Four fighters that train locally will be featured at the Ultimate Fighting Championship, including native Burqueños Diego Sanchez and John Dodson, as well as Mexican-born Erik Perez and Dagestani transplant Rustam Khabilov.
Khabilov, who fights former lightweight champ Benson Henderson in the card’s main event, told me he’s been feeling more and more at home here in Albuquerque. Henderson, meanwhile, trains in Phoenix, Ariz.,—a state that, along with Texas and Colorado, has long supplied out-of-state competitors for the local fight cards that regularly happen in the Duke City.
Khabilov, a decorated wrestler, may not be well known to the casual Burqueño fight fan, yet, but his propensity for tossing his opponents over his head may get their attention on June 7. This move, called a suplex, may not be the most subtle way to score points in a fight. If you want more nuance, see “The Pacifist’s Guide to MMA.”