Rustam Khabilov used his grappling and takedowns to pick up a victory over Sergey Khandozhko at UFC Moscow.
Welterweights Rustam Khabilov and Sergey Khandozhko threw down on the preliminary portion of UFC Moscow on Saturday. Khandozhko had won his promotional debut in June against Rostem Akman, and brought a three-fight win streak with him to the CSKA Arena. Khabilov, meanwhile, had a six-fight win streak snapped when he dropped a unanimous decision to Carlos Diego Ferreira back in February.
Khandozhko, born in Moscow, would likely have the crowd on his side Saturday.
Sergey landed leg kicks, moving back to start the fight. Rustam was trying to push the pace early but was having trouble with the reach of Sergey. However, he shot in on a takedown and got the fight into a clinch up against the cage. From there Rustam was unable to get the takedown, and the ref eventually separated them from the clinch. However, Rustam immediately shot in for another takedown, but was unable to get the fight to the ground as time ran out in the first round.
Rustam shot for a takedown to start the second round, however, Sergy’s takedown defense was perfect up against the fence. After a few minutes of defending, Rustam was able to get the takedown on the bigger fighter. Sergey returned to his feet, however, he was slammed down again by Rustam. Rustam was smothering Sergey up against the cage, landing knees to the body. Sergey was able to reverse the position to end the round on the feet.
Sergey tried to make up for the lost time to open the third and got taken down as a result. Getting taken down following a great level change by Rustam, Khandozhko was in a bad spot. Sergey would get taken down again after getting back to his feet, and Rustam Khabilov would work his way into half-guard. Rustam would then move into full guard and land punches from the top. The referee kept warning Rustam to be active, but Sergey was doing a great job of minimizing the damage. However, he opened up with ground and pound to end the round and fight.
— UFC (@ufc) November 9, 2019
Official Result: Rustam Khabilov def. Sergey Khandozkho by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)