Karl Roberson picked up a gritty win over the debuting Roman Kopylov at UFC Moscow.
After originally being booked to make his UFC debut in St. Petersburg earlier this year, Roman Kopylov finally made his first trip to the octagon Saturday at UFC Moscow. Kopylov, an undefeated Russian middleweight, had been expected to debut against Krzysztof Jotko back in April. Injury scuttled that, and instead, he’d put his 8-0 record on the line against Karl Roberson on Saturday.
Roberson started off the fight by pressuring Kopylov. Landing some 1-2s on the Russian, he was looking for the left straight hand early and often. Roberson landed a few head kicks, but they barely grazed Kopylov. Kopylov took a few minutes to get started, as Roberson kept him on the back foot for the majority of the first round. However near the end of the first round, he landed a 1-2 that gave him confidence, however, Roberson kept on with the pressure and got into the clinch to head into round two.
Roberson continually landed leg kicks in the second. The damage was mounting on those as Kopylov’s legs were turning red. Kopylov’s hesitation with his striking only got worse as his legs started to go, and Roberson continued walking him down. Roberson’s leg kicks only became more damaging and more frequent as Koplov started to show vulnerability to them. Roberson walked him down throughout the second round and going into the third, Koplov was in a world of trouble.
Kopylov began turning it up in the third round, looking for a takedown before landing a beautiful combination moving forward. Roberson responded by landing more leg kicks to stop his attacks briefly; he got the fight into the clinch before abandoning it. Kopylov, however, continued his attacks, while Roberson was landing his kicks. The fight was starting to turn up in the final minutes before Kopylov poked Roberson in the eye resulting in a nasty cut. Roberson’s eyelid was bleeding very badly, however, the fight was allowed to continue, after a point was taken.
Kopylov started to look for the finish after his brutal eye poke, landing multiple combinations. However, Roberson stood his ground and looked for a takedown with 90 seconds left in the round. Roberson got the takedown and soon got the back, he then got the rear-naked choke soon thereafter. Kopylov was forced to tap, and another upset at UFC Moscow was delivered. A gutsy win for Karl Roberson.
Official Result: Karl Roberson def. Roman Kopylov by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 3, 4:01