Middleweight action at UFC 264 saw Omari Akhmedov up against Brad Tavares on the early preliminary card.
The fight saw both men looking to put together back-to-back wins after getting their hand raised last time out.
The beginning of the fight was largely a feeling out process. Both men looked to find their range with neither landing very much. A nice one-two landed from Tavares and it sent Akhmedov into wrestling mode. He ran Tavares into the cage with a big double that he finished, but Tavares got right back up. They separated, but only for a second — as Akhmedov landed a big right hand that stunned Tavares and put him on the seat of his pants. He got right back up though, and they stayed clinched against the cage until the Russian landed a groin strike that warranted a quick break. After the restart, a failed single-leg from Akhmedov led to him eating a few shots right before the bell.
The aggression was much higher for both men starting off the second round. Brad Tavares seemed to be landing more of the shots. Akhmedov looked to change the narrative and worked another takedown. Similar to the ones before, he didn’t see much time on top. As the round went on, Tavares began to score on some big leg kicks that appeared to hurt Akhmedov. Akhmedov adjusted to that gameplan and began to land a big straight shot any time Tavares threw the leg kick, landing with a couple flush and even getting an acknowledgement from Tavares.
More of the same to start the third. Leg kicks from Tavares. Straights from Akhmedov. A leg kick of Tavares actually took Akhmedov off his feet for a brief moment — which could have been the biggest moment of the fight for Tavares. Akhmedov then began to land some of his own leg kicks and the damage on Tavares was visible. The last minute of the fight saw a big shot from Tavares apparently wobble Akhmedov and bloody his nose up. That might have been enough for Tavares to take the fight, but each of the rounds were fairly close.
Official Result: Brad Tavares def. Omari Akhmedov by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)