Meeting in a rematch almost three year to the day since they fought to a draw in Moscow, Mineev and Ismailov this time shared the cage for a middleweight title fight at AMC Fight Nights 105 in Krasnaya Polyana, just outside Sochi.
Among those in attendance in an expectant crowd was UFC icon Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was seen throwing his support behind 35-year-old veteran Ismailov.
The simmering build-up to the bout can be traced all the way back to December of last year, when Mineev and Ismailov came to blows inside the cage at a Fight Nights Global event in Moscow despite not being among the combatants on the card.
Those scenes sparked a wild mass brawl, but fast forward 10 months and the pair’s differences would finally be settled with the gloves on.
Ismailov dominated the early stages of the bout, dishing out significant damage to his opponent from top position as the two spent much of the opening round on the ground.
Both traded heavy shots on the feet at the start of the second round before Ismailov secured another takedown and went to work, but also getting caught with elbows from defending champion Mineev as the Ekaterinburg fighter battled to stay in the contest.
The two spent the end of the second stanza trading punches and kicks on the feet, and heading into round three and it was Mineev looking the worse for wear with heavy bruising to his face.
However, the fight was soon to flip on its head. Catching Ismailov with a damaging right-kick to the body at the start of the third round, Mineev enjoyed more and more success on the feet as Ismailov faded visibly.
A takedown attempt from Ismailov then backfired as Mineev secured top position, landing hammer fists on his rival, who eventually scrambled clear.
Mineev then shrugged off a takedown from Ismailov, forcing him against the cage and setting himself for a brutal denouement.
Владимир Минеев нокаутировал Магомеда Исмаилова в третьем раунде на турнире AMC в Сочи. pic.twitter.com/2517kYUm4m
The end came with a barrage of elbows, punches and knees to the body from Mineev as Ismailov slumped forward and then fell onto the canvas, curling up. Brinkwire Summary News. For more information, search on the internet.