In an interview with Buddha Sport, Muay Thai champion Vuyisile Colossa confirmed he would be fighting Sambo champion Rustam Khabilov at ONE FC in Malaysia next month. It will be the second time which both men have fought for the promotion with Colossa demolishing Ma Xing Yue in Singapore in September and Khabilov overpowering Rodrig Ribeiro in Jakarta in February.
Stylistically you could not find two more different fighters as Colossa is an out and out striker who has better stand up then arguably any other lightweight mixed martial artist in the world. Khabilov is a world class Sambo fighter who likes to put opponents on their back and beat them up and has a proven track record of doing just this.
In MMA terms Khabilov is much more experienced because he has a stellar 13-1 record with his only loss coming by way of split decision. Colossa is a comparative newcomer to the sport and has a 4-2 record but he has never been stopped and his losses were to top ranked opponents Yui Chul Nam and Eduard Folayang.
Colossa is one of the best Muay Thai fighters to ever turn his hand to MMA and has fought Yodsaenklai Fairtex no fewer than four times. His style of stand up is very suited to the sport because he likes to use his hands a lot, has devastating low kicks and if he can back an opponent up onto the cage will explode with elbows and knees.
Colossa's is not the patient points scoring style which has cost him a few decisions in Muay Thai but makes him a particularly devastating striker in MMA, as you can see here:
Vuyisile Colossa vs. Ma Xing Yu (via officialsherdog)
Both fighters are extremely aggressive and explosive but this is where the similarities end. Khabilov trains with Greg Jackson and the gameplan for him in this fight will be to get a hold of the South African, pick him up, put him down and keep him there while doing as much damage as possible.
As Khabilov demonstrated against Ribeiro he is not a patient fighter and will look to land strikes as frequently as possible from every position. He came very close to finishing that fight and the Brazilian showed incredible endurance and willpower as well as an iron chin to survive the 15 minute onslaught.
The Russian will never have fought anyone with Colossa's calibre of striking and it will be a completely different challenge from the one he faced against Ribeiro who is a BJJ black belt. If the fight stays standing for any length of time it could be a long night for the Russian who likes to use his hands but might think twice about getting involved in stand up exchanges with such an accomplished kickboxer.
Both Colossa's losses have come against opponents who took him to the ground in order to neutralize his stand up. Folayang landed takedown after takedown in the first two rounds to secure a decision while Nam survived being dropped early on to impose his wrestling in the later stages of the fight.
Neither Nam nor Folayang have the same sort of powerful takedowns as Khabilov does though, as best showcased in this encounter:
Rustam Habilov Vs. Akin Duran (via dagfighters)
Colossa's four wins have all been by stoppage and surprisingly, given that he comes from such a strong stand up background, he has two submissions to his name. This should be a very entertaining contest because both fighters like to be on the front foot and to do damage when they are in their element.
If Colossa can keep the fight standing, and reportedly his takedown defence is improving rapidly, he will be able to punish Khabilov but if the Russian can get Colossa down then he will set about using some of his brutal ground and pound.
Given his superior record and experience Khabilov will be the favourite but it is a tremendous opportunity for Colossa to show why he is one of the most feared strikers in the entire MMA world. ONE FC's Kuala Lumpur card has yet to be revealed but this must be an early candidate for fight of the night.