Li Jingliang always packs quite a punch — and Muslim Salikhov found that out the hard way at UFC Long Island.
In a battle of hard-hitting welterweights, it was Li who connected with a hellacious right hand towards the end of the second round that sent Salikhov crashing to the canvas and brought an end to their fight. The finish came at 4:38 in the second round, with Li getting back on track following a disappointing loss to Khamzat Chimaev in his previous outing.
“It’s my pleasure,” Li said about fighting Salikhov. “I know him since I first trained in 2008. It was my pleasure to fight him. I couldn’t believe it.”
Rather than trade strikes on the feet, Salikhov landed a slick takedown in the opening round as he put Li on the canvas while looking to establish his ground game on top. Salikhov was wary to overextend himself, which eventually led to Li escaping to stand again in the center of the cage.
Known for his flashy spin kicks, Salikhov was definitely looking to catch Li off guard but he wasn’t really setting up his strikes, which kept the veteran welterweight out of trouble in most of the exchanges. Still, Salikhov still kept Li honest with those dangerous strikes while uncorking his trademark kicks at any time from unorthodox angles.
Just as Salikhov was settling into a rhythm, Li clobbered him with a huge right hand that put the Russian in serious trouble. Li went on the attack as he backed Salikhov up against the cage to set up his finishing combination.
Li launched a short left jab followed by another right hand behind it, and that was the punch that put Salikhov down on the canvas. A few more shots followed until the referee stepped in to stop the fight to ensure Salikhov didn’t absorb any more damage.
Well known for his fight-finishing power, Li moved into a second-place tie on the all-time list for knockouts in the welterweight division with eight total, sitting behind only Matt Brown’s record of 12 for his UFC career.