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

fight.

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.