Dagestani powerhouse Rustam Khabilov didn’t make the lightweight cutoff for his bout tonight against Jason Saggo, so the storyline of him trying to hone in on that 155-pound belt doesn’t ring true coming in to UFC 206. But he is riding a three-fight win streak, and given that ju-jitsu black belt Saggo has got two Octagon wins behind him for momentum, the intriguing aspect is whether Khabilov can slam him into oblivion or if Saggo will catch him in something and make him tap.
Round 1 opens with Khabilov stepping in and winging big punches. This forces Saggo to stay mobile, and try to regulate distance with kicks, but after he clocks the Dagestani a couple times with a well-placed foot to the head, and Khabilov nails him back with overhands, Khabilov rushes in, hoists him up, and slams him down. On the ground Saggo does a solid job tying his foe up with a Rubber Guard, thereby stifling Khabilov’s efforts at ground and pound, and soon the horn sounds.
Saggo stalks his opponent around the cage for about the first three minutes of Round 2, backing Khabilov up with kicks that, thanks to his footwork, Khabilov seems to be extremely mindful of. But the wrestler takes charge at that point, changing levels and taking Saggo down, and when they get back up, boxing the hell out of Saggo. Khabilov takes his foot off the accelerator when it’s clear Saggo won’t get knocked out, and the horn sounds with Khabilov looking like a hungry bear and Saggo wondering who covered him in honey.
Just like in the previous round, Khabilov lets Saggo chase him around, and then after a couple minutes effortlessly takes him down. He repeats this a couple more times, and though Saggo has an active guard and tries to threaten him with subs from the bottom, it’s all Khabilov until the final horn.
Results: Rustam Khabilov def. John Saggo via Unanimous Decision