Belal Muhammad continues his rise up the UFC welterweight rankings.
Muhammad notched a big win Saturday night, out-pointing Brazil’s Vicente Luque in the main event of UFC on ESPN 34 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Muhammad (21-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) topped Luque (21-8-1 MMA, 14-4 UFC) in a unanimous decision that read 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47 on the judges’ scorecards. It was a fight in which Muhammad survived a few rough patches but in the end best managed the bout.
The first two rounds were very even as Luque did most of the chasing, while Muhammad stayed on the outside looking to keep away from Luque’s power.
Both fighters had their moments on the feet, but the biggest difference was that Muhammad secured a takedown in both rounds. Both takedowns came with almost two minutes of control time each and enough ground-and-pound to avoid a stand-up. On both occasions, Luque was able to get back to his feet and resume the striking battle.
In the third, Luque’s striking shined. He connected several times on Muhammad and was clearly having an edge. In two different instances, Luque wobbled Muhammad and put him in survival mode. It was a clear round for the Brazilian.
The fourth round was competitive, but Muhammad was able to score a takedown early and control a good portion of the fight. Once the fight got back to the feet, Luque did a great job at pressuring forward and implementing his striking, but Muhammad also had shots of his own that connected well.
In the final round, Muhammad likely was at his best. He took down Luque and controlled him against the cage for a good portion of the fight. He was also able to neutralize Luque’s striking while having success with several combinations of his own.
In his post-fight interview, Muhammad didn’t waste time campaigning for a title shot. Instead, he set his sights on fellow title contender Colby Covington.
“Let me get the big-mouth Karen, Colby Covington, who’s out here calling out 55ers,” Muhammad said. “Come and fight a real 70-pounder, you coward. I’m a real 70-pounder. I’m winning fights. I’m not Masvidal off of two losses, I’m not Woodley off of five losses, I’m ‘Bully B’ off of seven wins. Come and fight a real challenge, coward.”
Muhammad now finds himself unbeaten in his past eight bouts. He has seven wins and one no contest, which came against top contender Leon Edwards in 2021. Muhammad’s streak contains several notable names such as Demian Maia, Stephen Thompson and now Luque.
Meanwhile, Luque saw a four-fight losing streak come to an end. This was his first defeat since coming up short in a decision against Stephen Thompson back in late 2019.
Complete UFC on ESPN 34 results:
- Belal Muhammad def. Vicente Luque via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-47)
- Caio Borralho def. Gadzhi Omargadzhiev via technical unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
- Andre Fialho def. Miguel Baeza via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 4:39
- Mayra Bueno Silva def. Wu Yanan via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Pat Sabatini def. TJ Laramie via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
- Mounir_Lazzez def. Ange Loosa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Devin Clark def. William Knight via knockout (punches) – Round 3, 3:21
- Pannie Kianzad def. Lina Lansberg via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Drakkar Klose def. Brandon Jenkins via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:33
- Rafa Garcia def Jesse Ronson via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 4:50
- Martin Buday def. Chris Barnett via technical unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jordan Leavitt def. Trey Ogden via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Sam Hughes def. Istela Nunes via majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)
- Heili Alateng def. Kevin Croom via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:47