Tagir Ulanbekov had to grind his way to victory to open up UFC Fight Island 5 in his promotional debut against Bruno Silva.
On a night that featured a small invasion of debuting fighters, it was fitting to see the UFC Fight Island 5 card open with fresh blood entering the promotion’s flyweight division. The smallest of the men’s weight classes in terms of stature and numbers, fresh contenders were always welcome. And newcomer Tagir Ulanbekov had a chance to make a statement upon arrival against Bruno Silva, who was still in search of his first win inside the octagon.
Both guys came out trading big strikes with both having some success early on. Silva was landing some powerful leg kicks but Ulanbekov was still coming forward. Ulanbekov was countering well and landing better with his hands but his lead leg was getting chewed up. Wisely, Ulanbekov took Silva down. Not long after, though, Silva got back to his feet and attacked again with leg kicks. The round ended on the feet with good work from both guys.
The action resumed in round two with both guys getting to it. Silva found a home for the leg kick a lot and forced the action. Ulanbekov was still coming forward and got another nice body lock takedown. Silva was fighting the position, using the cage to get back up but Ulanbekov was all over him. After two more takedowns from Ulanbekov, Silva got one of his own in the closing seconds. A battle for position in round two.
Ulanbekov was finding his range in round three, landing crisp combinations and slipping punches from Silva. Ulanbekov failed to get the fight to the mat as Silva was sprawling and getting top position briefly. Even though Ulanbekov was landing the jab, he continued to clinch and try to get the fight grounded. He did get the fight down, but not long as Silva got back up with a sweep, briefly landing in top position. The fight ended with both guys swinging wild at the bell.
Tagir Ulanbekov def. Bruno Silva by Unanimous Decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)