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UFC 223 results: Zabit Magomedsharipov wins thriller over Kyle Bochniak

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Zabit Magomedsharipov appears to be everything he’s been hyped up to be.

The 27-year-old featherweight from Dagestan has been marked for future stardom due to his wide array of skills. And he showed off nearly all the tools in his kit on Saturday night to fend off an extremly plucky Kyle Bochniak.

In a match that’s the frontrunner for Fight of the Night at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, Magomedsharipov won via unanimous decision, taking a pair of 30-27s and a 29-28 from the judges.

Bochniak demonstrated his fearlessness from the outset, wading in on his taller foe and throwing punches to the head. But Magomedsharipov has a wide variety of strikes and showed them off, throwing kicks of the conventional and spinning variety and keeping Bochniak from seriously threatening him.

This pattern continued in the second round, as Bochniak hung in there and at one point dropped his hands and taunted him. But he ended the round bloodied and bruised, as Magomedsharipov, who landed an absolutely sick trip midway through, punctuated his round with a pair of spinning back fists.

In the third, the Dagestani relied more on his grappling, getting his foe to the mat and keeping him there for about half the round. They were standing again late, and Bockniak pushed forward and threw hands as the two engaged in a furious final flurry right up until the final horn, then took in a standing ovation from the crowd.

“As I said, he’s a very tough opponent,” Magomedsharipov said. “I want to thank him for taking the fight because five opponents refused to fight me.”

Magomedsharipov improved to 15-1 with his 11th straight win, 3-0 in the UFC. Bochniak (8-3) has dropped two of his past three.