Russia’s Abusupyan Alikhanov booked his BRAVE CF Middleweight world title fight following a dominating unanimous decision victory over wild card and the uber-dangerous, Mzwandile Hlongwa from South Africa at BRAVE CF 64 yesterday.
Heading into the bout, it was Alikhanov who had more to lose as he was coming in as the BRAVE CF number-one contender in the Middleweight division while his opponent lurks on the outskirts of the top five rankings. However, the Russian not only cemented his status as next-in-line, but also showed the rest of the division that he will take on anyone at any time to prove his mettle and worthiness of fighting for the vacant BRAVE CF Middleweight belt.
Alikhanov put on a three-round mixed martial arts clinic that included the highest level of grappling/wrestling. It is no secret that Hlongwa’s bread and butter is the stand-up game and outside of two moments where he seemed to rock his opponent, he struggled to diffuse the wrestling prowess of his Russian opponent who reminded BRAVE NATION why he is at the top of the 185-pound division.
Alikhanov showcased his proficient mindset, showing great defense, lateral movement and slips on the stand-up, waiting patiently before implementing huge takedowns over the course of three rounds before getting to work and initiating a ground-and-pound over Hlongwa. The South-African showed vast improvements in his takedown and grappling defense, however, Alikhanov was always one step ahead. Close to the end of the fight, and with two rounds down, Hlongwa was forced to go in for a stoppage win, however, Alikhanov did not hesitate to send out a ‘do not get too close’ warning to Hlongwa via some beautiful tornado and sidekicks, proving that he is certainly no slouch on the stand-up as well.
Alikhanov - who is now unbeaten in his last five fights - is most likely to face South Africa’s number-two-ranked BRAVE CF Middleweight, Chad Hanekom or Russia’s number-three ranked Rustam Chsiev for the belt soon.
Following yesterday’s event, BRAVE CF 65: Rumble in the Kingdom takes place this Friday, October 28th concluding the epic nine-day Kombat Kingdom festival. For more information on BRAVE CF’s Kombat Kingdom series, visit www.bravecf.com.