The UFC welterweight division has a new superstar in sight and his name is Shavkat Rakhmonov. Shavkat developed a great reputation even before joining the UFC. With 12 fights and 12 finishes, Rakhmonov was a wrecking ball. However, many thought his biggest tests would come in the UFC. But so far, with wins over Alex Oliveira and Neil Many, Rakhmonov is shutting up his doubters.
But, up until UFC 285, Shavkat Rakhmonov was yet to fight an opponent in the Top 10. While many consider him to be a big threat to the likes of Kamaru Usman and the champ Leon Edwards, he needed to beat someone who was highly ranked. Hence, a win over Geoff Neal was necessary, who occupied the 7th spot in the division. Neal was a tough opponent with vicious knockout power.
So how did the bout go on the main card of UFC 285? Let’s find out!
Shavkat Rakhmonov continues his unbeaten streak against Geoff Neal at UFC 285
Ahead of the bout, Geoff Neal missed weight and did not look entirely fit. Neal had never missed weight in the UFC before, so it did not look good for him before fighting someone like Shavkat Rakhmonov. And, the Khazakstani fighter did not waste any time putting pressure on Neal. He opened the fight with a big head kick. Although he is a wicked grappler, Shavkat decided to trade shots with Neal.
It allowed Geoff Neal to make it very scrappy. From landing some hard shots to knocking out Rakhmonov’s mouthpiece, Neal had a lot of big moments in the bout. The referee Herb Dean did not seem to notice it until the commentator Joe Rogan pointed it out!
Thanks Joe Rogan for pointing out where the mouth guard was.— Matt Connors (@M_Connors50) March 5, 2023
However, Rakhmonov did not seem to take a backstep and stepped on the gas! He also landed a huge head kick on Neal and cut him open. But all in all, round 1 was pretty even for both fighters.
Round 2 started with a similar pace as Rakhmonov kept on walking Neal down. At one point, Rakhmonov tried to sweep Neal and land the first takedown of the fight. But Neal did a great job staying on his feet and even stunned Shavkat a handful of times. But Rakhmonov displayed a rock-solid chin and even started smiling at Geoff Neal.
Shavkat landed some good knees and body shots on Neal. But some of Neal’s power punches also went through Rakhmonov’s guard. So the bout was pretty much in the balance heading into round 3. Rakhmonov seemed pretty adamant about maintaining his 100% finishing record and started the final round with some vicious kicks. But it left his chin unguarded and Neal cracked Rakhmonov pretty badly.
Although Rakhmonov engaged in the clinch to recover momentarily, he went back to trading shots once more. Some vicious knees hurt Neal’s body and that was the beginning of the end. From there on, Rakhmonov went into destroyer mode and kept on hitting Geoff till he got his back. He then finished the fight with a standing rear-naked choke.
With this spectacular win, he is now 17-0 with 17 finishes! He is surely closer to the Top 5 of the division than ever before. However, the win was not completely flawless. There were times when it looked like Geoff Neal would get the finish and hand Shavkat the first loss of his career. Fans online even pointed it out as they were concerned for the fighter.
Here are some fan reactions on the matter
Geoff Neal was clearly not 100% heading into this fight and he still kicked this frauds ass.— 𝙿𝚊𝚛𝚝𝚢 𝚑𝚊𝚝 (@Halvani7) March 5, 2023
Real winner in my books, didn’t win but exposed a fraud. This motherfucker beats nobody in the top 5 except maybe Colby.
I don’t even care that Geoff Neal lost (and missed weight), that was a good ass performance from him honestly— TevTalksMMA (@TevTalksMMA) March 5, 2023
Congrats to Shavkat!— Zinfamous (@ZinfamousHD) March 5, 2023
Geoff Neal surprised the hell out if me though, that man didn't make the win easy in the slightest. pic.twitter.com/broRM4RhAK
He struggled to beat Geoff neal 💀— KKF biggest fan (@KKFmafia) March 5, 2023
i saw shavkat getting pieced up by geoff neal?— poaty (@poaty16) March 5, 2023
During his post-fight interview, Shavkat Rakhmonov called for a fight against Colby Covington. If he does not get that, he wants to skip everything else and fight for the UFC welterweight title next. Although Geoff Neal earned a lot of praise from the fans, the bout ended with him being transported to the hospital immediately after the bout.