Thanks to the shenanigans of Ottman Azaitar and the last minute cobbling together of Matt Frevola vs. Arman Tsarukyan, the middleweight bout between Andrew Sanchez and Makhmud Muradov at UFC 257 found itself bumped up to the main card.
Sanchez, an Ultimate Fighter winner, had last competed in August, knocking out Wellington Turman. Muradov, represented by Floyd Mayweather’s The Money Team, rode a 13-fight win streak into the event, and was looking for his third straight win inside the octagon.
With the fight underway, Muradov immediately threw a kick up the middle, keeping Sanchez on his toes. It wouldn’t discourage the TUF winner from shooting in, but when he did, Muradov was able to fight it off with ease. On the feet, both men were swinging hard. But the difference maker was arguably the leg kicks of Muradov, that by the midway point of the round had begun to color Sanchez’s lead leg. Muradov then began to target the body, while mixing in a few strikes over the top. Sanchez wasn’t lost on the feet, but he wasn’t exactly on par with his opponent.
Round two had Sanchez taking the fight to Muradov immediately. An early low blow on Muradov halted the action, giving both men time to catch their breath. Once back underway, Sanchez drove his opponent into the fence, but Muradov quickly got his back off it, and they re-engaged at center. Sanchez popped off his right hand, and managed to avoid a leg kick — key, given how much damage those kicks had done early. Muradov landed a combo, but Sanchez would hit home with a counter moments later. For a fighter whose bread and butter was wrestling, Sanchez was showing improved confidence in his stand-up. Muradov landed hard at the end of the round, bloodying Sanchez’s nose.
Despite the late damage by Muradov, the second was a much better round for Andrew Sanchez. Which made things very interesting heading into the third. As the affair had for the entirely of the fight, things played out on the feet once again. Sanchez managed to get Muradov backed up the fence. But just as suddenly, Muradov rocked Sanchez with a right hand! Coming right over the top, landing behind the ear, Sanchez’s legs went full spaghetti. Muradov charged forward with a flying knee, then let loose with a volley of strikes that forced Sanchez to cover up! While he never went down, the ref had seen more than enough.
The right hands are missing anymore!
👊 @MakhmudMuradov lays it on for the RD 3 TKO!
— UFC (@ufc) January 24, 2021
The win marks Muradov’s fourteenth straight, and as he noted in his post-fight interview, all three of his UFC fights have been on short notice. Just imagine what he could do with a full camp.
Official Result: Makhmud Muradov def. Andrew Sanchez by TKO, Round 3, 2:59