Video and photo of the fight
April 19, 2014: Tampa, hot Florida. Khabib is in great mood looking forward to having, perhaps, the hardest fight in his career. His opponent is a brilliant fighter and a true Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. He used to train at Kings MMA under the famous coach Rafael Cordeiro. He specializes in Muay Thai and has won five bouts in a row, exactly as Khabib. All the MMA specialists agreed that the winner of this fight will fight for the champion title!
The course of combat:
Glove touch and the fight starts. Commentator Joe Rogan said that this fight would show the true talent of Khabib Nurmagomedov. After 30 seconds of assessing and sizing each other up, Khabub decides to be the first to attack. Throwing a ‘one-two’ shows that he is not afraid of Anjos, he is ready. A minute later, Khabib takes the lead. He calls the opponent out for a fight, but Rafael bounces back. And then he decides to make – a massive liver kick, but Khabib is in full guard. Just a moment later, it becomes obvious: this is exactly what Khabib was waiting for. With a swift move he cuts the distance and seconds later lands the Brazilian on the ground. Any attempt to stand up is met with a hitting storm and another takedown. A long minute later, Rafael manages to get out of the Eagle’s clinging claws. The Brazilian attempts another leg attack. This time in the head, but Khabib's defence is impenetrable. The Eagle answers with a flying knee strike and another takedown. Both fighters start to wrestle. The Brazilian seems to have locked Khabib for kimura, but no. The Russian nips his attempts the bud. Another minute of par terre control and Rafael starts climbing from the cage. The fighters are back on their feet near the cage, Rafael is pinned against the cage. The Brazilian remembers the Thai clinch and breaks the position by a strong knee strike. Thanks to the Russian's defence, the strike only slides by and makes him no damage.
The fighters spend the remaining minute on their feet trying to attack each other. Both are loaded for one powerful shot, and they are looking for the right angles. Seconds before the bell, Khabib demonstrates his determination again and attacks with a flying knee, but misses. The bell rings, the win in the first round obviously goes to Khabib.
When I was fighting against him, we both had won five fights in a row, and the managers were saying the winner would get a shot at the title. But I did not know he would go so far.
Before the fight, the coach instructs the Brazilian fighter: “Either finish before the bell, or leave”.
A few powerful low kicks from the Brazilian reach their goal, but with no considerable damage for the Eagle. For the whole first minute Rafael is trying to break Khabib’s defence by hand strikes. He is confident that the wrestling expert will not go for stand-up fighting. But the following attacks of the Russian fighter put him off: Khabib's provoking hand strikes make Rafael lose his guard and he again misses the takedown for both of his legs. Once Rafael is in par terre, he decides to counterattack with submission and throttles Khabib’s neck. Ten seconds in the dangerous position, the commentators are clinging to the edge of their seats, everyone is waiting for a climax. Unbelievable, but even trapped in the hold, Khabib stays in control of the opponent’s actions, he escapes the submission and starts striking him from above. For the rest of the round, Khabib ragdolls the opponent all over the canvas, showing total dominance in all the par terre positions and regularly landing heavy punches.
Khabib’s confident stance, Rafael’s approaching steps. Both fighters know very well that in this fight everything could happen, the real chance to fight for the title is at stake. Just a minute later, Khabib gets a hold of Rafael against the cage, takes his leg and is going to throw him down. But Rafael knows that it will definitely mean his defeat for the judges. He recollects his strength and gets out of the grapple, but not for long. During his striking attack, Anjos decides to perform a takedown by grappling Khabib against the cage, but he makes a fatal mistake misjudging the safe distance and opens himself for a hook. A couple of swift moves, and the Brazilian flies down on the canvas. UFC commentator Joe Rogan: “You know, Rafael is a grappler of an international standard, but he is far from Khabib’s level.”
The rest of the time Khabib spends ruthlessly punishing and dominating the opponent.
All doubts fall away. Khabib is the top contender for the belt. No question.