A very competitive middleweight fight at UFC 245 saw Omari Akhmedov build up a lead early, then hang on to defeat Ian Heinisch.
Middleweight notable Ian Heinisch was back in the octagon Saturday night. The fighter, whose prison-to-octagon redemption story has turned heads, entered UFC 245 off the first loss of his UFC career, against Derek Brunson. He was looking to bounce back against Omari Akhmedov. The Russian had, frankly, been on a tear of late.
Heinisch was active with his kicks early, but it was a left hand that had Akhmedov backing up. The pair were trading heavy blows in the opening minute, with Heinisch eating a hard hook. He’d remain calm, move out of the line of fire, and regroup at center. Askhmedov, meanwhile, was able to land an overhand, while Heinisch struggled to find his range.
Akhmedov’s kicks to Heinisch’s lead leg seemed to have taken a toll early. One of Heinisch’s own kicks, meanwhile, was caught, though he eascaped harm. Near the final minute, Akhmedov shot for a takedown, hoisted his opponent up, and slammed him down. A strong finish to a strong round for Omari Akhmedov.
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Round two had Heinisch still struggling to find his range. He would throw a spinning kick, and at least in the first half of the round, Akhmedov’s output had slowed just a tad. At the midway mark he’d pursue a takedown up against the fence, staying on it. Heinisch would drop briefly, get right back up, and repeat the cycle before they moved back to center. As the round wore down, this time it was Heinisch looking for a takedown of his own. He landed it with just seconds left.
The second frame was an improvement for Ian Heinisch, but he may not have done enough to win the round. It would certainly be close, and the third round key. Heinisch’s corner seemed to agree between rounds, calling for the finish. Early, however, Heinisch was stymied. Akhmedov found success going to the body with a left. An uppercut later slid through Heinisch’s guard as well. Heinisch would then press Akhmedov up against the cage, but the Russian fought him off. A right hand then landed for Heinisch, and a knee that was originally thrown as a kick. Akhmedov was hurt, and down ever so briefly.
That was a glimmer of hope for Ian Heinisch, who began to really press in the final minute. He took Akhmedov down, and the tides had clearly turned. Some short punches forced a tired Akhmedov to give up his back. He’d escape back tp his feet, however, and the pair would battle it out to the final buzzer. As it expected, that second round had gone to Akhmedov, and he took the unanimous decision win.
Official Result: Omari Akhmedov def. Ian Heinisch by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)