UFC Vegas 66: Rinat Fakhretdinov Dominates TUF Winner Bryan Battle, Extends Win Streak to Eighteen

Bryan Battle and Rinat Fakhretdinov, UFC Vegas 66
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 17: (R-L) Rinat Fakhretdinov of Russia takes down Bryan Battle in a welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on December 17, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

‘The Ultimate Fighter season 29 winner Bryan Battle took on Rinat Fakhretdinov, owner of a 18-fight winning streak, on the prelims of UFC Vegas 66.

This was Battle’s second welterweight fight after he won ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ up at middleweight and he looked to improve to 2-0 in his new division while Fakhretdinov, a prolific Russian wrestler, looked to improve to 2-0 in the UFC overall.

Fakhretdinov immediately pressured forward and landed a takedown just twenty seconds into the fight. Battle looked to get to a hip and get a Kimura grip but Fakhretdinov stayed heavy on top although the Russian did little damage. Battle scooted his butt to the fence and tried to throw up an armbar but Fakhretdinov extricated his arm and rained down hammerfists. One huge left hand was especially notable as it sat Battle on his back again when he had been trying to wall-walk to his feet. With just ten seconds left in the round Battle threw up a triangle attempt that started to get close but the round ended before he could make anything of it.

Fakhretdinov and Battle traded strikes in the center when the second round started but then Rinat level changed and landed a takedown only ten seconds in. He dropped down some big ground and pound with elbows and hammerfists in that first minute while Battle only attempted submissions off his back but was unable or unwilling to use them to stand up. Halfway through the round Battle finally struggled to his feet. Fakhretdinov controlled him with a rear body-lock until Battle turned into him and attempted a modified guillotine. Unfortunately for him it slipped out when he tried to go to his back to finish it and Fakhretdinov once again had a strong top position.

Battle came out in the final round using his kicks to keep distance but Rinat pressed him backwards and then suddenly dropped Bryan with a massive right overhand, after which he got back to his dominant top control. Two minutes into the round Battle got to his feet momentarily but once again Rinat pulled him back to the mat. Battle did have more success getting to his feet as he did so once more with two minutes left in the fight, but when Bryan attempted a switch in the clinch Fakhretdinov was able to once again put him on his butt with a double leg. With twenty seconds left Battle got to his feet once more and once more Fahkretdinov landed a takedown, passing fourteen minutes of control time right before the final buzzer sounded.

There were no questions who would get the nod from the judges as they all scored the fight three rounds to nil in favor of Rinat Fakhretdinov whose dominant performance improved him to 2-0 in the UFC, extended his winning streak to nineteen, and handed Bryan Battle his first loss in the promotion. Two judges even gave Fakhretdinov a pair of 10-8 rounds, resulting in 30-25 scorecards.

Official Result: Rinat Fakhretdinov def. Bryan Battle by Unanimous Decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-27)