UFC: Rustam Khabilov Beats Jorge Masvidal; Emerges A Contender

By Jeremy Green
Rustam Khabilov UFC
Joshua Lindsey-USA Today Sports

UFC Fight For The Troops 3 featured an exciting lightweight battle between Rustam Khabilov and Jorge Masvidal. Both lightweights put on an exciting fight for the troops. Both had their moments, but at the end of the day, the judges awarded Khabilov with the unanimous decision.

Coming into this bout, Masvidal was looking to build some momentum off his win over Michael Chiesa, a performance where he was able to secure a submission. In his bout with Khabilov, Masvidal showed great takedown defense, which was impressive because Khabilov has proved to be an elite grappler, particularly with his body-lock takedowns.

However, Khabilov landed some good strikes, including the most decisive strike in the third, a spinning back kick that landed flush on Masvidal. This kick almost finished the fight, and it was enough to give Khabilov the nod. Now Khabilov is on an impressive six-fight winning streak, sporting an overall record of 17-1. He’s going tough to deal with, especially if he can continue to develop his striking.

He has the grappling to compete with anyone in the lightweight division — that includes fighters like Gilbert Melendez, Anthony Pettis and Ben Henderson.

A great opponent for Khabilov’s next would be against Ben Henderson. Henderson has been one of the best lightweights in the world for years, and it would be a great test to see where Khabilov truly lies in the lightweight division. Both are known for pushing the pace on their opponents, so it could be a barn-burner of a fight.

Jeremy Green is a MMA and NFL contributor at RantSports. You can follow him on FacebookTwitter, or Google Plus.

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