LAS VEGAS -- Tim Elliott's combination of awkward stances and quick in and out movement were designed to thwart Ali Bagautinov's crisp and fluid striking.
And he almost pulled it off. But not quite.
Bagautinov made his statement as a contender to watch in the flyweight division Saturday night with a unanimous-decision win at UFC 167. Judges' scores at the MGM Grand Garden Arena were 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27.
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Round one was a bizarre feeling-out process, as Elliott did his best to elude Bagautinov. But the Russian fighter, who trains at Jackson's MMA, still managed to score enough to win the run, particularly a big right followed by a high kick in the closing seconds.
It seemed like more of the same was brewing in round two. But as soon as the idea seemed to get across that Bagautinov was starting to pick Elliott apart, Elliott pulled a jumping guillotine out of nowhere and took it to the mat. Elliott got the choke tight before Bagauatinov manage to get to his feet and slam Elliott to escape the choke. The exchange likely sealed the round in Elliott's favor on two cards.
Round three, though, reverted to round one's form. A neat trip in the closing seconds wasn't enough to save Elliott.
Bagautinov improved to 11-2. Elliott dropped to 11-4-1 and had a two-fight win streak snapped.