Paul Craig did it again at UFC Fight Island 3. He locked up a triangle choke while getting beat up in the first round against Gadzhimurad Antigulov.
Paul Craig has a knack for pulling victory out of the jaws of defeat. At UFC Fight Island 3, he was eating punch after punch from Gadzhimuard Antigulov, but that only led to Antigulov tapping out due to a triangle choke.
It was Antigulov who initiated the grappling as well. Craig’s skills off his back are well-documented, with a couple of miracle comeback victories late in fights. But that didn’t stop Antigulov from looking for a takedown. Once it was there, it was more of the same for Craig.
“I enjoy being on my back and this opponent was kind of the same for us,” Craig said. “His striking was very, very wild. He was very good at wrestling and that resulted in him taking me down. I am a brown belt in jiu-jitsu, but belts don’t really matter in MMA.”
Craig has made a name for himself by taking an unbalanced amount of punishment before pulling off victories. He discussed where his composure comes from.
“It comes through drilling,” Craig said. “I know where the shots will be coming from. A lot of submissions I have were set up by my opponent overreaching for a punch. It sets up a nice triangle in that empty space. I was able to get [Magomed] Ankalaev like that.”
Prior to the fight, there was a bit of a back-and-forth at the weigh-ins and some shoving. This was more of the same for Craig.
“I like to get in my opponent’s face,” Craig said. “It’s really more for the pageantry of MMA, as well as us being athletes. We still want an entertaining sport. I enjoy seeing how they act and how their emotions deal with the situation.”
With the submission victory in the rear-view mirror, Craig had his eyes set on a man who fought on the same night. That was Shogun Rua, who Paul Craig fought to a draw with in November.
“I’ve got a draw on my record and I believe it could be rectified if I had a full fight camp and if I was 100%,” Craig said. “We each had two weeks’ notice. He had a game plan for a very different opponent himself. I’m only doing this out of respect. He’s one of the greatest of all time.”
Craig is now unbeaten in his last three fights, and is looking to add a legend to his list of victims.