Sanabul Fight News: Week 9

Saturday night was a relatively fun night of fights, with a very important Welterweight bout to top it all off between Vicente Luque and Belal Muhammad, there were big stakes on the line in Vegas.

UFC Vegas 51 began with a Bantamweight bout between Kevin Croom and Alatenheili, with Alatenheili ending up with a first round TKO/KO in 47 seconds, this put Kevin on a 3-fight loss streak and handed Alatenheili his first win in the UFC. Sam Hughes and Jordan Leavitt followed this matchup with two decision wins after two all-out wars in the two fights to give the prelims a bit of spice. Sam Hughes needed this victory after her first two UFC fights ended in a loss, this puts her back in the win column towards a bright future in her career. Leavitt continues to impress in the UFC, and with his post-fight win celebrations/dances as well.
 
A fighter many were looking forward to seeing this past weekend was Chris Barnett, surprisingly the fight went the way of his opponent with Heavyweight Martin Buday outstriking Chris for approximately 2.5 rounds before hitting Chris with an illegal strike to the back of the head. With Chris unable to continue, the Ref decided to send the fight to a decision immediately, ending with Martin Buday winning via unanimous decision. This puts a halt in the surging hype behind Barnett after an impressive spinning wheel kick knockout in his last outing, hopefully we see him back soon, new and improved!
Drakkar Klose and Devin Clark performed very well to top off the prelims, with Drakkar having his last fight in 2020 and two canceled bouts in 2021, Drakkar impressed many with a first round knockout against Brandon Jenkins to put Drakkar back in the win column in the lightweight division. Devin Clark had a challenging fight ahead of him on Saturday night with William Knight moving up to the heavyweight division, putting on 45 pounds in 4.5 months to move up in weight, Devin ended up with a TKO in the third round after a relatively dominant performance in the featured prelim bout.

Mounir Lazzez and Pat Sabatini started off the main card with each of the men earning a decision victory after respectively dominant performances. Mounir took on the challenge of fellow Welterweight Ange Loosa, coming off of a loss to Warley Alves, Mounir had something to prove during this fight and showed the world his skills with over 50 more significant strikes than Ange and two failed takedowns each, Lazzez showed his newfound striking skills and made his position in the division clear after this bout. Pat Sabatini earned his fourth UFC win in a row in the featherweight division with an absolutely dominant victory over DWCS prospect TJ Laramie, with the talent in the Featherweight division being so thin, Pat will likely only need one or two more dominant victories to break into the Top 5 and be a real threat for title contention.

Miguel Baeza and rising LFA star Andre Fialho had a much anticipated Welterweight matchup with Baeza being a small underdog. With Baeza on a two-fight loss streak and Fialho coming off of a loss in his UFC debut to Michel Pereira, this was a very important fight for both men in the division. Andre Fialho impressed with an absolutely dominant performance and a first round knockout after outstriking Baeza who is a very talented striker as well. With Fialho having such an impressive win over a respected welterweight, I would look for him to start inching closer to a ranked fight in his next one or two matchups. 

Caio Borrelho and Gadzhi Omargadzhiev ended in a very controversial decision after a one-sided performance in the grappling department from Caio in all three rounds. After Caio had Gadzhi hurt, he ended up teeing off on his head with a knee while he was grounded with one hand down. The referee ended up stopping the fight and sending it to the judge's decision when Omargadzhiev made it clear he could no longer go on with the fight. Caio made a statement in this fight and ended up winning via unanimous decision, even after having a point taken away for this penalty, but many bettors and fans were unhappy with the decision of the commission to award Caio with a decision win after such an obvious foul.

In the main event, many were expecting and relying on Vicente Luque to have a dominant performance over Belal Muhammad, and Belal was highly underrated going into this matchup. Belal coming off of a 6-fight win streak, he made it clear that this didn’t feel like a rematch to him, but more like a brand new challenge in his path to a title shot. Vicente tried his best to cut off the cage throughout the fight, but Belal was way too crafty with his boxing and his footwork, as well as 5 takedowns to absolutely dominate Vicente in the 5-round main event, and make a statement in the welterweight division with a win over such a dangerous prospect. Luque will be back better, no doubt, but Belal proved he has what it takes to start to make his claim for a title shot, and he made a good decision calling out Colby Covington during his post-fight interview. I would look for Belal to fight either Gilbert or Colby next, and to start to clear up the mess of the top 5 in the 170 pound division.

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