This past Saturday on the main card of UFC 285, one of the best prospects in the welterweight division got his toughest test to date. Undefeated sensational Shavkat Rakhmonov (17-0) took on “Handz of Steel” Geoff Neal (15-5).
Neal came in five pounds overweight which was a big story heading into fight night. With that big of a miss, there were many questions about whether or not he was injured. It was very evident from the opening bell that nothing was wrong with Geoff Neal.
His combinations were crisp and he was touching up Rakhmonov like nobody else has. That said, Rakhmonov was much more diverse with his attacks and he was landing more. Though the first couple of rounds were close, I had Rakhmonov up.
Entering the third, Neal hurt Rakhmonov on the feet. Then, Rakhmonov hurt Neal back and really upped the pressure. Eventually, they got into a grappling exchange along the fence and Rakhmonov locked up a choke and submitted Neal for his 17th finish.
What’s next after UFC 285?
Rakhmonov is now an impressive 17-0 and he’s still never gone to the judges scorecards. After the fight was over, he said he wanted to fight for a title as soon as possible. Realistically, he’s still going to need one marquee win in order to get that title shot.
At the post-fight press conference, Dana White was asked about a potential fight with Rakhmonov and Colby Covington and he loved the idea. Covington is said to have been wanting a fight and he’s said yes to every opponent the UFC has thrown at him.
However, nothing has materialized. We haven’t seen Covington since his dominant win over Jorge Masvidal about a year ago. A matchup between Covington and Rakhmonov would be a true title eliminator and a bout the promotion should jump at.