Look out for Mairbek Taisumov at 155 pounds.
The 29-year-old Chechen continued his climb toward contention in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight division, as he knocked out previously unbeaten CM System rep Felipe Silva in the first round of their featured UFC Fight Night 115 prelim on Saturday at Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands. In his first appearance since Aug. 27, 2016, Silva (8-1) bit the dust 1:24 into Round 1.
After a brief feeling-out process, the Brazilian charged forward. It was a decision he would live to regret. Taisumov (26-5) pivoted off the fence and connected with a devastating short right hook. Silva crashed face first to the canvas at the base of the cage, as referee Leon Roberts rushed in to save him. No follow-up shots were necessary.
Taisumov, 29, has finished each of his last five opponents, three of them inside one round.
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Undefeated Till Outduels Velickovic
Darren Till remained undefeated, as he took a unanimous decision over former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Bojan Velickovic in a three-round undercard bout at 170 pounds. All three cageside judges arrived at the same verdict: 30-27 for Till (15-0-1).
Velickovic (15-5-1) was game and effective in spurts -- his low kicks left visible damage on Till’s lead leg -- but he could not match the firepower with which he was faced. Till floored the Elevation Fight Team export with an exquisite standing elbow in the first round, opened a cut on his hairline and piled up points with his ground-and-pound. After a competitive middle stanza, Velickovic hit the deck again in the third. This time, a slashing straight left did the damage. He survived, only to see Till pull away on the scorecards.
Prazeres Choke Taps Burnell
Michel Prazeres submitted Arte Suave prospect Mads Burnell with a north-south choke in the third round of their undercard scrap at 155 pounds. A fill-in for the injured Islam Makhachev, Burnell (8-2) tapped out 1:26 into Round 3.
Prazeres (23-2) was dominant. The 36-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt struck for repeated takedowns, employed a crushing top game and slowly drained Burnell of his desire to fight. Prazeres moved to full mount in the first and second rounds, affording the UFC rookie few openings with which to work. Early in the third, he landed another takedown, passed guard and locked down on the choke for the finish.
The loss brought an end to a three-fight winning streak for Burnell.
Khabilov Outpoints Tepid Green
Jackson-Wink MMA standout Rustam Khabilov leaned on early takedowns and superior output in claiming a unanimous decision over former Titan Fighting Championships titleholder Desmond Green in a preliminary lightweight matchup. Khabilov (22-3) swept the scorecards with 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 marks.
Neither man was overly impressive. Khabilov exerted significant energy with repeated takedowns in the first round, wielded a thudding overhand right and stayed buys with looping power punches. Green (20-6) spent too much time standing around despite his cornermen imploring him to pick up the pace. He staggered Khabilov with a short right hand in the second round and executed a trip takedown late in the third, but did not do enough to procure favor from the judges.
Khabilov, 30, has won five fights in a row.
Surging Rakic Sinks Barroso
Austrian newcomer Aleksandar Rakic pitched a shutout in his first UFC appearance, as he captured a unanimous decision from former Shooto Americas champion Francimar Barroso in a three-round undercard battle at 205 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it 30-27 for Rakic (9-1), who extended his winning streak to nine fights.
Barroso (19-6) enjoyed some success with low kicks and a pair of second-round takedowns, but he accomplished little else of note. Rakic carved into him with jabs, leg kicks, overhand rights, uppercuts and stabbing straight rights to the body. The variety was overwhelming and had Barroso reeling on more than one occasion.
Magomedsharipov Choke Submits Santiago
Zabit Magomedsharipov submitted Mike Santiago with a second-round rear-naked choke in a preliminary featherweight encounter. A replacement for the injured Nick Hein, Santiago (19-10) conceded defeat 4:22 into Round 2.
Magomedsharipov (13-1) was spectacular with his creativity, as he scored with a variety of unorthodox techniques in his Octagon debut and even attempted the “Showtime kick” made famous by former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis. Only Santiago’s considerable fortitude kept it competitive. Magomedsharipov countered a takedown in the second round, moved to the back and alternated between ground-and-pound and the threat of a rear-naked choke. Ultimately, Santiago left his neck exposed and found himself hopelessly entangled in the Mark Henry protégé’s clutches.
The 26-year-old Magomedsharipov has rattled off nine consecutive victories.
Prospect Edilov Massacres Mihajlovic
Akhmat Fight Club prospect Abdul-Kerim Edilov put away an overmatched Bojan Mihajlovic with second-round punches in an undercard tilt at 205 pounds. Mihajlovic (10-6) bowed out 2:32 into Round 2, as he lost for the third time in as many UFC appearances.
Edilov (17-4) was flawless. The combat sambo practitioner battered Mihajlovic in the clinch with punches and knees before securing the first of his two takedowns. Edilov spent the final 90 seconds of the first round assaulting his bloodied counterpart with ground-and-pound. He picked up where he left in the second, where he delivered another takedown, settled in full guard and blasted Mihajlovic with punches until the referee had seen enough.
The 25-year-old Edilov has won 11 fights in a row.
Gouti Nets First UFC Win
Jackson-Wink MMA export Thibault Gouti disposed of Andrew Holbrook with first-round punches in their preliminary pairing at 155 pounds. Holbrook (12-3) succumbed to blows 4:28 into Round 1.
Gouti (12-3) trapped the Indianapolis-based Michigan native on the feet, picked him apart with clean power punches and denied his bid for takedowns. A partially blocked head kick sent a dazed Holbrook crashing to the canvas and marked the beginning of the end for the American. Gouti swarmed with unanswered punches, first on the ground and then on the feet, to prompt the stoppage.
The win snapped Gouti’s three-fight losing streak.