With the main event of the night being cancelled with the UFC Vegas 65 card already underway, it gave even more shine to a welterweight match-up between Portugal’s Andre Fialho and his opponent, Muslim Salikhov.
Both striking welterweights were looking to return to the win column, coming in off the back of TKO losses. This match-up stood as Fialho’s fifth appearance in 2022, and he now ties the modern record for the most appearances in a calendar year.
Salikhov began the fight throwing his signature kicks, something he does extremely well. Fialho started the fight on his bike, circling Salikhov, calculating ways to get into range. Another leg kick from Salikhov was the only real action in the first two minutes of the fight. A quick 1-2 from Fialho was the start of him beginning to put on some pressure. Halfway through the round, Salikhov secured himself a single leg takedown, putting Fialho on his back, unexpectedly. Salikhov landed himself a body kick but received a big right hand for his troubles with the Russians eye swelling almost immediately. The highlight of the round fell to Fialho with the big counter right hook.
Salikhov, now visually impaired, decided to try and get his grappling going in the second stanza, and with that, landed a few heavy shots inside the clinch, slowing Fialho down momentarily. After two minutes of round two, you could tell Fialho had slowed down his pressure and had only thrown one strike. Salikhov decided to be the one to lead the dance and started dictating the fight with some unique shots that landed clean on Fialho. Another right hook and a body teep kick from Salikhov gave him the momentum of the round. Salikhov landed yet another heavy shot with Fialho dropping to the ground. Once the fight got to the ground, Fialho managed to regain some composure and the action halted.
Despite the fight coming extremely close to being stopped several times in the first two rounds, it made it to the final frame. A huge spinning back kick and right hook once again dropped Fialho to his backside with him getting up shortly after. Chris Tognoni began to take an extremely close look but then Salikhov landed a lightening fast spinning wheel kick on the chin of Fialho, and Tognoni stepped in and saved Fialho from any further impending damage.
Muslim Salikhov appears to have found a second wind in his career and returned to the win column Saturday.
Official Decision: Muslim Salikhov def. Andre Fialho by TKO, Round 3, 1:03