After pulling ahead through the first two rounds, Belal Muhammad sealed the deal with a third-round rear-naked choke of Takashi Sato at UFC 242.
Belal Muhammad, a training partner of UFC 242 co-main event fighter Paul Felder, took on Japan’s Takashi Sato in the featured Fight Pass prelim Saturday. Muhammad entered the fight in Abu Dhabi at 5-1 in his last six fights, and was coming off a decision win over Curtis Millender.
Muhammad immediately took center in the opening round, getting his jab going. Before long, a right to the body and left upstairs hit home for Belal. Sato was looking for an uppercut, trying to set it up with his jab. More often than not, however, Muhammad was hitting home. Moments later, Muhammad had Sato hurt, nearly dropping him. That led Muhammad to clinch, looking for a takedown. He’d hoist the Japanese fighter up and plant him face-down, but Sato quickly escaped up. Muhammad would take Sato to the ground later in the round, however, taking the back and locking on a body triangle. That allowed him to do some damage from behind, but time ran out.
Cageside Press scored the round 10-9 Muhammad
Muhammad was looking to build off his success in round one, letting combinations go. With Sato getting wise to Muhammad’s left hand, Belal added a right, but within two minutes he shot for a takedown. Sato was down briefly, but popped back up. Muhammad went to the body then followed up over the top. Sato was walking forward at times, working his jab, but had a hard time landing clean. Another takedown attempt by Muhammad was fought off by Sato, and they moved back to center. A flying knee by Belal came up well short. Sato landed a blow, but Muhammad answered with a hard right that landed clean, forcing Sato back. Sato initiated a clinch late in the round, taking Muhammad down and landing in side control. From there, he landed knees to the body, but he didn’t have enough time to work.
Cageside Press scored the round 10-9 for Muhammad
An early, accidental clash of heads didn’t seem to slow either fighter. Sato worked his jab, but again it was Muhammad putting together combinations. A high head kick followed. Muhammad then moved to the takedown, only to be stuffed. However, persistence paid off as Muhammad was later able to get Sato down, once again taking the back. This time, with the round far from over, he was able to go to work, setting up the rear-naked choke finish.
Official Result: Belal Muhammad def. Takashi Sato by submission (rear-naked choke), Round 3, 1:55