UFC 286's preliminary card saw an incredible showdown between two up-and-coming flyweights.
Unbeaten Muhammad Mokaev won his fifth fight on the trot but not before fending off a knee lock from Jafel Filho in the final round of the bout. His incredible escape was followed by a quick turnaround and a neck crank of his own to submit his Brazilian opponent.
Mokaev spoke about the knee lock and his mindset at the time in the post-fight presser. He mentioned hearing cracks in his knee but continued to persist.
“I’m flexible, there was like three, four cracks and he thought I gonna tap so he relax a little bit. He look at me and then Herb Dean said he didn’t tap so I shake my head and then he rejoined the grip like a choke position, was even stronger. This groin guard is very strong. And then another three, four cracks. In my head I was waiting till my knee rips. In my head I was like, it’s nearly coming out. And then when I stand on the knee, I’m like my knee gone."
'The Punisher' also showed heart in his win and stated that he would not have it any other way, especially considering the upcoming break in the holy month of Ramadhan.
"I grab him, in my head I was talking, I broke his heart. He didn’t finish me in a position where he’s like black belt, I’m not black belt. I broke him. Yes [willing to let the knee rip]. Because I know I’m resting, next month Ramadhan in three, four days. I gonna rest. So I don’t want to rest with having tapped. I’m not gonna sleep for thirty days, you know.”
Check out Mokaev's submission escape and subsequent neck crank:
Check out Mokaev's full comments below:
Henry Cejudo praises Muhammad Mokaev for his UFC 286 showing
Former UFC flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo was just as impressed as the rest of the mixed martial arts world.
After Muhammad Mokaev's display of resilience to turn a losing position into a victory and remain undefeated, the Olympic gold medalist wrestler took to Twitter to laud the British fighter.
"The Flyweight division has a new star. His name is Muhammad Mokaev [clapping hands emoji] #UFC286"
Check out Henry Cejudo's tweet below:
Cejudo himself will return to action against bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling at UFC 288 on May 6th, 2023. After an extended absence from the octagon, 'Triple C' is looking to reclaim the belt he never lost.