Just minutes ago, Batu Khasikov and Mike Zambidis met for their long awaited fight in Moscow, Russia. 2011 has been Khasikov's coming out party and a win over Zambidis would really put his name in the minds of kickboxing fans worldwide. The fight was for the W5 World Title at 71kg, which was held by Zambidis. Zambidis won the title by winning a tournament in April with wins over Enriko Gogokhia and Dzhabar Askerov.
In the first round, the fighters started out picking their shots. Zambidis favored striking with his hands and Khasikov established his kicks and knees. In a weird chain of events, Zambidis backed off from a seemingly light exchange and took a knee, favoring his jaw. The doctor was called in to take a look, and after examining Zambidis' jaw, the fight was stopped. It was a very strange ending, as I thought it might've also had something to do with Zambidis swallowing or choking on his mouthpiece. It seems that his jaw was broken though, and the most likely culprit was a knee that Khasikov landed. With Zambidis unable to continue, Khasikov got the win and was awarded the W5 71kg World Title.
Batu Kashikov has really established his name in 2011, holding two wins over long time, well known K-1 veterans. Khasikov is 31 years old and it's rare for a fighter to rise to prominence at that age. I'd definitely like to see him mix it up with more of the world's elite and look forward to what's in store for him in the future.