UFC 280: Muhammad Mokaev dominates Malcolm Gordon in Abu Dhabi

Top flyweight prospect secures victory by third-round submission

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Muhammad Mokaev made it three wins from three in the UFC on Saturday night, when he defeated Malcolm Gordon by third-round submission at UFC 280 at Etihad Arena.

The top flyweight prospect, who debuted in the promotion only in April, secured the victory with 34 seconds remaining, locking an armbar to see off his Canadian opponent.

Mokaev, 22, represents the UK having moved to England as a refugee a decade ago, and enjoyed a hefty support inside the arena.

Speaking inside the octagon immediately afterwards, Mokaev said he had underestimated Gordon, 32, before thanking the Abu Dhabi crowd and his corner for their backing.

On his UFC bow, in London, Mokaev needed less than one minute to defeat Cody Durden, while he was taken the distance in his second outing by Charles Johnson despite dominating.

After the win, Mokaev said: “I just wanted to finish him early, but it didn’t work out that way. Didn’t care about the black belt. I have a black belt in my heart from my life experience.

"I’m 22, I’ve got nothing to prove. I want to be the youngest UFC champion, I don’t care how I get there.

“Each fight I’ve had my support is growing. The amount of people travelling here to support me. Atmosphere was crazy, I can’t believe these things are happening to me.

“I think Dana [White] should put on more events in Abu Dhabi. I think it’s a great location, there are no visa restrictions for a lot of people. Everybody can come here from around the world.

“Hopefully I will be back to fight; bring more events here and I will fight.”

The biggest cheer of the prelims, though, was reserved for surging welterweight Belal Muhammad. The American, born to Palestinian parents, lifted his unbeaten streak to nine by securing a second-round TKO of the previously undefeated Sean Brady.

Muhammad, who was cornered by retired former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, then called out welterweight belt-holder Leon Edwards and unbeaten Chechen Khamzat Chimaev.

On the main card, Beneil Dariush inflicted the second professional defeat of Mateusz Gamrot’s 23-fight career to win by unanimous decision and lift his win streak to eight.

Dariush, the No 5-ranked contender at lightweight, was the aggressor throughout, and floored Gamrot in the third round, when he connected with another overhand left. The judges scored the bout 30-27, 30-27, 29-28.

Updated: October 22, 2022, 7:29 PM