On the undercard of UFC 160, rising Russian prospect Khabib Nurmagomedov took home a little piece of history along with a unanimous-decision victory over Abel Trujillo on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Nurmagomedov, a lightweight, apparently set a new UFC record for the number of takedowns landed in a single fight. The combat sambo champion hit a whopping 21 takedowns on 27 attempts, according to FightMetric, the UFC's official statistics provider.
After the fight, FightMetric statistician Michael Carroll confirmed the record via Twitter:
@shaunalshatti It's official. The record is his. Smashed a record set by Sean Sherk in 5 rounds.— Michael Carroll (@MJCflipdascript) May 26, 2013
Nurmagomedov, 24, is now a perfect 20-0 in his professional MMA career, including a 4-0 mark in the UFC Octagon. He is a two-time world champion in combat sambo, a judo-based fighting style that emphasizes takedowns and submission holds.
This was the first UFC loss for Trujillo (10-5, 1-1 UFC), who seemed overmatched throughout the contest. Despite a college wrestling background, Trujillo, who trains alongside Rashad Evans and others at the high-profile Blackzilians MMA camp, had no answer for his opponent's takedowns and locks. In his previous fight, Trujillo earned a TKO victory over Marcus LeVesseur.
Though he will almost certainly keep his spot in the UFC because of a reasonable level of success and a high-octane, knockout-seeking style, it is unclear where Trujillo will be slotted in his next bout.
The path for Nurmagomedov may be a bit clearer. He is a force to be reckoned with in the lightweight division despite his young age. He is also one of several young Russian fighters taking the world of MMA by storm, with many making their home in the UFC rival Bellator promotion.
The UFC may be interested in giving Nurmagomedov a top-10 opponent in order to maximize the exposure of the dynamic young lightweight.