ACB 89 from Krasnodar, Russia saw the promotion bounce back with a strong three-title effort on Saturday, following a three-month hiatus and the cancellation of multiple events.
Despite some early glitches with the broadcast — the new pay-per-view scheme was abandoned for a free YouTube stream with Russian commentary — the event proved that the promotion could still rely on it’s talented roster to shine through.
In the main event of the evening, fan favorite Ali Bagov was crowned ACB’s new lightweight champion after a tenacious display against Abdul-Aziz Abdulvakhabov, who had defeated “Hulk” on two previous occasions.
Bagov controlled the majority of the action over the first three rounds. He was able to bull-rush the champion into conceding takedowns and once he established top position he proved very hard to move.
Abdulvakhabov caused “Hulk” some trouble in the striking exchanges in the second round when he forced him into a corner along the fence. He resumed a similar position towards the end of the fourth round, making Bagov pay for spending too much time on the end of his punches.
The champion took up top position in the fifth round, but failed to land anything that put the exhausted Bagov in too much danger.
UFC veteran Albert Tumenov claimed the welterweight title in the co-main event, finishing Ciro Rodrigues in the third round after a striking clinic in the opening ten minutes.
Rodriguez managed to force the Russian to the ground in the third and was on the verge of securing a rear-naked choke before Tumenov reversed the position and finished him with punishing grounded blows.
Albert Tumenov finishes Ciro Rodrigues and becomes the new ACB welterweight champion! pic.twitter.com/lcMPpXQ6j9— #ACBKrasnodar (@ACB_League) September 8, 2018
In the first title fight of the night, Albert Duraev — the former welterweight champion that gave up his crown to challenge for the middleweight title — made his first defense of the 185-pound strap with a one-sided decision win over Piotr Strus.
Duraev dominated proceedings over the first four rounds, underlining his control of the bout with a knockdown in the third round. Strus tried his best to make something happen in the later throws of the fight, but Duraev proved too clever to be drawn into a firefight in the dying embers.
Speaking after the fight, Duraev declared interest in challenging for a third ACB title, suggesting that he would open to face light-heavyweight champion, Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov, in the future.
Russian legend and former ACB featherweight champion, Marat Balaev, returned for the first time since losing his belt to top tier prospect Yusup Raisov on the night. Despite being over a decade older, the 42-year-old finished Murad Machaev with a blistering display of boxing output to take a first round win.
Former ACB FW champ Marat Balaev TKO's Murad Machaev with a wild flurry against the cage in R1. Balaev considered retirement after losing his belt to Yusup Raisov in their rematch, but the 42-year-old still has it. #ACBKrasnodar pic.twitter.com/HdEvBhCQZ2— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) September 8, 2018
Improving his win streak to 12, Gogo Shamatava made a big impression in his ACB debut with a vicious spinning elbow knockout over Pavel Pastushkov.
Earlier in the night, ACB’s controversial “no draw” rule was brought into effect, with Azamat Kerefov being declared winner of his bout with Kurban Gadzhiev by way of “ultimate scoring decision”. ACB’s clarification of the decision led to outcry from notable U.K. officials, including referee, Marc Goddard, and judge, Ben Cartlidge.
- Ali Bagov def. Abdul-Aziz Abdulvakhabov via majority decision
- Albert Tumenov def. Ciro Rodrigues via TKO (strikes) at 4:48 of R3
- Albert Duraev def. Piotr Strus via unanimous decision
- Adlan Bataev def. Taigro Costa via split decision
- Mukhamed Kokov def. Lom-Ali Eskijew via majority decision
- Marat Balaev def. Murad Machaev via TKO (strikes) at 3:42 of R1
- Amir Aliakbari def. Daniel Omielanczuk via unanimous decision
- Andrey Koshkin def. Yusup Umarov via KO (kick) at 2:00 of R3
- Rasul Albaskhanov def. Narek Avagyan via unanimous decision
- Goga Shamatava def. Pavel Pastushkov via KO (elbow) at 1:04 of R2
- Amirkhan Guliev def. Daniel Toledo Canellas via TKO at 0:15 of R3
- Magomed Sulumov def. Akop Stepanyan via unanimous decision
- Imran Abaev def. Marcelo Alfaya via KO (uppercut) at 1:57 of R1
- Azamat Kerefov def. Kurban Gadzhiev via ultimate scoring decision
- Makharbek Karginov def. Islam Meshev via split decision
- Rustam Taldiev def. Bogdan Barbu via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:21 of R1