31-Year-Old UFC Lightweight 22-3-0
February 14, 2018 Rustam Khabilov News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Khabilov was forced to withdraw from his fight against Kajan Johnson at UFC London on March 17 due to an undisclosed injury, Peter Carroll of MMAFighting.com reports.
According to Khabilov's personal Instagram account, a knee injury is the culprit for his withdrawal. A rough Google translation suggested that Khabilov had to undergo a procedure to remove multiple cysts. The promotion was ultimately able to secure a replacement, as Johnson will now go up against Stevie Ray in the lightweight bout.
Rustam Khabilov: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisKhabilov took part in just one fight in 2017, defeated Des Green in a unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 115 back in September. This puts him in a similar position as his opponent, with Johnson's last fight coming just one week after Khabilov. Khabilov has an overall record of 8-2 in the UFC and is currently riding a streak of five straight victories in the Octagon.
Fantasy AnalysisThis battle between wrestlers turned into a striking contest. Khabilov was not very accurate, but he continued to push forward throughout the fight. Green landed a fair share of shots, but Khabilov continued to move forward and land shots. This was not a very impressive performance, but Khabilov continues to win fights in the lightweight division and inches closer to a title shot. He improved to 22-3 overall and 8-2 in the UFC.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was an easy night at the office for the Russian. He won the striking battle by a count of 93-43, he landed four of five takedown attempts, and he tallied more than a full round's worth of control time. One of the most underrated lightweights on the roster, Khabilov has won four fights in a row and is 7-2 in his nine career UFC fights. All four of those wins have come via decision, which could be a problem for Khabilov when he returns to facing competition better than Saggo, but this are looking up for the 30-year-old.
Fantasy AnalysisKhabilov didn't win Round 1, regardless of what one judge said, but he was in firm control the rest of the way. Khabilov's impressive all-around game has served him well throughout his time with the company. He doesn't excel in any one particular area, but he has no weaknesses and that makes him very difficult to game plan for. The Russian has now won three fights in a row (all in 2016) and his career UFC record is an impressive 6-2. Khabilov is an easy top-15 lightweight at this point.
Fantasy AnalysisWith a 5-2 record in seven fights with the company, Khabilov continues to do good work in the UFC's lightweight division. He already has a main event showcase under his belt (he lost to Benson Henderson in a fight in which Khabilov started strong before fading) and his performances have been particularly impressive when taking into account the quality opposition he has faced. Khabilov was originally due to face Reza Madadi here before Madadi had to withdraw due to injury.
Fantasy AnalysisFacing a fellow wrestling-based fighter, Khabilov excelled. He was able to drag Wade to the mat at will and when the fight was in doubt early in Round 3, he kept Wade planted on his back for the remainder of the contest. Perhaps most impressive was the fact that Khabilov was able to eat a flying kick to his face that would have finished any other mere mortal. He shrugged it off immediately and went right back to work. It was a strong, strong effort. Khabilov has now won back-to-back fights and he is 5-2 in his UFC career.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was Khabilov's first win since November 2013. Knowing that the strength of his game is his wrestling, Khabilov went to the takedown early and often, landing six of his nine attempts throughout the 15-minute fight. And although he hit a bit of a lull in the middle of the bout, Khabilov was the more effective striker of the two men. Khabilov's striking game has never made the necessary advancements in order for him to beat top-10 fighters, but he is certainly a good enough wrestler to beat an opponent who can't defend a takedown.
Fantasy AnalysisKhabilov will instead give way to Jim Miller, who will take the fight on just over a month's notice. It's a disappointing turn of events for Khabilov, who owns a 17-3 professional record, but has lost his last two bouts in the promotion. He's just 28 years old, however, so there should be plenty of time for him to resurface in the lightweight division.