Rustam Khabilov experienced tough times in his sophomore UFC fight at UFC 159.
It's no secret that Russia is the new Brazil for the UFC and Bellator, which have seen numerous younger Russian fighters like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Alexander Shlemenko and Alexander Volkov all hit career highs in the last year.
Khabilov was looking to enter that lot and was in position to follow up his excellent debut against Vinc Pichel (which he won with numerous suplexes) with a relatively easy opponent in Yancy Medeiros.
Medeiros started his MMA career 9-0 but has been out of the cage for nearly three full years due to a knee injury. The UFC was looking for a relatively easy opponent to help build Khabilov...but the fight went in a very bad direction.
While defending a suplex, Medeiros put his hand down on the mat. As he landed, torque was applied to his thumb, dislocating it. Medeiros called the referee's attention to it, which led to a stop in the action, followed by a stop of the fight.
It was an unfortunate turn for both fighters and for the UFC. Medeiros vs. Khabilov was preceded by another disappointing finish in a fight between another Strikeforce import, Ovince St. Preux, and Gian Villante. That fight ended due to an eye poke by St. Preux that left Villante unable to see for a little while. The referee didn't initially see the eye poke, which led him to believe Villante was injured, resulting in an end to the fight.
The two non-finishes combined with the cancellation of a fight between Nick Catone and James Head left the UFC very short on footage for the FX portion of the main card. The promotion was forced to re-air a fight from earlier in the broadcast between Sara McMann and Sheila Gaff.
Hopefully that got all the awkwardness out of the way for the rest of the night.
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