UFC 285: Shavkat Rakhmonov Batters, Chokes Out Game Geoff Neal in Toughest Test Yet

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Geoff Neal and Shavkat Rakhmonov, UFC 285
Geoff Neal and Shavkat Rakhmonov, UFC 285 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Undefeated Shavkat Rakhmonov was looking at his toughest test to date as part of the UFC 285 PPV card on Saturday.

At 16-0 to start the night, Rakhmonov was moving from a win over Neil Magny to Geoff Neal — who threw a wrench in the works when he missed weight by a full four pounds at Friday morning’s official weigh-in.

Regardless of weight, the fight lived up to its billing — Rakhmonov got his toughest test yet against a very game Neal. The Kazakh fighter also passed that test with flying colors.

In what had the potential to be crowned “Fight of the Night”, Shavkat Rakhmonov reminded fight fans around the world that his hype train is still chugging along in 2023. The two welterweights went back-and-forth early on, engaging in an absolute slugfest, testing one another’s chin with each crippling blow.

Somewhere during the nonstop action Rakhmonov landed a perfectly-timed lead head kick, opening up sizeable a cut under Neal’s eye towards the end of round one.

Blood poured into the left eye of Neal as the fight continued, though the Fortis MMA product continued to battle forward, dishing out punishment himself while attempting to weather the heavy combinations coming his way.

Despite Sayif Saud’s best coaching efforts, Geoff Neal ultimately came up short. After a series of heavy exchanges, Shavkat Rakhmonov pulled off a standing rear-naked choke in the waning minutes of the fight, emerging victorious and remaining undefeated, his record improving to 17-0.

Neal exited the octagon with his head held high, likely proud of the performance he put forth on a huge stage in one of the biggest moments of his career thus far.

“Colby Covington, get ready. You are next, or title shot next!” Rakhmonov said following the win.

Official Result: Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Geoff Neal by submission (standing rear-naked choke) Round 3, 4:17

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