Arman Tsarukyan and Damir Ismagulov squared off in a Lightweight contest earlier tonight (Sat., Dec. 17, 2022) at UFC Vegas 66 from inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. In a strong win, Tsarukyan wrestled his opponent for 15 minutes.
Tsarukyan opened the fight with some heavy kicks. The Armenian talent was kicking well when he timed a double leg, dragging Ismagulov down near the fence. Ismagulov popped up quickly, but he couldn’t escape Tsarukyan’s grasp along the fence. Ismagulov very briefly reversed his way into mount, but Tsarukyan pretty much instantly stood back up into another takedown attempt. With short time remaining, Ismagulov broke free and landed some straight shots, as well as a nice left hook to the liver.
Ismagulov adjusted to punching the body early in the second. Tsarukyan answered with a heavy left liver kick. When Ismagulov tried to advance behind a knee, Tsarukyan dumped him to the floor with a single leg dump. After some scrambling, Tsarukyan fully took the back for the first time. Tsarukyan briefly threatened the rear naked choke, but Ismagulov managed to defend and escape back to his feet ... for a moment. With a minute remaining, Ismagulov was able to create true separation, but Tsarukyan jammed him right back into the fence before long anyway.
The Russian was fighting well, but he was just getting suffocated by Tsarukyan’s pressure through ten minutes.
Ismagulov stopped Tsarukyan’s first attempt to drag him down early in the third. Ismagulov was fighting with a sense of urgency, but Tsarukyan’s kicks kept him back until the double leg landed. Ismagulov did well to escape back control and pop to his feet quickly, but time was ticking away. With 90 seconds remaining, Tsarukyan landed another trip takedown, taking the back as Ismagulov tried to stand up. He finished the round hunting the choke and riding top position, sealing the victory in a quality performance.
This was Tsarukyan at his unrelenting best. Ismagulov is a damn good wrestler himself, so he was able to avoid being dominated badly, but he failed to accomplish anything significantly offensive.
Both men looked better than their rankings imply.
Result: Arman Tsarukyan defeats Damir Ismagulov via unanimous decision
For complete UFC Vegas 66: “Strickland vs. Cannonier” results and play-by-play, click HERE!