Kicking off the UFC Vegas 27 card on Saturday night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, was a lightweight showdown. That saw Rafael Alves, returning from a scrapped fight with Pat Sabatini where he badly missed weight, go up against Damir Ismagulov.
Given the weight issues, one might have expected Alves to be shown the door. But when the story behind the miss came out — his wife’s miscarriage weighing heavily on him — getting a second chance was more than understandable.
After a backflip from Alves during the introductions, both fighters took the center of the octagon. Alves hit Ismagulov with a 1-2, which dropped him, and Alves jumped on his neck for a guillotine. That was the last bright spot from Alves for a while. Ismagulov eventually popped his head out and got on top of Alves. Ismagulov was landing some short punches on Alves’ head and then was throwing punches to his body. Really softening Alves up. Ismagulov got to his feet while Alves laid on his back. Ismagulov hit Alves in his stomach and then decided to go back into Alves’ guard. With under a minute left in the fight, Ismagulov was landing nasty elbows. Ismagulov ended the round landing ground and pound.
Both fighters met at center for round two. Ismagulov opened with a high kick but missed. Alves rushed Ismagulov as he did in round one and landed a few punches. Alves landed a leg kick, and Ismagulov jabbed him back. Alves threw a punch, but Ismagulov countered with a heavy jab which hurt Alves. Ismagulov hit him with another heavy right hand. Halfway in, and Ismagulov sat Alves down with a left hand, but Alves popped right back up. Ismagulov landed a nice upper and jab. With just over a minute left in the round, Alves shot for a takedown, but Ismagulov got the upper hand instead. Ismagulov ended the round on top again.
Did you HEAR that 😳
— UFC (@ufc) May 22, 2021
The fighters hugged each other to start round three. Ismagulov threw a front kick but missed. Alves landed a step in right hand and then followed it up with a flying knee that missed. Ismagulov shot for a takedown, but Alves grabbed a guillotine which Ismagulov popped right out of. Both men got to their feet. Ismagulov landed a very heavy body kick, but Alves shook it off. 1:45 left, and Ismagulov shot for a takedown after Alves landed a hook. Ismagulov ended the fight with Alves against the fence. A better round for Alves, perhaps, but not enough in the end.
Ismagulov continues his perfect UFC record and should be close to a top 15 fight.
Official Result: Damir Ismagulov def. Rafael Alves by unanimous decision (29–28, 29–28, 29–28)