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Emilbek Uulu Outlasts Buist In Gutsy Lightweight Debut

After testing the waters in ONE’s featherweight division but coming up short, Ruslan “Snow Leopard” Emilbek Uulu may have found a new home in a heavier weight class.

In his lightweight debut, the Kyrgyz athlete scored a massive unanimous decision win over ONE mainstay Pieter “The Archangel” Buist at ONE: NEXTGEN III on Friday, 26 November.

In round one, the action kicked off when Emilbek Uulu caught Buist’s front kick and countered with a right hand. He then dragged the Dutchman down and landed in side control, where he smothered Buist from the full- and half-guard positions.

With a minute to go in the frame, Emilbek Uulu’s persistence paid off as he took Buist’s back in an attempt to sink in a rear-naked choke. However, the “The Archangel” defended, and Emilbek Uulu was forced to transition to a neck crank just as time expired.

Buist did better at the start of round two, using his leg kicks and a front face kick to get his foe’s attention. After that, he tried to sting “Snow Leopard” with punch combinations, but the Kyrgyz evaded and retaliated with a takedown attempt 

“The Archangel” stuffed that attempt and continued to score on the feet, connecting as Emilbek Uulu struggled to hit his own mark.

In the few instances that “Snow Leopard” did land, Buist answered – including with a left straight at the end of the round, but not before absorbing a thudding body kick.

Buist opened the third stanza throwing kicks, and this time, Emilbek Uulu answered with a takedown, landing in the Dutchman’s guard. From there, “Snow Leopard” advanced to half guard and scored with knees before transitioning to the back after a brief scramble.

“The Archangel,” relying on sheer inner strength, rose to his feet, but Emilbek Uulu threw him right back down. Again, Buist returned to his feet, and this time, he was able to separate and strike, landing knees from within the clinch.

As the bout entered the home stretch, Buist launched kicks at Emilbek Uulu, although none of them had any real effect, and the latter shot for one last takedown.

With three rounds in the books, Emilbek Uulu’s dominant work on the ground earned him the unanimous decision win, improved his record to 13-3, and may have set him up for a clash with a top-five lightweight contender. 

Read more: ONE: NEXTGEN III – Live Results And Highlights For Every Fight

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