On the main card of UFC 285, we saw a massive showdown in the welterweight division. Undefeated top prospect Shavkat Rakhmonov (16-0) faced 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 tonight was 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 Recap
The UFC 285 welterweight contest kicks off with a touch of the gloves. Rakhmonov holds the center and Neal circles on the outside. A little pressure from Rakhmonov and he lands a head kick. Body lock position now and they are trading the dominant position along the fence.
Both men very patient in this position and they break. Nice right hand from Neal and a body kick from Rakhmonov. Right hand from Rakhmonov and a body kick. Beautiful left hand from Neal. Two straight right hands from Rakhmonov who is landing big when they get close.
Rakhmonov looks for a trip but Neal defends well. Knee to the body from Rakhmonov. They break and a 1-2 from Rakhmonov. Left straight from Neal. Head kick attempt from Neal. Both men trade huge shots in the center. Both men had their chins tested there.
Body kick from Neal. Right hand now from Neal. Huge head kick from Rakhmonov and that hurt Neal bad. Knee to the body from Rakhmonov and they clinch. That was a huge kick. They break and Rakhmonov lands a big right hand. Neal tries to answer and they end up in clinch.
They break and Rakhmonov is going right back after Neal. Neal is cut open. Neal lands big shots near the end of the first. Very competitive first but I lean towards Rakhmonov.
Entering the second at UFC 285 and both men had big moments in the first. Both men immediately trade big shots as soon as the round starts. Sharp jab from Rakhmonov. Knee to the body from Rakhmonov and then he lands a big kick to the body.
High kick attempt from Rakhmonov and Neal tries to answer. They clinch and Rakhmonov pushes him against the fence. Big takedown attempt from Rakhmonov but he can’t get him down. Body kick and a long jab from Rakhmonov lands.
Nice combination lands from Geoff Neal. Three straight jabs now from Rakhmonov. Huge combination in close from Neal and that backs Rakhmonov off. Big uppercuts from Rakhmonov and then Neal lands back. Clinch from Rakhmonov and then he lands a knee to the body.
Neal breaks away and they’re back to striking. Body kick from Rakhmonov. Another body kick from Rakhmonov and then Neal lands a clean combination that draws a smile. They clinch again and Neal pushes him against the fence with one minute left.
Knee to the body on the break from Rakhmonov. Right hand from Rakhmonov and Neal counters. Another knee to the body from Rakhmonov and the round comes to a close.
Entering the final round at UFC 285 and on my scorecard Neal needs a finish. They touch gloves and here we go. Neal holds the center and he’s still bouncing on his toes. Two big head kicks from Rakhmonov land and Neal answers back with a combination.
Another huge combination from Neal and Rakhmonov is hurt. Rakhmonov seems to have recovered and he lands two very stiff jabs on the chin of Neal. Neal backs off and Rakhmonov pushes him against the fence. Three minutes left in the round.
Knee to the body from Rakhmonov. Lots of cage pressure from Rakhmonov here but the referee is getting ready to separate them. Knee to the body from Rakhmonov and they break. Right hand now from Rakhmonov. Huge right hand from Rakhmonov and Neal is rocked badly.
Knee to the body from Rakhmonov now. Huge elbows and knees from Rakhmonov but Neal is surviving. How tough is Geoff Neal, my goodness. Rakhmonov gets a body lock and pushes him against the fence. Big knee to the body again from Rakhmonov.
Rakhmonov gets a choke as Neal tries to break free and it’s a standing rear naked choke. He cranks it and Neal goes out. Unbelievable performance by Shavkat Rakhmonov.
Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Geoff Neal by Submission – Round 3