Lightweight Rustam Khabilov continued to live up to the hype as he recorded the biggest victory of his UFC career at Fight for the Troops 3 in Kentucky.
The talented Russian registered a unanimous decision victory over gritty veteran Jorge Masvidal. “Tiger” made an immediate impact just seconds into the fight when he landed a huge right hand. Khabilov seemed to surprise “Gamebred” by looking to keep the fight a stand-up affair and doing better in the striking department.
Masvidal seemed to grow in confidence in the second round as he showed solid takedown defense and refused to allow himself to be rag-dolled and tossed around like Khabilov’s previous opponents. It was a round where both men were able to do some solid work.
The defining moment of the fight came in the third and final round. Khabilov landed an incredible spinning back kick to the head that staggered Masvidal. The veteran had to summon every ounce of courage to survive the rest of the way. Khabilov was victorious by scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 29-28.
Khabilov improved to 17 -1 with the victory and is now 3-0 in the Octagon. His initial appearance showcased his amazing suplex abilities when he finished Vinc Pichel in spectacular fashion. The Combat Sambo practitioner who rose to prominence within the M-1 promotion is clearly emerging as a fighter with great potential in the 155-pound division. Masvidal gave a good account of himself despite a loss that snapped his two-fight UFC win streak.
Fans will definitely be looking to see more of Khabilov in the future, as his level of competition is only bound to get better. Masvidal was definitely a step up in competition as he’s been in with some of the best during his career, including former Strikeforce champ and current top contender Gilbert Melendez. Khabilov passed his stiffest test with flying colors at Fort Campbell.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports