UFC Saudi Arabia: Rinat Fakhretdinov Bests Nicolas Dalby In Fun Scrap

Rinat Fakhretdinov and Nicolas Dalby, UFC Saudi Arabia
Rinat Fakhretdinov and Nicolas Dalby, UFC Saudi Arabia ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Youtube/UFC

The lone welterweight fight on the UFC Saudi Arabia card on Saturday, June 22 found Rinat Fakhretdinov facing off with Nicolas Dalby.

Fakhretdinov was unbeaten in his UFC career, but coming off a draw against Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, while Dalby was winner of four straight, meaning the fight might leave the winner within striking distance of the top 15.

The first round began with the two fighters getting right to it on the feet. Rinat threw multiple punch combinations right out of the gate. Dalby answered with a well-placed leg kick and punch combinations of his own before he engaged in the clinch. The two men disengaged and returned to space with Rinat landing a solid left hook. Dalby was mixing the kicks in well, especially the teep. And midway through the round Rinat threw a nice combination before he got in deep on a single. Dalby displayed excellent balance and was able to successfully fend off Fakhretdinov’s takedown, clinching against the cage.

When the two men returned to space, Rinat was able to land a big right hand that sat down Nicolas. Dalby popped back up, but Rinat again flurried and was able to successfully land a takedown against the cage. Dalby regained his base and returned to his feet. In the final seconds Rinat landed a huge knee that was a huge moment at the end of the round.

To open the second round, both men got right back into action, striking. Dalby was again throwing a diverse number of strikes. Rinat found a well-timed takedown as Dalby began to get more aggressive throw punches. Nicolas was able to immediately work back up to his feet where he tried for a body lock takedown of his own.

Halfway through the round and both men disengaged from the clinch to strike. Dalby again landed nice combinations that featured kicks to the body and head. With a minute left in the round Dalby landed a thudding head kick. Rinat returned with a double leg takedown pinning Nicloas on his bottom, back against the cage. Rinat landed short punches as Dalby returned to his feet and the round ended.

The final round opened with Rinat finding success on the feet with his boxing before looking for another takedown. Dalby was able to defend the takedown as Rinat Fakretdinov pinned him up against the cage. Nicolas was able to momentarily escape before again being successfully taken down to the ground. With two minutes left in the round, Dalby was able to regain his feet before he was quickly taken down yet again. But, in a scramble, Dalby took control on the ground and stood up.

With about 80 seconds left in the fight you could see both fighters really digging deep as the takedown attempts and pressure from Rinat was relentless.  In the final seconds of the fight, both men swung wildly to the final bell with Dalby landing a few good shots, to the roar of the crowd.

Official Decision: Rinat Fakhretdinov def. Nicolas Dalby by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)