabov, who holds a 23-1 record in professional mixed martial arts, was apprehended alongside his twin brother Khasan relating to an attack allegedly carried out by three Kazakh men, per a report from The Phuket News.
The local outlet notes that the three Kazakh nationals are accused of forcing their way into a villa at a resort in Cherng Talay on Sunday, September 3, holding the resident bound and gagged, and beating the man across an extended period of time for information.
After subjecting the victim to that ordeal, the trio are said to have fled before flying to Dubai with 12 million Thai bhat ($338,038) worth of stolen goods in their possession. The report lists Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Graff watches among the material items robbed, as well as a MacBook, two iPhones, and a pair of sunglasses.
It was also confirmed that the man had his passport and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank debit card taken, in addition to passwords for accessing a safe, phones, and computers. The three Kazakhs have since been accused of stealing a further €40,000 ($43,000) from the safe, plus an additional €16,000 ($17,200) using the stolen debit card.
Following the end of the beating, the victim was left bound and gagged. CCTV images obtained by The Phuket News show the Italian man making his escape by rolling down a path at the resort the following day.
Image: The Phuket News
UFC Fighter Connected To Horrific Kidnap & Torture
The incident is yet to be publicly addressed by officials in Phuket, but comes just days after police held a press conference regarding a rise in Russian criminal activity in the area.
A source close to the Italian man described the horrific ordeal to The Phuket News, noting that it began at around 11 p.m. when the three Kazakh nationals grabbed him out of bed.
After the victim was blindfolded and gagged, it’s said that an individual orchestrating the attack from elsewhere called the assailants and told them the information they were tasked with getting out of the individual through beatings, which reportedly lasted throughout the night.
The men accused to have conducted the kidnapping and torture were identified and confirmed to have cleared immigration at Phuket International Airport before flying to Dubai. They are now believed to have returned to Kazakhstan.
Although the Italian man didn’t recognize that trio, he is familiar with the Askhabov brothers, whose exact connection to the incident and reason for arrest is yet to be revealed.
The victim claims to have met the twins at a cafe last year, where they became acquaintances. Khusein previously trained at the renowned Tiger Muay Thai facility in Phuket but has more recently been preparing at a facility in Cherng Talay.
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Khusein and his brother Khasan were apprehended last Tuesday. While the location of the arrest is unknown, the warrant was reportedly issued by the Phuket Provincial Court the day after the attack.
The UFC fighter and his sibling are reported to have been taken into custody with the intent of prosecution for “the act of robbery done with cruelty to the extent that others receive it, and endangering the body or mind through torture.”
“Nohcho” has competed just once since signing with the UFC a number of years ago. In his debut fight this past February, Askhabov was outpointed by Jamall Emmers. He was scheduled to return at the UFC Fight Night event in Las Vegas on October 7.
Although he arrived on MMA’s biggest stage as a relatively unknown entity in North America, the fighter is regarded as an Internet personality in his home country and boasts over five million followers on Instagram.
Both the legitimacy of that figure and his undefeated record prior to joining the UFC have been brought into question by some. He now has more serious concerns to deal with.
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Quotes and images h/t The Phuket News