UFC St. Petersburg started in explosive style when Russian lightweight Magomed Mustafaev scored a big KO win against Rafael Fiziev in the first fight of the night.
Making a return to the octagon after a more than two-year hiatus, Mustafaev showed no signs of rust as he ended proceedings inside the first two minutes of his bout against Fiziev.
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The damage was done with a huge spinning head kick from Mustafaev to send Fiziev to the canvass, before the Russian followed up with punches.
The win improved Mustafaev’s record to 14 wins and two losses (3-1 UFC) – and handed Kyrgyzstan-born Fiziev his first defeat in his seventh bout.
The Russian used the post-fight interview to call out the only man to beat him in the UFC, Kevin Lee.
“I broke my arm in the fight against Kevin Lee, so now, no matter what I need to do to get the rematch, I’m coming for him,” the Russian vowed.
The explosive start set the tone for what followed in the prelims at St. Petersburg’s Yubileyniy Palace.
In the second fight of the night, Poland’s Michal Oleksiejczuk needed just 44 seconds to beat Russia’s Gadzhimurad Antigulov with a huge left uppercut in their light-heavyweight showdown.
But there was more joy for home fans when Shamil Abdurakhimov defeated Marcin Tybura in a heavyweight slugfest, finishing the Pole with a barrage of big shots against the cage.
Alexander Yakovlev then submitted Brazilian Alex da Silva in the second round of their lightweight bout as the action continued in the UFC’s second event on Russian soil.