UFC 148 Fight Card Primer: Gleison Tibau Vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Gleison Tibau and Khabib Nurmagomedov face off during the UFC 148 weigh-ins at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas on Friday, July, 6, 2012. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

In a prelim fight at UFC 148, Gleison Tibau (25-7; 10-5 UFC) faces Khabib Nurmagomedov (17-0; 1-0 UFC). This Lightweight fight is the third of four prelims airing on FX. Tibau is currently the #15 Lightweight in the world according to the USA TODAY / MMA Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, while Nurmagomedov is unranked. The UFC 148 prelims live on FX start Saturday night July 7 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT, with the PPV starting two hours later.

This is a classic battle between up and comer and division veteran. Though he's only 28 years old, Tibau is the veteran gatekeeper here, providing a stiff test for Nurmagomedov's second UFC fight. If the undefeated Russian fighter can win, it will be a huge victory for him. If not, hopefully it will be a valuable learning experience against a well traveled veteran.

How do these two stack up?

Tibau: 28 years old | 5'10" | 71" reach
Nurmagomedov: 23 years old | 5'10"

What have these two done recently?

Tibau: W - Rafael dos Anjos (SD) | W - Rafaello Oliveira (Sub) | W - Kurt Pellegrino (SD)
Nurmagomedov: W - Kamal Shalorus (Sub) | W - Arymarcel Santos (TKO) | W - Vadim Sandulitsky (Sub)

How did these two get here?

Gleison Tibau made his MMA debut in 1999 and has been a fixture of the UFC Lightweight division since 2006. During his tenure with the company, he's fought many of the division's notable names, including Nick Diaz and Jim Miller. But he's never quite put together the kind of sustained run or big win to really make himself stand out from the pack. He's currently on a 3 fight win streak, and a win here would make it his longest winning streak in the UFC. Tibau trains out of American Top Team, and is known for being a huge Lightweight, which has led to some issues making weight in the past.

Khabib Nurmagomedov made his UFC debut in January, submitting WEC and UFC veteran Khamal Shalorus. That win brought his record up to a perfect 17-0. It was also his first fight outside of Russia and the Ukraine, and his first real test. He definitely has put together an impressive run in his 3 year pro career, and that Shalorus fight showed that he may be able to translate it to the Octagon, but Tiabu is his toughest opponent to date by a significant margin. It will be interesting to see how he does.

Why should you care?

I always like these kinds of fights, as a potential new big name faces a tough veteran. I'm intrigued by Nurmagomedov's potential, and at the same time, Tibau is looking the best he ever has lately. Will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

More UFC 148 preview coverage from Bloody Elbow after the jump.

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