Loik Radzhabov found out he wasn’t part of ‘TUF 31’ the day before filming
LAS VEGAS – Loik Radzhabov beat Esteban Ribovics with a unanimous decision Saturday to open up the preliminary card at UFC 285 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Take a look inside the fight with Radzhabov, a two-time PFL season finalist who picked up a win in his UFC debut.
Loik Radzhabov vs. Esteban Ribovics
Result: Loik Radzhabov def. Esteban Ribovics via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Updated records: Radzhabov (17-4-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Ribovics (11-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC)
Key stat: Radzhabov became the eighth lightweight in UFC history to land 10 or more takedowns in a single fight.
Radzhabov on the fight's key moment
“Anytime someone makes his UFC debut, I’m pretty sure they get super emotional, a little bit excited, and anxious. Before the fight, that’s what happened to me. I just wanted to get it out of my system (and) make my UFC debut. And then from now on, we’re going to go head hunting. I want everyone in this division to be on notice. I’m here, and I’m here to take over.”
Radzhabov on making his UFC debut instead of being on 'TUF'
“I came here for ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ I was in the fighter hotel. I quarantined almost for two weeks. It was tough. You go in there, you cannot come out. You have to stay inside. I kept the weight down. I was training, getting ready. For whatever reason it is – I don’t know the reason – I was out. They told me I’m not going to be a part of the show, like the day (it started). It is what it is.
“Where I’m from, we have this saying that when one door closes, God opens another door for you. So I’m very happy. They called me on Friday last week, told me I’m in for short notice, and am I going to accept this? Without a doubt. I told him yes, and here we are. I’m a professional – made weight on point. Everything is good and I’m happy I got the win.”
Radzhabov on what he wants next
“I would like to return in the next three months. Obviously I’m a new fighter here. I don’t want to call somebody out. Let me put together a couple of win streaks. Let me show people who I am and what can I do. And then potentially after that, I want to get a top-15 fight and (make my way toward) the title because I’m not here literally to take part, I’m here to go to the title. I’m not here to be, ‘Oh, I’m a UFC fighter.’ No. I want to be in the title contention in the near future and show who I am, make my country and my flag proud.”
To hear more from Radzhabov, check out the video of the full post-fight interview above.
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 285.