Shavkat Rakhmonov keeps 100 percent finish rate, submits Geoff Neal late at UFC 285

Shavkat Rakhmonov keeps 100 percent finish rate, submits Geoff Neal late at UFC 285

The Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to us tonight, March 4, 2023, for UFC 285, going down live from the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada.

Headlining the event is the return of perhaps the greatest mixed martial arts fighter to ever walk the earth, former UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones (26-1), who makes his first appearance in three years tonight to challenge former interim UFC heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane (11-1) for the vacant heavyweight championship.

Co-headlining the event is also a title fight, this one coming at 125 lbs as UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko (23-3) aims to make the eighth-straight defense of her title opposing no. 6 ranked Alexa Grasso (15-3).

Our feature fight of the evening came at 175 lbs between no. 7 ranked welterweight contender Geoff Neal (15-4) and no. 9 ranked Shavkat Rakhmonov (16-0), as Neal missed weight by four lbs at the weigh ins yesterday.

Both of these men are dangerous finishers:

Neal had gone 7-2 thus far into his UFC tenure, becoming the only man to ever knock out two of the most durable, and two of the most violent men in the entire sport in Mike Perry and Vicente Luque, while Rakhmonov, a former M-1 Challenge welterweight champion, had gone 4-0 thus far into his UFC career, and had finished all 16 of his opponents to date.

Continue reading to see how this catchweight encounter went down:

Official Result: Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Geoff Neal via submission (bulldog choke) at 4:17 of round three

Rakhmonov goes for an early takedown along the fence but is unsuccessful, and Neal lands a nice two-punch combination once they’re back to striking range. He eats them well though and gets to work with his striking, which is working well for him.

Rakhmonov is so incredibly sharp and precise, and with 90 second left in the opening stretch he lands a vicious head kick that hurts Neal badly.

Neal is able to tie up with him however and avoids more damage.

Rakhmonov is fighting very aggressive tonight; he’s eating heavy punches and walking Neal down on the feet. It’s not the best idea, given what Neal is capable of doing, but he’s winning the fight in doing this.

Rakhmonov continues to press the action into the second and picks up right where he left off in the first, picking Neal apart with his clean striking.

Neal lands a hard three-punch combination that momentarily backs Rakhmonov backward, but Rakhmonov is all over him aside from that. The only critique would be he hasn’t been able to take Neal down.

Neal badly hurts Rakhmonov with a nasty boxing combination and momentarily drops him in the third and final round.

Rakhmonov gets back to his feet and ties up with him; and while he ties up with him he’s walking him backward. He then hurts Neal with a vicious right cross and follows it up with a knee to the body that hurts him equally as bad.

Neal is durable as they come though, and isn’t going down easily. Rakhmonov at this point presses Neal into the fence and tries for another takedown but is unable to secure it, just like all five of his previous attempts.

However, during his final attempt he had double underhooks on Neal’s back and sinks in a bulldog choke in the final seconds of the bout, keeping his 100% finish rate in the process.

We all knew Shavkat Rakhmonov was a technician going into tonight’s fight with Geoff Neal, but tonight we learned he’s a straight up dog too. He’s now 17-0 with 17 finishes (9 submission, 8 knockout).

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Photo by Jeff Botarri UFC

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