Khabilov hype continues to grow

There was a mountain of hype surrounding Russian import Rustam
Khabilov heading into only his third fight in the UFC against
veteran lightweight contender Jorge Masvidal, but he did his best
to justify the excitement at least for one shining moment turning
the mundane into the spectacular.

The first two rounds between Khabilov and Masvidal ended up as a
battle of position with both fighters jockeying to get a leg up on
the other. Khabilov was content to stand on the outside and uncork
a power punch here and there while Masvidal countered with quick
punches and kicks concentrated to the body.

To his credit, Masvidal negated Khabilov’s notable Sambo game,
which garnered him a huge following after he literally tossed Vinc
Pichel around the cage via a series of suplexes in his UFC debut.
Without his takedowns working effectively, Khabilov returned to his
standup in the third round where he unloaded the best move of the

With Masvidal still trying to find his range, Khabilov measured
his man in an instant and unloaded a spinning head kick that
clipped the former Strikeforce fighter and sent him tumbling to the
mat. Khabilov quickly swarmed smelling blood in the water, but to
his credit Masvidal scrambled and rolled to stay out of trouble and
made it out of the exchange. The tone of the fight was set,
however, and Khabilov never looked back after landing the
thunderous kick.

When the final horn sounded the two fighters embraced as the
scores were all ready in favor of Khabilov by unanimous decision
win, all Masvidal could do was put his head down and applaud his
opponent’s performance.