UFC Fight Night 61 Fight Breakdown: Rustam Khabilov vs. Adriano Martins

MMA: UFC-Fight for the Troops-Masvidal vs KhabilovOne of the main card bouts at UFC Fight Night 61 is a three-round lightweight bout between Rustam Khabilov and Adriano Martins. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Khabilov is a -450 favorite (bet $450 to win $100) while Martins is a +360 underdog (bet $100 to win $360). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Khabilov at -210 and Martins at +160, and the public is in love with Khabilov so far. This is a close fight, but I slightly lean towards Khabilov to get the W. Here’s why. Khabilov (17-2) is one of the top-15 lightweights in the UFC. The 28-year-old Russian is 3-1 in the UFC with wins over Vinc Pichel, Jorge Masvidal and Yancy Medeiros with his lone loss coming to Benson Henderson in a fight he was winning up until the point he got stopped. Khabilov is a well-rounded fighter with solid striking skills but it’s his wrestling that has been the key to his success in MMA. He is one of the most powerful wrestlers in the entire division and even outwrestled Henderson in their fight. He is also a finisher with nine career stoppage wins, and he could keep adding to that number as he fights more in the UFC. He has an interesting matchup here with Martins, but it’s a fight which he should be able to control where the action takes place, and that’s why the public seems so sure of him in this spot. Martins (26-7) is 2-1 in the UFC with wins over Juan Puig and Daron Cruickshank and a loss to Donald Cerrone. The 32-year-old Brazilian comes from a BJJ background and not surprisingly has a great ground game, but it’s his striking that has been what’s really worked well for him in MMA. He has 13 career knockout wins and is coming off of a devastating head kick KO of Puig in his last fight. He showed in the Cerrone fight that his own chin isn’t the greatest, but to be fair to him that head kick would have stopped most lightweights. Martins has looked great in the UFC but he does have seven career losses and most came in fights where he was outpointed over the course of three rounds, something which Khabilov is good at, and despite Martins credentials I can understand why the betting public is leaning so heavily towards “Tiger” in this one. This is a tough fight to call, but ultimately I’m going with Khabilov because I just feel like he will have such a huge edge in the wrestling department. Don’t forget this guy was outwrestling Henderson and would have won a three-round fight with the former lightweight champ. He’s a special wrestler and I just don’t think Martins can handle it, not to mention the fact Khabilov is an underrated striker as well. I like Martins and think he can beat a lot of guys at 155lbs, but this is a tough fight for him. I just think Khabilov is going to be able to grind him for enough of the 15 minutes to win a decision. The line is too high for a bet, but Khabilov is going to be my pick, and I think he wins either by decision or possibly by T/KO.

Written by Adam Martin.

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