Imavov trapped Shahbazyan, a client and former training partner of Ronda Rousey, in a crucifix and elbowed the exhausted 23-year-old until referee Keith Peterson called it off at the 4:42 mark of the second round.
Check out the finish below.
At No. 11 in the promotion’s rankings, Shahbazyan is likely to cede his spot after his third consecutive defeat. The unranked Imavov, meanwhile, could make his debut in the top-15 for his superior work.
Armed with wrestling training at American Kickboxing Academy, Shahbazyan sought to use his training to dictate the range of the fight. But he frequently put himself in dangerous positions, fighting off chokes when Imavov capitalized. Although he had the energy to get out of danger early, a particularly nasty series of guillotine chokes seemed to sap him, and an ill-advised guillotine attempt of his own put Imavov in prime position to land several punishing elbows that cut open Shahbazyan. After that, Imavov took the crucifix position that allowed him to rain down the fight-ending strikes.
Imavov is now 3-1 in his octagon career, while Shahbazyan drops to 4-3.