Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its presence known to CSKA Arena in Moscow, Russia, last night (Sat., Nov. 9, 2019) for UFC Fight Night 163. Like many regional “Fight Night” events, this card catered to the local crowd, featuring a ton of Russian talent. In addition, the headlining bout of Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Calvin Kattar was an excellent and high-level Featherweight contest with title implications.
In short, there were plenty of reasons to be interested in UFC ‘Moscow.’ Let’s take a closer look at the best techniques and performances of the night!
Zabit Magomedsharipov fights at a pretty absurd pace.
Halfway through the first round, UFC flashed a stat that Magomedsharipov had already attempted 60 strikes. 60! That’s an absurd number, and it grows much more difficult to deal with when the variety of Magomedsharipov is considered. It’s not like the Dagestani athlete was simply throwing dozens of 1-2s. No, Magomedsharipov was flicking kicks to all targets, spinning when he felt like it, and switching stances constantly.
It’s simply a lot to deal with. Kattar stayed measured and tried to fight behind his jab. To an extent, it worked pretty well, as Kattar managed to deny all his foe’s takedown attempts and never really absorbed much damage. However, he spent so much time reacting to Magomedsharipov’s bevvy of offense that by the time he finally was able to land his power shots, Kattar required a knockout to win.
There’s a lot of craft and technique behind Magomedsharipov’s success, but the bottom line is that throwing 200 unpredictable strikes will overwhelm even veteran foes.
Alexander Volkov defeated Greg Hardy last night, but it was hardly the Russian’s best performance.
A couple minutes into the first round, Volkov seemingly had his opponent fairly figured out. His jab was landing with good consistency, and Volkov was snapping up left kicks to target almost at will. Hardy jabbed back occasionally, but he really didn’t present much offense to deter his veteran foe.
Unfortunately, Volkov never really turned it up. You could count the number of right hands he throw on a single hand. It was a smooth, clear-cut victory for “Drago,” and perhaps that’s all he was really after given his loss to Lewis and subsequent layoff. However, it didn’t really improve his position in the division.
Front Kick TO THE FACE!
It might be time to forget about Magomed Ankalaev’s last-second submission loss to Paul Craig, because the 27-year-old Russian is seriously talented.
Opposite Dalcha Lungiambula, Ankalaev navigated dangerous waters. Lungiambula is not a perfect fighter, but he is ridiculously strong and powerful, a real finishing threat. Ankalaev smartly worked at distance, landing most of the strikes, until a real opportunity for the takedown emerged. Once in top position, Ankalaev displayed his brutal ground strikes, really exhausting the gas tank of his foe with bloodying him up.
Lungiambula was desperate in the third, but Ankalaev remained patient. From the outside, he fired a perfect front kick to the jaw. As Lungiambula began to fall back, Ankalaev was already crushing him with a follow up punch.
With this win, Ankalaev has won his last three fights, including two knockouts via high kick. It’s time for a step up in competition.
- Danny Roberts defeats Zelim Imadaev via second-round knockout: Man, this was a really fun fight. Both men had their moments, and the fight moved through all areas. Whether at range, in the clinch, or on the mat, the two athletes were focused on doing damage. It proved a grueling war of attrition, but Roberts’ experience proved the difference maker. In the clinch, he was able to land the harder knees by first focusing on controlling the posture, and ultimately, the finish came when Roberts kept his composure and executed a perfect counter punch while the two were trading leather.
- Ed Herman defeats Khadis Ibragimov via unanimous decision: At 39 years of age, Herman is still tough as an old leather boot. “Short Fuse” was gifted a clinch war by his opponent, which is pretty much the one area where Herman remains extremely dangerous. Over and over, Herman was able to use the frame to land elbows and knees. He destroyed Ibragimov’s nose, but the Russian continued to run into the clinch anyway, which only allowed Herman to pull away further.
- Rustam Khabilov defeats Sergey Khandozhko via unanimous decision: Do you love wall-wrestling with little change in position? If so, this is the fight for you.
- Karl Roberson defeats Roman Kopylov via third-round submission: Roberson proved the value of experience last night. Against a talented debuting fight, Roberson slowed the fight down and methodically broke down the lead leg. Kopylov was unusually hesitant, only really turning it up in the third. He found some success when he did fire, but a terrible eye poke from him nearly ended the fight. Rather than take the easy win, Roberson continued fighting, threw his opponent to the mat, and strangled him moments later!
- David Zawada defeats Abubakar Nurmagomedov via first-round triangle choke: Talk about a shocking finish! Nurmagomedov lived up to his cousin’s reputation early, timing an absolutely perfect double leg to effortlessly put Zawada on his back. However, he wasn’t able to pass guard, and Zawada snuck one of the arms through to trap in an immediately deep triangle choke. It was an incredible moment for Zawada, who entered the fight with his back to the wall following consecutive losses.
For complete UFC Fight Night 163: ‘Zabit vs. Kattar’ results and play-by-play, click HERE!