Shavkat Rakhmonov entered the Octagon to face Geoff Neal at UFC 285 driving a giant wave of hype because the premier up-and-coming prospect within the welterweight division. Rakhmonov justified the hype, battling by way of powerful spots earlier than scoring a third-round submission to run his good document to 17-0.
Neal did not have an ideal week, badly lacking weight on Friday, ensuing within the struggle being fought at a 175-pound catchweight. Despite the burden slicing points and the dominant fighter in entrance of him, Neal put up an amazing struggle, catching Rakhmonov with a number of clear punches and even hurting Rakhmonov early within the third spherical with a giant mixture.
Rakhmonov bounced again from being stumbled in that remaining spherical to maul Neal alongside the cage. As Neal regarded to create house and attempt to discover one other probability to let his palms go, Rakhmonov locked up a modified standing bulldog choke and squeezed to power a submission.
While Neal was prepared to change strikes with Rakhmonov, it was Rakhmonov who bought the perfect of most of these trades. In addition to scrub punching, Rakhmonov started to put on Neal down by way of heavy knees to the physique.
The end got here on the 4:17 mark of Round 3, giving Rakhnomov not solely a win within the hardest struggle of his profession, however doing so on a platform that gave him much-needed visibility in entrance of a big viewers.
After the struggle, Rakhmonov made it clear that he believes he’s now able to compete for a title shot, particularly calling out multi-time title challenger Colby Covington for a No. 1 contender struggle.
“I’ve been saying one or two fights earlier than the title shot,” Rakhmonov mentioned. “I’m prepared now.”
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