Shavkat Rakhmonov Earns Place Among Contenders at UFC 285

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Shavkat Rakhmonov and Geoff Neal put on an impressive fight that earnt fight of the night honours at UFC 285. Rakhmonov and Neal each put their best into the other with powerful offense but in the end, it was the shiftiness of the Kazakhstani that made the difference.

This bout was originally scheduled for January but at the time Neal was forced to pull out due to injury. Fast forward to Friday’s weigh-ins and Neal weighs in four pounds over their welterweight limit but Rakhmonov went on with the fight anyway. That decision would prove to not only be what was best for him but also for the fans as they kicked things up just before the night’s two title fights.

The first two rounds would be a bit of back and forth with Rahkmonov earning the better of the exchanges with the occasional big strike from Neal. In round three is when things kicked into another gear for both men.

Neal would rock his opponent with a big hook and would follow it up with a barrage of uppercuts and hooks but Rahkmonov would bounce back. He would respond with a strong and stiff right that, when it connected with Neal it almost got stuck in his jaw somehow the way it delayed coming back. 

That punch of course was felt by Neal and staggered him into the cage in front of his corner who was screaming to separate to no avail. 

Rahkmonov would press him against the cage while keeping him busy with simple strikes and hand fighting before transitioning to a back position where he locked in a simple choke. It was called a standing rear-naked choke but it was much simpler than that, almost a standing version of what Carlos Newton did to Pat Miletich. Regardless of what anyone wants to call it, Neal would go out as Rahkmonov would soullessly walk away to mildly celebrate his victory.

Post-fight, Rahkmonov would get a little more lively as he celebrates his 100% finish rate staying intact with his ninth submission. He would follow that up by calling out whoever is champion after UFC 286 or Colby Covington

Both of those fights make a lot of sense. The time is now, Shavkat Rahkmonov.

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