Rustam "Tiger" Khabilov - who's next for him?


ambitiously unambitious
Oct 3, 2010
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So after succesfully leaving a dominant impression in everyone's minds who watched Rustam Khabilov's first UFC fight against Vinc Pichel, who do you guys want to see him fight next? Here are 3 of my personal suggestions:

1. Tim Means


An another impressive yet largely unproven newcomer in the UFC, Tim Means has shown glimpses of astounding violence against, for example, Justin Salas.

Justin Salas is a guy who dominated Anton Kuivanen for 2 rounds by pushing the pace and using his superior wrestling to tire Kuivanen out, and I was expecting his fight with Means to end by similar means (no pun intended); boy was I wrong.
Instead, Means made defending Justin Salas's takedowns look easy, and completely overwhelmed him with a nasty barrage of knees, fists and elbows, finishing it in the first round.

I think it would be a good test for both fighters, as Khabilov hasn't faced an aggressive striker like Means, who also knows how to handle himself in the clinch and/or on the ground. Both of the fighters are also, as mentioned above, coming off impressive victories, so neither would be set back by a huge amount in the rankings despite coming out with a loss.

2. John Makdessi


Also coming off of the biggest win of his career, Makdessi looked great against Sam Stout @ UFC 154. He entered the Octagon knowing that he possessed more refined and diverse striking technique than Stout did, and executed the game plan just like he was supposed to for the UD.

Earlier during his UFC stint, Makdessi has shown that his flashy kicks and the stance required to pull them off leaves him vulnerable to takedowns. Dennis Hallman took Makdessi down during the first round, and quickly proceeded to apply the RNC for the tap. Putting Makdessi up against a grappler of Khabilov's caliber would definitely be very telling of his progress, as would seeing Khabilov deal with the bag of karate and TKD tricks Makdessi brings to the table.

3. Mark Bocek


A guy that definitely breaks the trend of the thread, Mark Bocek is another fighter I'd really love to see go at it with Khabilov. Why he breaks the trend though? First of all, he's coming off of a loss to Rafael Dos Anjos, is quite probably way higher on the rankings and is definitely more proven as a fighter than Rustam.

Bocek quite possibly has the trickiest submissions, sweeps and trips in the UFC's 155lb division, so it's hard to imagine anyone being overly comfortable grappling with him, and that's exactly why I want to see him fight Rustam. Mark's also very capable in the clinch position, so it would be interesting to see if Khabilov would even pursue it or just settle to strike with him, and how he would look doing it.

Beating Khabilov decisively, and thus putting an end to the hype train, would definitely be a good rebound for Bocek, not to mention the choo-choo'ing of Rustam if he'd manage to grab the victory.

What do you guys think?
Heard its going to be a girl at burgerking this time. He's looking for sponsorship.
I know that he's in Bellator, but how could would it be to have him fight Sarnavskiy? Tiger vs Tiger - there can only be one!
I know that he's in Bellator, but how could would it be to have him fight Sarnavskiy? Tiger vs Tiger - there can only be one!

Haha, I like the idea, although I'd fully expect Khabilov to dominate. :redface:
Rafael Dos Anjos.

A big step up it would be though.
Mike Wilkinson or Abel Trujillo. No need to give him a huge step up after one solid win. Groom your prospects.

Would be interesting to see how he goes against LW's best sub guy. If he is submitted by G-Sot it wouldn't kill the hype as G-Sot can sub anyone, provided he doesn't get KO'd.

IF G-Sot losses, he gets cut.
Bocek would be a huge step up for him, but that fight has potential.
I say bring him along slowly.

From the 3 you have listed I'd say Makdesi. Gives him a chance to develop more hype and highlights by tossing him around.

I don't like when young prospects get matched up early in their careers. I think him, Means & Abel should be slowly developed and not face each other at this time. Right now at LW Khabib is sort of getting fast tracked and steps up in competition. Let these other prospects feed on the tons of mid level Lw's on the roster.