Shavkat Rakhmonov vs Geoff Neal slated for early 2023 UFC FN event

Shavkat Rakhmonov vs Geoff Neal slated for early 2023 UFC FN event

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has already begun putting together some events going down early next year in 2023, one of them being a welterweight showdown at UFC Fight Night 217 between ranked contenders Shavkat Rakhmonov (no. 10) and Geoff Neal (no. 6).

UFC Fight Night 217 is to take place on January 14, 2023, live from the UFC Apex in Enterprise, Nevada.

This is a very exciting match up for so many reasons, as we get to see the undefeated finisher in Rakhmonov face his toughest test to date.

Shavkat Rakhmonov is a true prodigy in the sport of mixed martial arts, he really is great everywhere the fight goes.

For starters, the Uzbekistani talent is a Master of Sport in both MMA and Combat Sambo. A Master of Sport rank is more or less a black belt, or an expert, on the Eastern side of the world.

Rakhmonov won his first championship, the KZMMAF welterweight title, in his ninth professional fight, and he defended it before moving over to M-1 Challenge, where he also won that title in his debut. He’d defend the M-1 championship once prior to joining the UFC in 2020 with a record of 12-0.

A first-round submission (guillotine choke) victory would ensue in his promotional debut over Alex Oliveira, before he’d submit (rear naked choke) 2nd-degree BJJ black belt Michel Prazares in his next bout.

Rakhmonov would then KO (spinning wheel kick & punches) former Brave CF welterweight champion Carlston Harris seven months later, who came in on a five-fight win streak, earlier this year in February. He followed this up with another submission (guillotine choke) victory over BJJ brown belt Neil Magny in June. Magny was 5-1 in his last six coming in.

Rakhmonov is a true technician everywhere, and at just 27 years of age, turning 28 later this month, anything is possible for him.

Then we have Geoff Neal, who’s an incredibly skilled welterweight himself.

Following a 6-1 amateur run, Neal would make his way to 8-2 as a professional before joining the UFC in 2018.

Five-straight victories would follow over the likes of Brian Camozzi (rear naked choke), Frank Camacho (KO), Belal Muhammad (UD), Niko Price (TKO), and Mike Perry (TKO), before he’d suffer back-to-back defeats to Stephen Thompson (UD) and Neil Magny (UD).

Neal would rebound with a victory (SD) over Santiago Ponzinibbio in a hard-fought contest, before doing the unthinkable, KO’ing Vicente Luque in the third and final round of their bout back in August.

It’s incredible the punishment Luque has taken throughout his career, and to have never been dropped before; Neal KO’d him, hurting him multiple times leading up, and becoming the only fighter to ever finish Luque with strikes. He’s also the only man to finish Mike Perry with strikes.

Neal is a dangerous, dangerous man on the feet.

Rakhmonov comes into the bout with a record of 16-0, all 16 victories coming via finish (8 knockout, 8 submission), and Neal comes in with a record of 15-4 (9 knockouts, 2 submissions, 4 decisions).

This is going to be a good one! Who comes out on top at UFC Fight Night 217?

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