Rustam Khabilov (16-1, 2-0 UFC) vs. Jorge Masvidal (25-7, 2-0 UFC), at UFC Fight for the Troops 3
Rustam Khabilov is an exciting, young, up n comer with a tremendous upside and a affinity for throwing guys on their heads. I am sure judokas and sambo practitioners everywhere are thrilled that someone has finally proven their claim that throws can be an effective (and violent) way to finish a fight. Rustam is like most Sambo fighters in that he is good at striking and good at submissions but really excels at tossing people to the mats with ease. Being from the Russian republic of Dagestan pretty much means he was born with the ability to fight as this part of the world regularly produces world class athletes in Greco Roman and freestyle wrestling, boxing, kickboxing, Sambo, Judo, and even kyokushin karate. So far Rustam has not disappointed. Come fight night Rustam will bring relentless pressure without being reckless or sloppy. It will be interesting to see if he can hang with Masvidal on the feet and likewise, if Masvidal can keep the fight there.
Jorge Masvidal has been making south Florida street fighters proud for about a decade now. Despite his rugged start in the fight game he has acquitted himself very well amongst a host of top notch competition and has even managed to turn himself into a legitimate mixed martial artist along the way. He comes to throw hands and usually has the strength and takedown defense to be able to do just that. When he is taken down he has a solid understanding of survival based grappling and the majority of the time he can survive till the bell, force a stand up, or escape back to his feet. Despite being choked out in one of the most incredible submissions we have ever seen in MMA, Masvidal is not an easy out on the floor. He hits hard, is a good sized LW, and is as game as they come. He should be the favorite here but not by a landslide.
One of the fights I am most looking forward to on this card, is also a tough pick. Khabilov is indeed for real and should have a nice UFC career win or lose Saturday night. Masvidal is a veteran and has been expected to break through to the elite a few times now. Finally being in the biggest show, Masvidal will finally elevate himself to the next level and make a serious run. He wins a very competitive fight by late stoppage or clear cut, hard earned, Unanimous decision victory.