Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 285, we are going to see a massive showdown in the welterweight division. Undefeated top prospect Shavkat Rakhmonov (16-0) gets his toughest test to date in “Handz of Steel” Geoff Neal (15-4).
If Rakhmonov had the same personality as Khamzat Chimaev, he would already be near the very top of the division. However, Rakhmonov is much more stoic in the way he goes about his business. Nevertheless, he’s 4-0 in the UFC with four finishes and he’s never gone to a decision in his professional career.
Standing in his way tomorrow is Geoff Neal. A couple of years ago, Geoff Neal looked like a contender that was moving quickly up towards a title shot. However, injuries and then a two-fight losing streak derailed all of his momentum.
Then, he started to turn things around. In his last two fights he scored a decision win over Santiago Ponzinibbio and then a huge TKO win over Vicente Luque. Now, he gets to take on the hottest prospect in the welterweight division.
UFC 285 Prediction
When you look at both of these fighters, Rakhmonov has the better overall skillset. He has the better grappling and he’s more dynamic as a whole on the feet. However, Geoff Neal has very good takedown defense and he has very crisp boxing.
Rakhmonov is not going to run through Neal like he’s ran through everyone else. I’m expecting Neal to make takedowns tough and I fully expect him to crack Rakhmonov at UFC 285. I actually think Rakhmonov is going to see a decision for the first time tomorrow night.
However, I think he still gets his hand raised. Too many weapons and the ability to mix things up will get him ahead on the scorecards. Neal will make it close, but Rakhmonov’s 0 will remain in tact.
Prediction: Shavkat Rakhmonov by Decision