Highly touted prospects Makhmud Muradov and Caio Borralho went at it at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi. Muradov suffered his first UFC loss in his last fight, after a three fight winning streak to start his UFC career, while Borralho has won both of his UFC fights. Many saw this fight as a striking vs grappling matchup with Muradov being primarily a striker and knockout artist while Caio is a great grappler. Still, both men are well rounded and the fight could be competitive anywhere.
The southpaw Borralho came out in his bouncy karate stance, looking to kick. Muradov landed a big right hand after a minute to the head of Caio, who then staggered Muradov back with a stiff jab. Two minutes in Borralho shot a power double leg and drove Muradov to the mat. Caio settled in half guard but Makhmud was able to regain full guard even as he ate elbows. Muradov tried to push Borralho off but Caio jumped right back on top of him and gained the full mount. As Borralho looked to lock up an arm triangle choke, Muradov suddenly exploded and let his back get taken to make something happen. As Makhmud stood up he shook Borralho over the top of his head. Caio ended up on bottom after failing an armbar. Caio then executed a sudden sweep, but Muradov disengaged and, after eating an upkick, ended up back on top in full guard.
A minute and a half into the second round Muradov shot a takedown of his own and almost got submitted by a tight guillotine. He was forced to roll to his back and Caio bailed on the choke to end up on top, in half guard. Borralho was then able to pass to full mount once again but Muradov wiggled out from underneath and got on top in full guard. Borralho was able to scoot his butt to the fence but Muradov kept him from wall walking to his feet. In the last ten seconds Borralho got a guillotine choke and Muradov was forced to roll but it came to nothing in the end as the bell sounded.
With the scorecards likely tied, the final round was crucial for winning the fight. The fighters stayed on the feetfor a while until Caio shot a takedown after a minute, but Muradov pushed him away. Muradov then shot a takedown of his own and Caio tried to lock up another guillotine. It was not tight initially but Borralho tightened it up and was able to use the guillotine to reverse the position and once again gain full mount. However, Muradov then re-guarded to full guard. Muradov tried to push off Borralho with his feet on the hips but Borralho jumped right back on top. Short ground and pound kept landing from Caio, not doing insane damage, but just enough. Grappling struggles took up the rest of the fight but Borralho maintained top position throughout and the fight ended with him trying to land ground and pound despite the wrist control of Muradov.
When the scorecards were read, all three judges scored the fight for Caio Borralho, with two judges having all three rounds for the Brazilian.
Caio Borralho def. Makhmud Muradov by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)