No. 9 ranked lightweight contender Arman Tsurukyan looked to get back into the win column and improve his potential for a UFC title opportunity at UFC Vegas 66 on Saturday night. Standing his way was streaking lightweight Damir Ismagulov. Undefeated inside the Octagon and riding a 19-fight win streak, Ismagulov was intent on breaking into the division’s top 10 by handing Tsurukyan his second straight loss.
Arman Tsarukyan opens up things with a head kick. He follows that up calf kick. Just over a minute into the bout, Tsarukyan lands a takedown against the fence. Ismagulov works back to his feet, but Tsarukyan takes the back of his opponent and wrestles his back to the mat. Ismagulov pops back up and turns into Tsarukyan. Ismagulov is backed up to the fence as the two work in the clinch. Ismagulov is able to gain the advantage and takes Tsarukyan to the mat for a moment, but Tsarukyan quickly scrambles to his feet and resumes clinch work against the fence. Ismagulov separates and immediately starts throwing strikes. Tsarukyan lands a nice left. Tsarukyan throws a body kick followed by a spinning back fist to close the round.
Arman Tsarukyan comes out landing a combination followed by a body kick. Tsarukyan is putting on the pressure and throws a high left kick that barely misses the mark. Tsarukyan moves in for the takedown, getting Ismagulov’s back and dragging him to the canvas. Ismagulov quickly works his way back up, but Tsarukyan is dictating where the fight goes at this point. Tsarukyan lifts Ismagulov and sends him crashing to the mat, taking his back in the process. Ismagulov is able to turn into Tsarukyan and work his way back to his feet but is once again taken to the mat. With a minute left in the round, Ismagulov gets back to his feet and separates again. After a brief striking exchange, Tsarukyan clinches against the fence, landing some strikes as the bell sounds.
Arman Tsarukyan comes out firing multiple kicks targeting the head and body of Ismagulov. 80 seconds into the round, Tsarukyan ducks under and gets a well-timed takedown, his sixth of the fight, but again, Ismagulov gets back to his feet with relative ease. Tsarukyan clinches against the fence. Ismagulov circles out and the fighters return to the center where they exchange strikes. With 90 seconds to go, Tsarukyan lands another takedown and takes Ismagulov’s back. Tsarukyan gets one hook in and threatens a choke. Tsarukyan gets the second hook in. Tsarukyan works for the rear-naked choke but is unable to cinch in the choke as the final round ends.
Official Result: Arman Tsarukyan def. Damir Ismagulov via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Check Out Highlights From Arman Tsurukyan vs. Damir Ismagulov at UFC Vegas 66 Below:
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