UFC

Bagautinov gets the nod vs Elliott

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Damon Martin

Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the sport since 2004. His work has been published in CNN, Bleacher Report, MMAWeekly.com, Yahoo! Sports, UFC.com and SportsIllustrated.com. He also co-hosts The Great Debate Radio MMA podcast, and has appeared on ESPN Radio and SportsNet Radio. Follow him on Twitter.

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LAS VEGAS

Russian import Ali Bagautinov took a huge step forward in his UFC career with a unanimous decision win over Tim Elliott to kick off UFC 167 on Saturday night.

The Dagestani native, who is now a winner of 10 fights in a row, came out looking to counter Elliott in the early part of the bout while trying to time his opponent's attacks. Elliott seemed to be employing a Clay Guida-like style of head movement and in and out motions to keep Bagautinov guessing, but just the opposite happened.

Bagautinov timed Elliott's awkward movements with a few well placed punches as well as a head kick at the end of round one that could have ended the fight if it had only landed clean. Instead, Elliott escaped with only Bagautinov's toes scraping by his face.

Elliott's conditioning started to take over in round two, but round three saw a resurgence from Bagautinov, who again used power punches to turn the fight in his favor. Bagautinov's counters worked well throughout the fight and may have ultimately been the difference with Elliott ahead for most of the night in overall strikes.

When it was all over, the judges scored the fight 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 in favor of Bagautinov, who now moves to 2-0 in the UFC while taking a step forward in a very competitive flyweight division. Elliott loses for only the second time in the UFC with yet another closely contested bout against another top 125-pound fighter.

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