UFC 159 fight card primer: Rustam Khabilov vs. Yancy Medeiros

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The Bloody Elbow team looks at all 11 fights from tonight's UFC 159 event in New Jersey, including this lightweight bout between prospects Rustam Khabilov and Yancy Medeiros.

The headlining preliminary card fight features Russian lightweight prospect Rustam Khabilov (15-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) versus Yancy Medeiros (9-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC). Originally, Erik Perez and Johnny Bedford were scheduled to close out the FX broadcast, but with the new Bryan Caraway/Bedford matchup, Khabilov and Medeiros get moved to a better spot on the card.

Fans are eager to see what Khabilov can do following his suplex clinic against Vinc Pichel, while Medeiros looks to get off to a fresh start at 155 lbs after spending much of his career at middleweight. The FX prelims air at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT before the PPV main card at 10 PM ET/7 PM PT.

How do these two stack up?

Khabilov: 26 years old | 5'9" | 73" reach
Medeiros: 25 years old | 5'10" | Unknown reach

What have these two done recently?

Khabilov: W - Vinc Pinchel (KO) | W - Jason Dent (UD) | W - Rodrigo Ribeiro (UD)
Medeiros: W - Gareth Joseph (TKO) | W - Raul Castillo (UD) | W - Zeke Prado (TKO)

How did these two get here?

Khabilov is a Sambo specialist who has made a name for himself recently with some violent suplexes. In his UFC debut against Vinc Pichel he suplexed his opponent at least 3 times before finishing him off with punches. The Dagestan native has only 3 KO wins, but 2 are by suplex. Khabilov is currently on a four fight winning streak, which included wins over Rodrigo Ribeiro and TUF 9 alum Jason Dent.

Medeiros, and this is not a typo, started out as a light-heavyweight. Why is he now at lightweight you ask? A change in diet and work ethic can go a long way. The Hawaiian racked up a 9-0 record, with 6 wins coming by way of knockout. In 2010 he signed with Strikeforce and picked up 2 of his wins there. Nearly three years removed from his last fight, Medeiros makes his UFC debut with a 50 lbs drop in weight classes, and he finds himself as the underdog against Rustam Khabilov.

Why should you care?

What do you mean "why should you care"? Didn't you see Khabilov just toss around another human being like a toy a few month ago? Let's not forget Medeiros' weight cut and return to fighting after a long hiatus.

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