It was a clash of styles pitting Sambo against jiu-jitsu, orthodox vs southpaw, when Rustam Khabilov defeated Leandro Silva via a three round unanimous decision. Both fighters were mostly neutralized throughout the fight. Silva’s combinations and body kicks coupled with an above average takedown defense kept Khabilov in a state of constantly pressing forward but being unable or unwilling to pull the trigger at many key moments. Similarly, the strong threat of the takedown kept Silva from being able to open up offensively.
Silva’s best moment came near the end of the first round as he rocked Khabilov and converted it to a takedown into mount. However, a Khabilov scramble gave him the top position and he was able to end the round in Silva’s guard. Khabilov managed to get the fight to the ground in the second and third rounds. These takedowns were pivotal in his victory.
Two of the judges scored the fight 29-28 for Khabilov, and the final one gave it to him 30-27. After his victory, Khabilov claimed he wants Barboza or Pettis next should the latter choose to return to the lightweight division.