The ACA 120 tournament was held in St. Petersburg. Magomed Bibulatov defeated Daniel de Almeida in the fight for the bantamweight title, and Magomedrasul Khasbulaev beat Felipe Froes ahead of schedule and became the new champion in the featherweight category. At the same time, Ivan Shtyrkov defeated Murat Gugov, and the fight between Salman Zhamaldaev and Diego Brandao ended in disqualification due to a prohibited blow to the head.
Shtyrkov was the last major signing of the ACA, in connection with which the promotion must have pinned high hopes on him. With Ismailov’s departure, the organization lost its main star, and Ivan had the potential to take his place. But first, he needed to feel confident again and return to the winning streak, which the matchmakers certainly understood. And on paper, Gugov was good for these tasks. Murat lost in the last fight and was not included in the top ten of the strongest light heavyweights.
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However, an easy walk did not work out. For most of the fight, it was Gugov who worked as the first number, and Shtyrkov, although he hit more often, basically only indicated attacks. In boxing, both looked inexpressive, and Ivan’s low-kicks were not particularly dangerous. The former RCC fighter lost the center of the cage, made his way to close range with great difficulty, and also missed a takedown at the end of the first round. Perhaps it was this that contributed to the fact that already in the middle of the second segment, the long-standing problems of the Uralian with endurance were revealed.
The last five-minute session turned out to be the most intense, during which the opponents arranged a wheelhouse several times in a rack. It was also difficult to name a clear leader in it: at first, Gugov hit several times with direct punches, and at close range Shtyrkov looked more confident. However, Ivan took the ending, which could affect the decision of the majority of the judges. Two of the three referees gave him preference and allowed him to win.
In general, the preliminary card was held in a tense struggle. Most of the fights lasted all the planned rounds, and only Amirkhan Guliyev managed to get the upper hand ahead of schedule. With a series of powerful low-kicks, he seriously injured Dmitry Krivults’ leg, and completed what he had begun with a bizarre knee lever from a standing position. For him, this success was the tenth in a row in his career. A similar mark was submitted to Islam Omarov, who turned out to be stronger than Bibert Tumenov. In the classic wrestler-drummer confrontation, luck was with the first, helped by seven successful takedowns. At the same time, his counterpart was very dangerous in the stand, and in the second round he could well have issued another knockout.
In a similar vein, the duel with the participation of Rashid Magomedov developed. In the first round, the ex-UFC fighter allowed Mukhamed Kokov to transfer himself to the floor five times, but in the second he took advantage of the opponent’s fatigue and seized the initiative. In exchanges, he was noticeably superior to his counterparts, and spectacular knee strikes and hi-kicks reached the goal more than once.
The third segment turned out to be very intense. The debut again remained with Kokov, but he could not keep his opponent on the floor for all five minutes. Magomedov got to his feet and took the ending. Perhaps this is what allowed him to win by split decision and extend the successful streak to two fights.
The two subsequent battles did not last the entire distance. But if the battle between heavyweights Salimgerey Rasulov and Denis Smoldarev ended with a knockout of the latter, then the fight between Salman Zhamaldaev and Diego Brandao is a scandal. In the second round, the Brazilian delivered an illegal kick to the head of an opponent who was in a prone position. The outcome was exactly the same as in the confrontation between Peter Yan and Aljemain Sterling at UFC 259. After consulting a doctor, the referee decided to stop the fight and disqualify Brandao, thereby giving the victory to Zhamaldaev. Moreover, the fans were probably disappointed with this result. The first five-minute period turned out to be extremely eventful and could well claim to be one of the best in 2021 in Russian MMA.
After that, the participants of the title fight appeared in the cage. Due to the second consecutive failure at the weigh-in of Felipe Froes, his battle with Magomedrasul Khasbulayev was demoted from the status of the main one, and the Brazilian himself was deprived of the opportunity to qualify for the belt. Thus, the main intrigue was whether Khabib Nurmagomedov’s cousin would be able to become the champion of the league on the third attempt.
At first, the rivals decided to compete in a standing position, but in this aspect Khasbulaev was inferior. In competition with the larger Froes, he had to constantly break through to close range, which was what the Brazilian counter-puncher was waiting for. Several times he hit the applicant well on the head, in connection with which the dissection opened.
However, Magomedrasul quickly made adjustments and decided to reproduce the battle plan of the previous applicant for a trophy, Marat Balaev. Khasbulaev used his wrestling skills and in the shortest possible time dragged Froes to the floor. There, the Russian’s advantage was colossal, and by the end of the segment, the Brazilian himself began to bleed.
In the next two rounds, Khasbulaev continued to transfer Froes to the flooring, where he completely dominated. It was not possible to go to the painful or stranglehold, but nothing interfered with the treatment of the head and body. In addition to physical damage, the Brazilian spent a lot of energy, which began to affect the stance. It was because of fatigue that in the third round he missed a weighty overhand, and in the fourth he was completely knocked down. Magomedrasul did not miss his, took his back and carried out the strangler from behind. Felipe resisted desperately, but was forced to surrender.
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No less fierce was the duel between Magomed Bibulatov and Daniel de Almeida. Earlier in an interview with RT, the applicant admitted that Ramzan Kadyrov advised him to act calmly and not fight spectacularly. In the very first seconds, the Russian performed a spectacular kick in a roundhouse jump, and then more than once threatened with turntables and walked forward without looking back. However, he pulled himself together in time and in the end tried to consolidate his success with a takedown. True, it almost played a cruel joke on him. In the last seconds, Goubileo caught the vis-a-vis on the guillotine and held it until the gong.
In the remaining rounds, Bibulatov continued to demonstrate the richest arsenal, applying his skills in all aspects of the battle. In the standing position, he pleased with spectacular high and spinning kicks, and in one of the episodes he even tried to perform a cartwheel kick – he stood up on two hands and tried to hit the opponent’s head with his feet. All this he alternated with wrestling and grappling, where he also looked preferable.
By and large, during the fight, Magomed only once allowed Jubileo to take the initiative into his own hands. It happened in the fifth round, when the reigning champion hit with a right overhand. The challenger was shaking, but he managed to hold out. The final five minutes remained with the Brazilian, but this could no longer change the state of affairs. Bibulatov won by unanimous decision and added the ACA bantamweight title to his collection. He has previously won trophies in ACB, WFCA and WSOF. True, the last two are in the lightest category.
Source site russian.rt.com