Belal Muhammad was simply too much for UFC newcomer Chance Rencountre to handle at UFC Utica on Friday.
At UFC Utica on Friday (a rare Friday night gig for the MMA powerhouse), Belal Muhammad got back in the cage, welcoming Chance Rencountre to the promotion. Rencountre, a veteran of C3 and Bellator MMA, came in on a four fight win streak. Muhammad, meanwhile, was undefeated in three.
One of these welterweights would see his streak come to an end at UFC Utica. The question was, who? We spoke to Muhammad ahead of the bout about training during the holy month of Ramadan, which left him unable to eat or drink from sun up to sun down.
Opening the action, Belal Muhammad held center, walking his opponent down. Rencountre attacked with leg kicks, but Muhammad answered back with a heavy overhand. Another overhand right with just past two minutes left in the round grazed Muhammed’s foe, and it felt like, if he found his range, that could be a particularly punishing blow. Chance Rencountre seemed content to focus on counter-striking and mixed in some feints, but did land a left with about thirty seconds remaining to score his most significant blow of the round.
Round two opened with a couple of quick exchanges, with Muhammad getting the better of them. He then changed levels and scored a double-leg takedown, putting Rencountre on his back. Rencountre employed a high closed guard, stayed active, and quickly escaped back to his feet. For Rencountre, however, the offense simply wasn’t there, and to the midway point of the second round, he was clearly behind in the fight. Muhammad picked up the pace just before time expired, connected with jabs and threw a front kick upstairs, much to the delight of the crowd as they headed to round three.
— UFC (@ufc) June 2, 2018
With Chance Rencountre unable to land much of anything, he was going to need a Hail Mary to connect in the third. Yet instead, it was Belal Muhammad pressing the action, landing hooks, jabs, and generally proving to be too much to handle for his opponent. A final takedown by Muhammad, which allowed him to take the back and lock in a body triangle, enabled him to fish for a rear-naked choke. Rencountre fought it off, but the writing was on the wall.
Belal Muhammad def. Chance Rencountre by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)