After 5th straight UFC win, Rustam Khabilov wants Kevin Lee to know 'I'm chasing' you


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ROTTERDAM – After adding a fifth victory to his winning streak on Saturday, lightweight Rustam Khabilov didn’t have to look far to spot his next target.

Well, one of his targets, anyway.

After edging out Desmond Green (20-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC) to earn a unanimous-decision win, which streamed on UFC Fight Pass from Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands, Khabilov (22-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) was – predictably – asked who he’d like to fight next. He seemed to have that one pretty figured out already.

“That was Michael Johnson in the corner of Desmond Green, and I wish to fight with him,” Khabilov said through an interpreter.

But Johnson, who’s coming off a TKO loss to Justin Gaethje at a memorable TUF 25 Finale affair, isn’t the only one on Khabilov’s mind.

“There’s another fighter who’s talking a lot of smack, who’s talking a lot of trash,” Green said. “That’s Kevin Lee. He was talking a lot of (expletive) about me, about the whole wrestling game and stuff. And I challenged him. I was tweeting him, and he was responding back.

“And he said, ‘I’m going to fight with you anywhere, anytime.’ But when things get real, he just disappears somewhere/ I don’t know. Now he’s talking. He’s trying to fight for the interim (belt). But I want to let him know that I’m chasing him.”

That matchup seems unlikely now, being that Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) is currently scheduled to meet fellow contender Tony Ferguson in a UFC 216 showdown for the division’s interim title. Johnson (17-12 MMA, 9-8 UFC), in turn, remains unbooked – but seems to be headed for the featherweight division.

In any case, Khabilov has earned the right to put in some requests. After a rough 2014-2015 period that saw him snap a six-fight winning streak with back-to-back losses to ex-champ Benson Henderson and Adriano Martins, Khabilov bounced back with four wins in an undefeated 2016 campaign.

Khabilov wasn’t able to keep up the same pace this year due to injuries. But with his first 2017 scrap – and win – in the bag, he’s on the right track when it comes to his objectives.

“The goal was to get in the top 15,” Khabilov said. “Because I used to be in the top 15 before. And it’s like a renewing of my career, after the two losses. Last year, 2016, I did really well. I did the four fights.

“This is my 10th fight in the UFC, and that was the motivation: Get to the top, get my position back, and fight the best in the division.”

After the lightweight scrap, Green made sure to let people know that he wasn’t in agreement with with how the judges viewed it (via Twitter):

Instagram Photo

On his end, while certainly happier than his opponent, Khabilov wasn’t entirely satisfied with how things ended either.

“Honestly, I’m not very happy that I ended the fight with a decision,” Khabilov said. “Because I was looking for the finish. But, after my last fight in December, I had two surgeries – on my knee and on my shoulder. And I had a one-year layoff. I think that’s affected the fight.

“And the opponent, himself, he’s the kind of opponent who’s not fighting himself, (he’s) defensive, and he’s not attacking. All the time, just running away, running away. This kind of stylistic matchup is not very good.”

To hear from Khabilov, check out the video above.

And for complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Filed under: News, UFC, Videos
Source: MMA Junkie

UFC-Rotterdam results: Rustam Khabilov's aggression earns him win over Desmond Green

In a battle of two gifted wrestlers, Rustam Khabilov simply outworked Desmond Green en route to a unanimous-decision win.

The lightweight bout took place on the prelims of Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 115 event, which streamed live on UFC Fight Pass from Ahoy Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

The two wrestlers opened with a few spirited striking exchanges, but the inevitable clinch followed, and the ensuing scrambles entertained. However, both men refused to settle for an inferior position and reset to the feet. From there, Khabilov moved inside and scored a few powerful takedowns, but Green always worked back to his feet and reset to safety. Both men kept a high pace until the bell.

Khabilov opened the second with a big overhand right before the two settled in the pocket and again looked to trade. Some light bruising was evident on Khabilov’s lead leg, but Green largely preferred punches in his attacks. A straight left landed clean for Green, who seemed to gain confidence with each passing second and seemed to somehow be picking up his pace. Khabilov did get deep on a takedown attempt, but again, Green shrugged him off and popped back to his feet.

Following two competitive rounds, both men seemed fresh to start the third. Green remained up to the challenge of Khabilov’s takedowns but struggled to set the tone with much offense of his own. The two seemed closely matched in every exchange, but it was Khabilov who was generally the aggressor. Green did get a takedown and move to the back, but it was in the very final seconds of the contest, but it was too little, too late, and Khabilov took a decision win, 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 on the judges’ cards.

Khabilov (22-3 MMA, 8-2 UFC) now boasts a five-fight winning streak, while Green (20-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC) sees his own five-fight run come to an end.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 115 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 115, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie

Trio of fights, including Desmond Green vs. Rustam Khabilov, set for UFC's return to Rotterdam

The UFC’s return to the Netherlands has started to build with the reported addition of a trio of bouts.

According to reports from Dutch news outlet, the UFC’s “Fight Night” event in Rotterdam in September will feature Desmond Green (20-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Rustam Khabilov (21-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) and Islam Makhachev (14-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) vs. Michel Prazeres (22-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) at lightweight, plus Abdul-Kerim Edilov (16-4 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Bojan Mihajlovic (10-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC) at light heavyweight.

The UFC’s “Fight Night” event in Rotterdam in the Netherlands takes place Sept. 2 and is expected to stream in full on UFC Fight Pass. The card is headlined by Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov.

Desmond Green

Green, a Bellator veteran and former Titan FC featherweight champion, made his promotional debut earlier this year against Josh Emmett at UFC 210 in Buffalo and took a split decision, giving him five straight wins. His most recent loss came in September 2015, when he was outpointed by Andre Harrison in an attempt to reclaim Titan’s 145-pound title.

After starting 3-0 in his UFC tenure with wins over Vinc Pichel, Yancy Medeiros and a “Fight of the Night” decision over Jorge Masvidal, Khabilov dropped two straight for the first time in his career. He was submitted by Benson Henderson in the UFC Fight Night 42 main event, then lost a split call to Adriano Martins. But since then, he has bounced back with four straight unanimous decision victories over Norman Parke, Chris Wade, Leandro Silva and most recently Jason Saggo at UFC 206 this past December – though Khabilov missed weight for that fight.

Islam Makhachev

Makhachev has won back-to-back fights since suffering the lone loss of his pro career, a knockout against Adriano Martins at UFC 192. In his lone fight of 2016, he took a decision from Wade in Texas. And at UFC 208 in February, he cruised past Nik Lentz, including a pair of 30-25 scores.

Michel Prazeres

Brazil’s Prazeres has won four straight and six of his past seven. Five of those six wins have come by decision against Jesse Ronson, Mairbek Taisumov, Valmir Lazaro, J.C. Cottrell and Gilbert Burns. But in March, he picked up a “Performance of the Night” bonus for a north-south choke submission of Josh Burkman at UFC Fight Night 106.

Bojan Mihajlovic

Serbia’s Mihajlovic is in need of a rebound after dropping his first two fights in the UFC. He faced a tough test in his promotional debut at UFC on FOX 20 in Chicago nearly a year ago and was knocked out by Francis Ngannou in 94 seconds. At UFC Fight Night 103 in January, he was stopped by a Joachim Christensen TKO in the third round. Mihajlovic had come to the UFC on a 10-fight winning streak on the heels of an 0-3 start to his pro career.

Edilov will make his UFC debut on the strength of a 10-fight winning streak that five rear-naked choke stoppages and five TKOs. The 25-year-old Russian has 15 finishes in his 16 career wins with a near-perfect split of eight knockouts and seven submissions. He hasn’t lost in more than four years.

With the additions, UFC “Fight Night” in Rotterdam now includes:

  • Stefan Struve vs. Alexander Volkov
  • Islam Makhachev vs. Michel Prazeres
  • Desmond Green vs. Rustam Khabilov
  • Abdul-Kerim Edilov vs. Bojan Mihajlovic

For more on UFC Fight Night in Rotterdam, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Filed under: News, UFC
Source: MMA Junkie