UFC St. Petersburg is underway from Russia, and former M1 bantamweight champ Movsar Evloev just made good on his UFC debut with a unanimous decision win over Seungwoo Choi. Despite being deducted a point for an illegal knee, Evloev remains undefeated as the 25-year-old moves to 11-0. Choi was also making his promotional debut, but the 26-year-old falls to 7-2.
Before that, Sultan Aliev picked up a grinding decision win over Keita Nakamura to move to 15-3. Aliev has gone win-loss win-loss thus far in the UFC, with all four of those fights occurring over the span of four-years. Time will tell whether or not Aliev will take more than one-fight per calendar year. If he does, then it will be for the first time since 2013. As for Nakamura, he has alternated wins in loses in all-eight of his UFC matches.
Alexander Yakovlev made good on his UFC lightweight debut, submitting Alex Da Silva with a modified guillotine in the second round. Yakovlev finds himself back in the win column and in a lighter division where his grappling might prove to be more effective. The UFC’s #13 ranked heavyweight, Shamil Abdurakhimov, picked up a quality finish tonight when he put away the #10 ranked Marcin Tybura with standing strikes in the second round. This marks three-straight wins for Abdurakhimov, who climbs the divisional ladder and just might get a big name by default in his next outing.
Michal Oleksiejczuk dropped Gadzhimurad Antigulov three times before putting the Russian out cold in just 44-seconds. Oleksiejczuk remains unbeaten within the UFC and this promising performance spells good news for the UFC’s light heavyweight division. Opening up the event, Magomed Mustafaev produced a spectacular spinning back kick knockdown before pounding out UFC newcomer, Rafael Fiziev, in just 86-seconds. This was Mustafaev’s first-fight back since breaking his arm in a tech-sub loss to Kevin Lee back in November of 2016.
Movsar Evloev def. Seungwoo Choi by unanimous decision (29-27 x2, 29-26): Featherweight
Evloev went to work with his strikes right out of the gate. Then, Evloev switched gears and planted Choi on his back. It took awhile for Choi to stand back up, and when he did, he ate a knee to the face. Evloev was just unrelenting with his pressure. The round ended with Evloev pounding away as Choi was folding up against the fence.
Evloev blasted his foe with hard punches in the opening moments of the second round before reengaging in the grappling realm. Choi struggled to get his back off the cage with the pressure of Evloev proving to be too much. Choi scored with several Travis Browne elbows, some to the back of the head, but got taken down as a result. Evloev landed an illegal knee to the head of a downed Choi, resulting in a point deduction. Upon the restart, Evloev returned to the grind, forcing Choi up against the cage. It all of about ten-seconds for Evloev to achieve a takedown in the final round. Choi worked his way over to the fence, but Evloev was relentless with the pressure. When Choi finally found open space, Evloev quickly re-closed the distance to continue the grind.
More of the same by Evloev!#UFCStPetersburg pic.twitter.com/YfCaaUz2Qb— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019
BUSY round for Evloev#UFCStPetersburg pic.twitter.com/WvP80bilMt— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019
Evloev LANDS #UFCStPetersburg pic.twitter.com/8GXGnTIGVh— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019
Sultan Aliev def. Keita Nakamura by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Welterweight
A little bit of feeling out went on to open this welterweight tilt. The pace picked up once Aliev landed a clean punch and started to swarm Nakamura with some heat. The fight stalled out as Aliev tried to force a takedown up against the cage. Aliev stayed with his heavy punches in the second act, but switched gears and looked to grapple. Nakamura did a sound job of staying vertical and was able to return to open space. Just as his punches started to land, Aliev shot in and secured a takedown. Nakamura spent the rest of the round trying to get back to his feet, but was unable to ever get that separation. Aliev returned to his grappling in the final round, neutralizing his foe against the fence. Aliev began to fade down the stretch, to which Nakamura came alive with some volume, but it was too little too late. The bout reached the scorecards and Aliev had the win in the bag.
@ASULTAN_MMA pouring it on in the 1️⃣st!#UFCStPetersburg pic.twitter.com/ss2hLrrFNz— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019
Alexander Yakovlev def. Alex Da Silva by submission (Guillotine) at 3:10 of round 2: Lightweight
Yakovlev came out and tried to clinch up with his foe against the fence, but Da Silva was slick enough to return to open space. Despite being briefly taken down, Da Silva slammed Yakovlev to the mat. Yakovlev scrambled back up to his feet, but found himself fighting off the takedown with his back to the cage until the round expired.
Da Silva knocked Yakovlev off balance to take top position to start the second frame. Yakovlev scrambled up once again, but this time scored a slamming takedown of his own. Then it was Da Silva’s turn to get up and attempt a takedown, but Yakovlev wasn’t having it. Yakovlev stuffed the head and started to attack the neck. Da Silva was caught and forced to tap out.
WOOOW!! @YakovlevMMA gets the finish!!#UFCStPetersburg pic.twitter.com/mhrBmEqrvq— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019
BIG slam by Da Silva!#UFCStPetersburg Prelims on ESPN 2️⃣ pic.twitter.com/0yUglpZBoZ— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019
Shamil Abdurakhimov def. Marcin Tybura by TKO at 3:15 of round 2: Heavyweight
The big men came out and stood right in front of one another, exchanging calculated combos without any signs of a takedown attempt. It was Abdurakhimov who started to get off with his hands as Tybura was looking to counter.
The second act saw Abdurakhimov shoot in to no avail on a kick-happy Tybura. Abdurakhimov responded with a spinning back kick to the body that sent Tybura flying across the Octagon. Then, Abdurakhimov landed a heavy hook that stunned his opponent, and then blitzed Tybura with a flurry. Tybura was out on his feet, and finally collapsed just as the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
HEAVY hands by @Shamilabrek!!#UFCStPetersburg pic.twitter.com/Z2QLtjoMXN— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019
Spinning Kick by @Shamilabrek!#UFCStPetersburg pic.twitter.com/4SWtUTzDLk— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019
Michal Oleksiejczuk def. Gadzhimurad Antigulov by KO at :44 of round 1: Light Heavyweight
Antigulov pressed forwards recklessly, and was dropped several times because of it. Oleksiejczuk clipped his foe with a left hook, then a right uppercut, and then another uppercut - all of which dropped Antigulov. A series of ground strikes put Antigulov out cold. Wowsers!
MY GOODNESS! 3️⃣rd times a charm!— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019
Oleksiejczuk w/ the first round stunner!! #UFCStPetersburg pic.twitter.com/GKcum0dZzp
Magomed Mustafaev def. Rafael Fiziev by TKO at 1:26 of round 1: Lightweight
Mustafaev opened the match with a partially blocked spinning back kick that got the attention of Fiziev. Mustafaev went back to the same technique, but this time landed flush. Fiziev went crashing to the canvas, and a few ground strikes scored before Mustafaev showed a little mercy and stepped away just before the referee stepped in.
OH MY!! Mustafaev with the quick work!!#UFCStPetersburg pic.twitter.com/Bskv95O86D— UFC (@ufc) April 20, 2019