It was certainly a hard fight to score with Askarov showcasing a dominant ground game early and Moreno doing a lot of damage on the feet. In the end, the judges scored the fight 30-27 for Moreno, 29-28 for Askarov and the third official handing in a 28-28 score, which determined the split draw.
Despite being his UFC debut, Askarov showed no nerves stepping into enemy territory and immediately putting Moreno in a bad position after securing a huge takedown. Askarov methodically looked to shred Moreno’s defense while trying to lock in the rear naked choke from the back.
Moreno never panicked and eventually exploded out of a body triangle before working his way back to the feet. Morena was able to clip Askarov with a few shots including one punch that appeared to wobble the Dagestani native.
After getting the worse of the exchanges on the feet, Askarov was quick to close the distance to look for the takedown during the second round. As much as he wanted to keep the action on the mat, Moreno just kept scrambling free before working back to a standing position.
Late in the round as the fighters traded strikes, Moreno landed a nasty head kick just as Askarov ducked his head looking for another grappling exchange. Moreno tried to capitalize but Askarov was able to recover enough to survive.
Moreno continued to surge ahead by tossing Askarov to the ground at the start of the third as he looked to employ his own ground attack. With time ticking away, Moreno came closer and closer to securing a choke of his own from the back but Askarov was able to fight off the hands enough to make it to the final horn.
Askarov’s ability to fend off that choke helped him fend off the first loss of his career while Moreno had to settle for a split draw in his return to the UFC after he was released from the promotion and then re-signed just over a year later.