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UFC Fight Night 61 results recap: Rustam Khabilov vs Adriano Martins fight review and analysis

Last night (Sun., Feb. 22, 2015), Rustam Khabilov and Adriano Martins went to war at UFC Fight Night 61 inside the Ginasio Gigantinho in Porto Alegre, Brazil. In a close bout, Martins won a decision over his Dagestani opponent. Find out how below!

Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweights Rustam Khabilov and Adriano Martins battled last night (Sun., Feb. 22, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 61 inside the Ginasio Gigantinho in Porto Alegre, Brazil.

After an impressive start to his UFC career, Khabilov faltered in his first chance against the elite when Benson Henderson submitted the Sambo specialist in the fourth round. Looking to get back into the win column, Khabilov brought it to his Brazilian foe last night.

Meanwhile, Martins recovered from his first UFC loss by brutalizing Juan Manuel Puig within a couple minutes. Looking to get into the top 15 rankings, Martins needed a high profile victory.

It wasn't particularly exciting, but Martins got the job done.

After a very tentative start to the first round by both men, Martins surprised his opponent with a quick takedown. The Dagestani fighter showed excellent composure from his back, as he briefly fought off a kimura setup and returned to his feet.

For the remainder of the round, Khabilov looked to step up his volume a bit. However, he was not able to connect on many strikes, leaving the Brazilian's takedown as the most significant moment of the opening frame.

The second round continued to crawl along as neither man really found his range. Since both fighters were frequently missing, the fight largely consisted of both men swinging, and missing, single strikes.

The pace increased a bit in the final two minutes of the round. Khabilov began to connect with some upwards elbows and uppercuts, which forced Martins to also increase his volume and pressure to match. Overall, Khabilov got the better of most of these exchanges, but Martins did stun him with a straight left to end the round.

In short, the fight could belong to either man heading into the final frame.

Both fighters knew they likely needed the third round to win, and it started a bit quicker. For the second time, Martins landed a strong double leg and moved into the half guard. This time, however, Martins landed his takedown in the center of the cage.

Quickly, Martins moved into mount. Just as it appeared that Martins may be making a serious move to control the fight, Khabilov recovered his guard and stood back up. Unfortunately, the pair of once aggressive fighters went back to their staring match, until Khabilov looked to push forward with 20 seconds left.

He was met with a takedown from the Brazilian.

In the end, the judges acknowledged how close the fight was, as Martins earned a split decision.

Despite Martins hesitancy, he did a couple of things well. Overall, the Southpaw has proven just how dangerous his left hand is once again, as he did rock "The Tiger" at the end of the second round. If he had relied on it a bit more and thrown some kicks in for good measure, he likely would've been able to really take control of this bout.

Admittedly, Martins' wrestling was pretty excellent in this fight. Not only did he stuff each of his opponent's takedown attempts, but he scored three takedowns of his own against the Sambo specialist. In a fight with very few highlights, this was likely enough to earn him the win.

It may have been ugly, but Martins has earned a place inside the top 15 and another shot at a top ten fighter. For his next bout, a match up with Myles Jury could make sense, as Donald Cerrone handed both men their sole loss inside the Octagon.

Khabilov simply couldn't put it together tonight. He failed to find his range at any point, which led to him missing a huge number of his strikes. On the few occasions he really tried to push forward and punch, Khabilov found himself on the wrong end of a takedown.

On a related note, Khabilov did not set himself up for success with his wrestling attempts. He took a couple of shots, but Khabilov never tried to transition into the clinch, which is his best position. Against the physically imposing Martins, Khabilov needed to get into his best position if he wanted to drag the Brazilian down to the mat.

For Khabilov's next performance, he should take on the loser of next week's collision of Tony Ferguson and Gleison Tibau.

At UFC Fight Night 61, Adriano Martins inched past Rustam Khabilov. How far can the Brazilian climb in the talent-rich lightweight division?

For complete UFC Fight Night 61 results and play-by-play, click HERE.

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