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A Close-Up Look At The Bloody World Of Mixed Martial Arts

On a Saturday night in ‘Sin City,’ spectators gather from far and wide to watch two men wrestle, box and karate-chop each other in a metal cage. It’s called Mixed Martial Arts, and a French reporter finds it taking Las Vegas – and the rest of America – by

MMA or free-fighting mixes karate, Thai boxing, judo, wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
MMA or free-fighting mixes karate, Thai boxing, judo, wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu
Mustapha Kessous

LAS VEGAS - No body armor or helmets, just tattooed skin and shaved heads, or maybe a Mohawk. The only weapons are muscles and fists of steel. The goal? To be the best Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter in the world. To win the title, these modern gladiators do battle night after night, not on a karate mat or in a boxing ring, but squared off inside a metal cage.

MMA or free-fighting is a worldwide phenomenon that mixes karate, Thai boxing, judo, wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. It has developed over the past 10 years through the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, which has its bulging fan base in a frenzy. Every UFC fight night is an event, especially if it takes place in Las Vegas.

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Russia

When Mom Believes Putin: A Russian Family Torn Apart Over Ukraine Invasion

Sisters Rante and Satu Vodich fled Russia because they could no longer bear to live under Putin — but their mother believes state propaganda about the war. Her daughters are building a new life for themselves in Georgia.

A mother and her daughter on a barricade in Kyiv

Steffi Unsleber

TBILISI — On a gloomy afternoon in May, Rante Vodich gets the keys to her new home. A week earlier, the 27-year-old found this wooden shed in Tbilisi, with a corrugated iron roof and ramshackle bathroom. The shed next door houses an old bed covered in dust. Vodich refers to the place as a “studio” and pays $300 per month in rent. She says finding the studio is the best thing that’s happened to her since she came to Georgia. It is her hope for the future.

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Her younger sister Satu Vodich is around 400 kilometers further west, in the city of Batumi on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, surrounded by Russian tourists, Ukrainian flags, skyscrapers with sea views and the run-down homes of local residents.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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