There were reports circulating earlier this summer that Russian prospect and combat sambo champion, Rustam Khabilov, had signed with the UFC, but there was nothing in the way of confirmation until now, as Valetudo.ru is reporting that Khabilov has indeed signed and will debut in a lighweight bout against Ultimate Fighter alum, Vinc Pichel, at the TUF 16 Finale in December:
Rustam Habil (14-1), the lightweight champion, will make his first fight in the UFC on December 15 in Las Vegas (USA) against another newcomer Octagon, American Vince Pichel (6-0).
Khabilov holds a stellar 14-1 record with the lone loss come via split decision, along with several combat sambo tournament wins. Although most of his early fights took place on the Russian regional scene (including a lengthy stint in M-1 Global), Khabilov recently fought for OneFC, taking out Rodrigo Ribeiro, and then followed that up by winning a unanimous decision in his U.S. debut against veteran fighter and TUF alum, Jason Dent.
Pichel, a product of "Big" John McCarthy's MMA academy in California, is still officially undefeated in his pro career at 6-0 and made it all the way the semifinals of TUF 15 before dropping a unanimous decision to Al Iaquinta. He was scheduled to face James Vick at the season finale earlier this summer, but Vick wasn't cleared for the fight, and Pichel was left without an opponent at the last minute.
The TUF 16 Finale is scheduled for December 15th at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas. The only other fight confirmed for the card so far is a heavyweight bout pitting this season's coaches, Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin, against one another.