Round 1 – Morozov holds the center early, but he has to retreat a bit to slip a few big Taha left hands. Low kick from Taha countered with a right hand over the top from Morozov. Both men moving well to start, thought Taha much more active with his footwork. Morozov lands a left hand. Morozov shoots from range and gets inside and wraps the body. He turns and twists and is able to throw Taha to the canvas. Half-guard underneath for Taha. Morozov controlling from the top with shoulder pressure. Taha staying locked down from the bottom and preventing any real damage, but Morozov is sneaking up the side of the body and now has control of the had. Taha trying to scramble free, but Morozov controlling the head and preventing that. Still, Taha able to scramble back to full guard and then attacks the left leg. He gets Morozov off-balance. Morozov clearly comfortable in the position, as he punches away at his opponent while defending the leglock. Round ends there, and MMA Junkie gives it to Morozov, 10-9.
Round 2 – Taha comes out quickly, firing off punches, though Morozov moves well in retreat. Taha has a high kick blocked but then scores to the lead leg. Taha goes to the leg again, but Morozov with a right hand over the top. Morozov follows with an uppercut. Firefight ensues, and Taha scores with a big right hand. Taha having some success on the feet. They exchange again, and it’s Morozov who lands a big left hand. Morozov changes levels and again gets inside and works Taha to the canvas. Morozov holding the bodylock from the back. Taha battles to his feet, but Morozov drags him to the floor again. Taha immediately back to his feet, but Morozov holding from the outside. Morozov with a few short punches and knees inside. Taha trying to battle the hands and break free. Morozov trips him again and is able to slip to the back quickly on the takedown. Taha tripods, and Morozov is high on the back but still there. Time winding down. Morozov can’t get the choke so settles for punches until the bell. MMA Junkie gives it again to Morozov, 10-9.
Round 3 – Morozov out quickly and lands a big left hand. Taha happy to trade and uncorks a few big shots, as well. Both men still seem fresh enough. Morozov willing to trade right now and having some success but also putting himself in the line of fire. Morozov shoots inside and gets Taha defending before turning to punches and then back inside on a takedown again. Great sequence there. Taha on his knees, and Morozov slips around to the back. He’s driving in short knees as Taha works back to his feet. Taha again trying to break the grip and pull free, but Morozov is relentless with his control and his efforts to trip. He scores with one, but Taha pops right back to his feet. Morozov still happy to keep control. He gets another trip, and Taha gets right back up again, but he’s unable to pull free. Morozov just will not let go of this bodylock. Finally with a minute left, he lets go and moves back to the center. Taha coming out swinging, but he’s lost a little zip. Morozov lands a big left. Taha pressing with strikes until the end, but Morozov deals with them them well until the bell. MMA Junkie gives the final round to Morozov, 10-9, and awards him the fight 30-27.
BetMGM Odds: Taha -145, Morozov +120
Result: Sergey Morozov def. Khalid Taha via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Photos: UFC on ESPN 26: Best photos from Las Vegas
Records: Sergey Morozov (17-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC), Khalid Taha (13-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC)
Referee: Herb Dean
Judging: Mike Bell (30-27), Dave Hagen (30-27), Bryan Miner (30-27)