Eduard Vartanyan (15-3) defeated Alexander Shabliy (15-3) in the Lightweight main event of ACB 49: Rostov Onslaught in a back-and-forth war that would be a very worth entry to anyone’s Fight of the Year lists.
Live from The Sports Palace, Rostov-on-Don, Russia, ACB 49 was an action packed affair from top to bottom and the main event only served as a perfect representation of the night’s fights from growing promotion Absolute Championship Berkut (ACB).
In the evening’s main event, Shabliy came out and tried looking for an early finish as he rocked and hurt Vartanyan several times at the start of the first round. The tide would change however as Vartanyan started to find a home for his right hand, breaking Shabliys nose in the process and swinging momentum in his favour. “Lionheart” took full advantage of this, marching forward and punishing Shabliy who hung on to survive a brutal first round.
The second and third rounds continued to be an incredible battle as the momentum of the fight would swing back and forth with every big shot landed or takedown successfully completed. After having the better of the second round, Vartanyan would fade and allow hometown hero Shabliy right back into the fight in the third round as both men left everything inside the cage to the roars and cheers of the crowd.
The judges returned a split decision win in favour of Vartanyan which disappointed nobody as calls for an ACB rematch between “Lionheart” and “Peresvet” grew on social media immediately following the decision.
The night’s co-main event also went the distance when Welterweight MMA veteran Beslan Isaev (35-8) defeated former WSOF Welterweight champion Steve Carl (22-6) by unanimous decision in a deserving win over the resilient American.
Carl would have the better of the first round, working his grappling really well to get to strong positions for his BJJ game to take over. After numerous submission attempts, Isaev get back into the fight and for the final minute of the round would chase down and hit a tiring Carl at will. A big flurry by the Russian to end the round had is opponent in all sorts of trouble as the buzzer sounded for the end of the round.
This would continue into the second round as Isaev used crushing body shots to further take the wind out his exhausted opponent. The Russian always being first to the counters left Carl cutting a frustrated figure who couldn’t come close without eating a hard shot on the way in.
A second wind for the American journeyman would make for an interesting third round which mirrored the first in many ways. Carl would attempt submission after submission to try and get a finish but Isaev never seemed in trouble and defended well to go the distance and take the victory.
In other notable fights on the card, ex-Bellator Bantamweight challenger Anthony Leone (15-7) would secure a third round submission win via rear naked choke in an impressive performance over Rasul Albaskhanov (5-2) in the Flyweight division and Russian MMA star Mikhail Kolobegov would return after an 18 month absence and brutally knock out Husein Kushagov in the first round of their Light-Heavyweight contest.
The full list of results is as shown below:-
Eduard Vartanyan (15-3) def. Alexandr Shabliy (15-3) via Split Decision
Beslan Isaev (35-8) def. Steve Carl (22-6) via Unanimous Decision
Mikhail Kolobegov (10-3) def. Husein Kushagov (5-3) via TKO (Punches) at 2:13 of round one
Damian Szmigielski (8-1) def. Evgeniy Lazukov (10-3) via TKO (Punches) at 2:49 of round one
Anthony Leone (15-7) def. Rasul Albaskhanov (5-2) via Submission (Guillotine) at 0:28 of round three
Sharaf Davlatmurodov (11-0) def. Joilton Santos (13-5) via Unanimous Decision
Maharbek Karginov (8-0) def. Diego Marlon (26-10) via KO (Elbows and Punches) at 1:49 of round one
Rasul Ediev (7-3) def. Jaroslav Pokorny (9-6) via Unanimous Decision
Alexander Peduson (10-1) def. David Cubas (17-6) via KO (Flying Knee) at 0:15 of round three
Valeriy Khazhirokov (2-0) def. Soso Nizharadze (3-3) via KO (Head Kick) at 1:14 of round two
Khanif Mirzamagomedov (2-1) def. Artur Smirnov (1-1) via Unanimous Decision
Roman Kopylov (2-0) def. Islam Gugov via KO (Spinning Back Kick to the Body) at 3:58 of round two